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Optometry Cares — The AOA Foundation Announces 2019 Scholarship Recipients

Optometry students received awards ranging from $2,500 to $10,000.




(PRESS RELEASE) ST. LOUIS — Optometry Cares – The AOA Foundation, the charitable organization of the American Optometric Association, administers numerous scholarships that encourage students to make a difference for their community and the profession of optometry. Optometry Cares and the AOA announce the winners of the following scholarships for 2019:

Paul Eckel and Christy Alfano

Vision West Inc. and Healthy Eyes Advantage Scholarship for InfantSEE
1st place – Paul Eckel, Ohio State University College of Optometry ($7,500)

2nd place – Christy Alfano, Southern College of Optometry ($3,000)

Vision West Inc. and Healthy Eyes Advantage offer a national scholarship to promote InfantSEE. The InfantSEE Scholarship requires optometry students to have a desire to participate in the InfantSEE program, which provides no-cost, comprehensive eye and vision assessments for infants within the first year of life.

Abood Dahnoun

Bernard Maitenaz Scholarship
Abood Dahnoun, Southern College of Optometry ($10,000)

Sponsored by Essilor, this scholarship honors Bernard Maitenaz, one of the foremost authorities in optical science and engineering. Maitenaz is the inventor of the Varilux lens and worked at Essilor for 43 years.

Sterlin Blakley

Dr. Pat and Patrick Cummings Scholarship
Sterlin Blakley, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry ($5,000)

Sponsored in part by Johnson & Johnson Vision and in tribute to father and son, the Cummings family established the Dr. Pat & Patrick Cummings Memorial Fund through Optometry Cares. This scholarship allows the legacy of two amazing individuals to live on by honoring the student who best exemplifies Cummings’ passion for public health.

Kaitlin Speth

Dr. Seymour Galina Scholarship
Kaitlin Speth, Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University ($2,500)

Established at the bequest of longtime AOA member Dr. Seymour Galina, Optometry Cares offers the scholarship to a third-year student who best demonstrates financial planning experience that will be useful in a professional optometric practice.

Krystal Matson

Dr. Larry J. Alexander Scholarship for Education
Krystal Matson, University of Missouri – St. Louis College of Optometry ($2,500)

Sponsored in part by Optovue, this scholarship was established to honor the late Dr. Larry J. Alexander and his dedication to his work as an educator. Dr. Alexander’s impact on optometry is only surpassed by his kindness and commitment to helping others.

To learn more about endowment and scholarships offered through Optometry Cares or to make a donation to support these scholarships, visit




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