(PRESS RELEASE) DULUTH, GA — National Vision, Inc., the nation’s second largest optical retailer providing quality, affordable eye care and eyewear, named the winners of its seventh annual scholarship program, awarding three optometry students the program’s largest scholarships to date. Applicants were asked to share their perspectives on the importance of affordable primary eye care in an evolving health care environment.
“We received more entries this year than ever before, which clearly shows that the next generation of optometrists share in our passion for primary care optometry,” said Alex Louw, chief medical officer, National Vision. “National Vision and its Doctor network has remained committed to making comprehensive eye exams more affordable and accessible since our inception, and the optometrist is at the heart of making that possible.”
The 2021-2022 scholarship program winners include:
- First Place ($7,500): Juan Giraldo, University of Waterloo, The School of Optometry and Vision Science, Class of 2022
- Runner-Up ($2,500): Alicja Biniek, Illinois College of Optometry, Class of 2022
- Runner-Up ($2,500): Aliya Shafi, University of Waterloo, The School of Optometry and Vision Science, Class of 2022
Giraldo was the first-ever repeat winner for the program, which is open to third- and fourth-year optometry students. His thoughtful and smart perspectives were creatively expressed both years via song, placing his entries above the rest. This year’s prompt gave students the option to submit video or written essays addressing how they would be part of the solution to a problem millions of Americans face — not being able to afford an eye exam. All three winners offered unique, informed takes on their plans for making a difference as practicing optometrists. They also shed light on the critical value of comprehensive eye exams, particularly as the cost of healthcare services are ever-increasing. A panel of judges consisting of licensed optometrists evaluated each submission, ultimately selecting the first-place winner and two runners-up.
“It’s an honor to be able to reward these three promising optometry students for their intellect and drive,” Louw said. “They inspire me, and I know they’ll continue to do so as they enter their professional careers and help us turn their visions for the future of eye care into reality.”