RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif.—In recognition of future leaders in optometry, VSP Vision and the American Academy of Optometry Foundation (AAOF), the philanthropic arm of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO), announced the recipients of the 2022 Practice Excellence Scholarship. The Practice Excellence Scholarship is a long-standing and prestigious scholarship that represents the best in what optometry has to offer in patient care and practice management. Nearly $164,000 was awarded to 50 top-performing fourth-year optometry students in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada.

“This award means so much to me and my career in optometry because I too am a past recipient of the Practice Excellence Scholarship,” said VSP vision board chair Mary Anne Murphy, OD. “We congratulate all the recipients on this well-deserved award and remain committed to creating opportunities for the next generation of optometrists.”
Two recipients from each of the 25 schools and colleges of optometry were selected from nominations submitted by their individual institutions. Scholarship recipients were selected based on the student’s commitment to enter the independent practice of optometry, and their clinical and academic performance.
“We are pleased to partner with VSP Vision to support fourth-year students to achieve excellence in clinical practice and patient care,” said Rachel A. “Stacey” Coulter, OD, FAAO, president of the American Academy of Optometry Foundation board and director of the Neuro-Optometry/Vision in Neurodevelopmental Disorders Service at NSU Florida. “This is the level of clinical and academic performance we encourage of those who represent the next generation of optometric and vision science professionals.”
The scholarships are funded by VSP Vision and administered through the AAOF. In total, VSP Vision has awarded more than $3 million in scholarships to optometry students.
The recipients were recognized at a special reception sponsored by VSP Vision. This year’s Practice Excellence Scholarship recipients are:
Chicago College of Optometry at Midwestern University, CCO — Hyein Kim & Michael Tran
Illinois College of Optometry, ICO — Matthew Olijnyk & Tiffany Tsoi
Indiana University School of Optometry, IUSO — Sam Soda & Chad Herschberger
Inter American University of Puerto Rico, School of Optometry, IAUPRSO — Caryssa Ingersoll & Gurpreet Kaur
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, MCPHS — Rachel Fredericks & Westin Cohen
Michigan College of Optometry - MCO at Ferris State University — Taylor Scheurer & Sarah DeVries
Midwestern University Arizona College of Optometry, MUACO — Crystal Eppling & Der Vang
New England College of Optometry, NECO — Aseem Gogne & Antonia Lettrick
Northeastern State University Oklahoma, College of Optometry, NSUOCO — Kelli Schaedel & Aaron Meyer
NOVA Southeastern University College of Optometry, NSUCO — Kha Duong & Mahsa Ardali 
Ohio State University College of Optometry, OSUCO — Marissa Heary & Sam Calvert
Pacific University College of Optometry, PUCO — Shane Kinzer & Marienne Santa Elena
Pennsylvania College of Optometry, PCO at Salus University — Beck Branton & Kelsey Miller
Rosenberg School of Optometry - RSO University of the Incarnate Word — Craig Piacentino & Caroline Obermeier
Southern California College of Optometry, SCCO at Marshall B. Ketchum University —(Anne) Arah Cho & Bradley Salus
Southern College of Optometry, SCO — Morgan Mathis & Sakshi Sata 
State University of New York College of Optometry, SUNY — Courtney Allen & Tiffany Ying-Hsuan Chen
University of Alabama at Birmingham, UAB — Jordan Carrington & Brooke Hubbard
University of California-Berkeley, School of Optometry, UCB — Samantha Chen & Emmy Tian
University of Houston, College of Optometry, UHCO — Karsen Hise & Paige Mohl
University of Missouri -St. Louis, College of Optometry, UMSL — Jacquelyn Bongard & Katie Kyles
University of Montreal, School of Optometry, UMSO — Odile Bérubé & Claudelle Jolicoeur
University of Pikevile, Kentucky College of Optometry — Gabrielle Ault & Ashley Richmond
University of Waterloo, School of Optometry and Vision Science, UWSOVS — Jenny Lee & Amy Zhang
Western University of Health Sciences College of Optometry, WUHSCO — Mikala Herr & Crystal Sin