Aubry Tackett Receives 2023 Dr. Frank D. Fontana Memorial Scholarship


RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif., - Aubry Tackett, a fourth-year optometry student, is the recipient of the Dr. Frank D. Fontana Memorial Scholarship. Tackett, who attends Northeastern State University, Oklahoma, College of Optometry, received $4,250 toward her education and a $750 travel grant to attend the Heart of America Eye Care Congress Conference in February 2023. VSP Vision™, in partnership with the Heart of America Eye Care Congress, award the scholarship annually, and have awarded four scholarships since 2020.

The scholarship is named in honor of Dr. Frank D. Fontana, also known as Uncle Frank, who practiced optometry for nearly 70 years. Dr. Fontana began his career after serving in World War II and throughout his long and distinguished career, he worked with optometric publications, manufacturers, and educators, and was a VSP® ambassador. Dr. Fontana passed away in 2018.

“I am so honored to be named the recipient of the Dr. Frank D. Fontana Memorial Scholarship,” said Tackett. “You often hear about Uncle Frank and all he did for optometry. We all strive to become more like him in the way he treated his patients and his colleagues. I am so honored that the scholarship committee saw potential in me that resembles Dr. Fontana.”

The Fontana Memorial Scholarship is offered to third and fourth year optometry students who are actively engaged in patient care. Scholarship recipients are chosen based on four areas that Dr. Fontana was known to excel in:

  1. Clinical Performance
  2. Empathetic Patient Care
  3. Ability and Interest to Adopt Modern Technologies
  4. Strong Interest in Developing and Participating in the Optometry Community

After graduation, Tackett plans to complete her residency with an emphasis in cornea and contact lens care. With hopes of inspiring future generations of optometrists, Tackett would like to pursue a faculty role in a college of optometry. In addition, she has a passion for medical mission trips and is grateful for the financial freedom the scholarship provides.

The Heart of America Eye Care Congress Board of Directors is excited to collaborate again this year with VSP Vision to award the Frank D. Fontana Memorial Scholarship. “This year’s recipient, Aubry Tackett, exemplifies many of the attributes Dr. Frank Fontana’s illustrious career,” said the board. “Aubry is an excellent student and leader with a true passion for her patients and clinical care”.

“Congratulations to Aubry for earning this scholarship and for her accomplishments so far,” said VSP Vision Vice President of Provider Relations Jim Caster. “In honor of Uncle Frank, we’re incredibly proud to support Aubry’s educational journey and look forward to the positive impact she’ll make on the optometry profession.”

VSP Vision has proudly supported optometry for more than 65 years and is committed to helping students join the optometry profession. In total, VSP Vision has awarded more than $3 million in scholarships to optometry students with more than 60 scholarships awarded annually. To learn more, visit vspscholarships.com.

*Pictured: Aubry Tackett

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About VSP Vision

At VSP Vision, our purpose is to empower human potential through sight. As the first national not-for-profit vision benefits company, this is what drives everything we do. For nearly 70 years, VSP has been the leader in health-focused vision care. Every day, the people that power our complementary businesses—VSP® Vision Care, Marchon Eyewear, Inc., Visionworks®, Eyefinity®, Eyeconic, VSP® Optics, and VSP® Ventures—work together to create a world where everyone can bring their best vision to life. That means providing affordable access to eye care and eyewear for more than 85 million members through a network of more than 41,000 doctors. It also means expanding access to vision care to those disadvantaged by income, distance, or disaster through VSP Vision Eyes of Hope®. To date, more than 3.6 million people in need have received access to no-cost eye care and eyewear through one of our Eyes of Hope programs.

Learn more about how we’re reinvesting in greater vision, health, and opportunities for all at vspvision.com.

About Heart of America Eye Care Congress 

The Heart of America Eye Care Conference (HOAECC) has always been a proud supporter of the optometric profession for 61 years and will continue to develop meetings that offer camaraderie, education and innovation to its member doctors and Paras. Known by all as the “Heart,” the annual meeting has evolved over time much like the profession of optometry. It began to provide education for the development and application of contact lenses and has evolved and now continues to offer some of the best education in all facets of optometry.