Bernard Maitenaz Scholarship, sponsored by Essilor

Bernard Maitenaz

With an educational background in optical science and engineering, Bernard Maitenaz, of Paris, France, has made a significant impact on the optometric profession by inventing the Varilux lens. Maitenaz has truly been at the heart of Varilux’s creative passion for over half a century. In 2012 alone, 50 million progressive addition lenses were prescribed and dispensed in the United States. Maitenaz worked at Essilor for 43 years and served as chief operating officer, chief executive officer and chairman of the company. Maitenaz is also an educator and has taught optical engineering at the Institute of Optics in Paris and the University of Paris-South. He served as a board member of the National School of Mechanical Engineers, as well as an advisor for Technical Education to the French Ministry of Education. Maitenaz has received numerous accolades for his contributions to optometry, including the American Optometric Association Apollo Award, as well as an honorary doctorate of ocular science from the New England College of Optometry.

In honor of Maitenaz’s accomplishments and contributions to the field of optometry, Essilor has established the Bernard Maitenaz Scholarship. The annual $10,000 scholarship will be awarded to the author of the entry judged to be the best submitted to Optometry Cares, in accordance with the criteria listed below.

Applicant Eligibility: 

  1. The applicant must be a third-year optometry student member with the American Optometric Student Association and the American Optometric Association.
  2. The applicant must be in good academic standing.
  3. The applicant must demonstrate financial need as defined by their Financial Aid Office.

Application Requirements:

To apply for the scholarship, the third-year optometry student must complete the following requirements:

  •  The applicant must submit a two-page essay AND a five-slide PowerPoint Presentation or three-minute video.
  • Submit two letters of recommendation. One of the letters must be from an academic adviser/teacher/dean where the applicant attends school.
  • These applications must be submitted to the school or college where the applicant is enrolled first. Then, each school or college will vet the applications and submit only one to Optometry Cares to be judged.

 Video Requirements:

  • We recommend videos under three minutes. Supported YouTube file formats are: .MOV, .MPEG4, .AVI, .WMV, .MPEGPS, .FLV, 3GPP, and WebM.
  • The video may contain an unlimited number of people, but only the participant submitting the video will be eligible for the scholarship. Each applicant choosing to do a video must upload their video to YouTube, and then email the link to Video must be original, and the participant must have the rights to any and all media used. Videos must not infringe on any third-party rights or copyrights. If Optometry Cares receives a notice of copyright infringements from the owner of the material, the video in violation will be removed.

Essay Requirements:

  • Essay must be written in English
  • Essay not to exceed 1,500 words

 PowerPoint Requirements:

  • PowerPoint should not exceed five slides

All entries should focus on:

  • All entries must focus on the impact of vision on performance, economics education and lifestyle in the United States and beyond. Applicants must demonstrate leadership and participation in school and community activities, honors, and work experience, as well as include goals and aspirations, and unusual personal or family circumstances.

CLICK HERE to download the Bernard Maitenaz Scholarship Package.
Schools of optometry will determine their top applicant and send his or her materials to Optometry Cares by October 31, 2016. Applications will be reviewed by Optometry Cares Endowment and Scholarship Fund Advisory Committee, and a winner will be determined in January 2017 (at the latest).

For questions about this scholarship grant or its administration, please contact the Foundation.

2017 Winner

Paula Kutzner, Pacific University

2016 Winner

Kim Forgione, Pacific University

 This opportunity would not be possible without the generous support of:

Basic CMYK


Your investment will ensure that The AOA Foundation continues to provide immediate relief to those in need in the wake of natural disasters, vision care to needy Americans, scholarships for optometry students, preservation of optometry’s history and public education about the need for a lifetime of vision care.

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