PCO Students Award ScholarshipThe American Academy of Optometry Foundation (AAOF) recently announced the University’s Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) students Jordan Heidelbaugh ’18OD and Joshua Heersink ’18OD were recipients of the 2017 Practice Excellence Scholarship.

The $4,000 scholarship is funded through VSP Global Eyes of Hope® Global Charitable Fund and included a travel grant to participate in the American Academy of Optometry's (AAO) 96th annual meeting at the McCormick Convention Center in Chicago, Ill. earlier this month. Scholarship recipients were nominated by faculty and two students from each school or college of optometry were selected. Key criteria for selecting the scholarship recipients include the student’s commitment to enter an independent practice of optometry, clinical performance and academic performance, according to the AAOF.

Both students were pleasantly surprised to receive the scholarship and plan to use the funds to offset tuition, living expenses and other incurred costs associated with being a student. Heidelbaugh, who was unable to attend the AAO meeting in Chicago, will use the travel grant portion of her scholarship to attend the next meeting in San Antonio, Texas in 2018.

“I had no idea that I would even be considered a potential candidate, let alone be awarded this generous scholarship,” Heidelbaugh said. “I am very grateful to the selection committee at Salus, VSP and to the American Academy of Optometry Foundation. I hope that I can live up to the name of this award and truly practice excellence throughout my future career.”