Optometry Cares®—The AOA Foundation Announces 2024 Scholarship Recipients

March 13, 2024

St. Louis, Missouri – March 12, 2024Optometry Cares®—The AOA Foundation is pleased to share the 2024 scholarships, including the Larry J. Alexander Scholarship for Education, Dr. Seymour Galina Scholarship and Bernard Maitenaz Scholarship, have been awarded to three deserving students. This year’s scholarship recipients include:

  • Meagan Seufert, Pacific University College of Optometry – Dr. Larry J. Alexander Scholarship for Education
  • Shawn Matsumoto, State University of New York College of Optometry – Dr. Seymour Galina Scholarship
  • Faye Nie, Southern California College of Optometry – Bernard Maitenaz Scholarship

The $2,500 Larry J. Alexander Scholarship for Education, supported by Optovue, honors Dr. Alexander’s dedication to mentoring and leading the profession. As an ode to Dr. Alexander’s passion for helping others, the scholarship application calls for third-year students to describe a moment they served their community and how they plan to contribute to those in need following graduation.

In her application, Meagan wrote “There’s a quote that I love from my alma mater that says ‘…if you jump in, you may ride very fast.’ I feel that this directly mirrors my philosophy when it comes to volunteer opportunities – committing to helping those in need may seem on the outside a temporary hardship in the pursuit of balancing my studies but it is a direct answer to address the hardships that my patients face in their daily lives. Jumping in to answer the call for volunteers is an unequivocal expression of my personal draw to optometry, which is to make the lives of my patients better, even if only in small part.”

One of the earliest endowed gifts to Optometry Cares—The AOA Foundation, the $2,500 Dr. Seymour Galina Scholarship was established through a bequest from long-time AOA member, Dr. Galina. The Foundation manages the endowment by investing the original gift and then using the earnings to fund the Dr. Seymour Galina Scholarship Grant in perpetuity.  

The scholarship application requires that third-year students identify qualities they developed through either financial planning or work experience that will be useful following graduation.

In his application, Shawn wrote “As a pre-optometry student, I had the honor of being one of the starting members of a family-owned private practice in Austin, Texas. There, I learned and experienced the hardships and labor of starting a practice cold.” He also wrote “As the practice started to develop by the second and third year, I was tasked with more administrative work such as communicating with sales representatives, managing EOPs, training new employees, and improving the overall efficiency of the practice. Here, I had the opportunity to utilize materials I learned in my business classes at the University of Texas at Austin.”

The $10,000 Bernard Maitenaz Scholarship, supported by EssilorLuxottica, honors the numerous contributions and optometric legacy made by Mr. Maitenaz. The scholarship application requires third-year students submit an innovative toolkit for social media that directly communicates the importance of eye exams to parents and caregivers.

For her toolkit, Faye crafted the #LittleEyesBigMoments initiative. She wrote “#LittleEyesBigMoments carries a dual meaning. On one hand, it celebrates the "big moments" that a child can experience when their visual development is unhampered, moments that might otherwise remain unrealized. Simultaneously, it acknowledges the critical milestones and key developmental stages at which each child should undergo eye examinations to ensure optimal eye health. In addition, the phrase ‘big moments’ serves as a call to action, urging viewers to take charge to secure adequate eye care for their children.”

The 2025 scholarship applications will open on August 28, 2024. Applications and criteria will be posted on the Optometry Cares—The AOA Foundation website.

Support for scholarship grants is one of the most important investments that contributes to the present and future success of optometry students. The Endowment and Scholarship Fund is an established entity of Optometry Cares—The AOA Foundation that offers those who wish to make donations in support of the profession of optometry, primarily in the form of scholarships and tributes.

Golden Opportunity Award

Recently, Optometry Cares—The AOA Foundation, in collaboration with PERC, announced the launch of the Golden Opportunity Award, a groundbreaking initiative designed to honor the legacy of Dr. David Golden while providing substantial support to emerging optometric professionals.

For more information on the three $50,000 scholarships available, click here. Applications are due March 31, 2024.

To contribute to Optometry Cares—The AOA Foundation, click here. For more information on the scholarships, visit aoafoundation.org.


About Optometry Cares®—The AOA Foundation

Optometry Cares®—The AOA Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization working to empower the optometric profession in providing awareness and access to health and vision care for the public. To learn more, please visit aoafoundation.org. 

About the American Optometric Association

The American Optometric Association (AOA) is the leading authority on and advocate for quality eye health care, representing more than 48,000 doctors of optometry, optometry students and optometric professionals. As the sole primary eye care provider in many communities across America, doctors of optometry are often a patient's first entry point into the health care system, and have extensive, ongoing training to examine, diagnose, treat, and manage disorders, diseases, and injuries that affect the eye and visual system. Through a nationwide public health initiative, AOA's Eye Deserve More campaign is fostering awareness of the importance of eye health and vision care and the overall health benefits of in-person, comprehensive eye examinations with AOA doctors of optometry for all Americans.