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NECO Students Win National Awards

It is with great honor that New England College of Optometry announces that several students have won national scholarship and award winners for 2015. NECO students Molly Spatcher, Luke Cyr, and Laura Chan have been awarded, respectively, the ASCO Student Award in Clinical Ethics, the Varilux Student Grant Award, and the Bernard Maitenaz Scholarship.

ASCO Student Award in Clinical Ethics

Molly Spatcher, Class of 2015, recently won the ASCO Student Award in Clinical Ethics. Sponsored by International Vision Expo, this $1000 award is presented annually to an optometry student based on their essay discussing ethical theories and values in a particular clinical or didactic learning experience. Ms. Spatcher was chosen for her essay entitled, “Going Nuclear: An Ethical Dilemma in Optometric Care.” 
Ms. Spatcher explains, “My paper presented the case of a nuclear engineer who was struggling to come to terms with his recent loss of vision and was worried about the effect it might have on his ability to continue working. The case presented an ethical dilemma to the optometrist because there was a need to maintain the patient's confidentiality but given that he worked in a nuclear facility, he also posed a threat to public safety,” She explains that this case describes her encounter with a patient seen while working with NECO professor Dr. Richard Jamara. “In working with Dr. Jamara, I was reminded why so many of us chose optometry - simply to help people. Given his specialty in low vision, many of the patients we saw together were struggling to come to terms with visual impairment. His unwavering patience and ability to both listen to and comfort his patients was an inspiration.”  

Varilux Student Grant Award  

Luke Cyr, Class of 2015, recently won the Varilux Student Grant Award. Sponsored by Essilor of America, the winner is chosen through their case report on a patient’s experience getting fitted for Varilux lenses. Through this award, Mr. Cyr receives a  $1000 grant and a $2500 travel grant for the student and his faculty advisor to attend Optometry’s Meeting (happening in Seattle, WA in June this year).  Case reports focus on the students experience fitting a patient with Varilux lenses. Read his winning case report.
Luke notes, “I feel that I’ve had many great mentors while I have been here at NECO, between all the great professors and clinical preceptors. For this particular award I credit the many hours I spent working with James Pelham and Vitelio Almeyda at the New England Eye Institute’s dispensary. I have been working with both of them since early in my first year of school. They both know how to listen to patient’s wants and needs, letting that determine the progressive lens that is most likely to be a success.”

Bernard Maitenaz Scholarship  

Laura Chan, Class of 2016, was the first recipient of the Bernard Maitenaz Scholarship, sponsored by Essilor. Each year the Optometry Cares-AOA Foundation presents five prestigious scholarships to outstanding optometry students. The Bernard Maitenaz scholarship awards $10,000 to a third year optometry student based on their leadership, participation in school and community experiences, financial need, academic standing, and a video/powerpoint entry on the theme: “The Impact of Vision.” Read more about Laura Chan's award.
As part of her entry, Ms. Chan created a video drawing on her experiences as a nurse and optometry student and the impact of vision on daily personal and professional life.