Western University of Health Sciences College of Optometry Western University of Health Sciences
College of Optometry

Honors, Awards & Scholarships

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The College of Optometry hosts two annual events for presentation of awards and scholarships …

Founder’s Day & Honors Day

Founder’s Day is held each year during the Fall semester. Founder’s Day is a unique event recognizing students, faculty and other pioneers in the field of optometry. Student honors, awards, and scholarships presented at Founder’s Day 2014 are listed below. 

Academic Excellence Awards ~ Kaitlin Allen, Katherine Ha

Awarded to a 2nd and 3rd year student who has excelled in applying foundational, scientific principles during the first or second year of optometric education by earning the highest score on the retention examination, thereby demonstrating a high level of academic excellence.

AOF/J. Pat Cummings Scholarship ~ Mandeep Dhillon

Awarded in recognition of the outstanding student clinician who best exemplifies ideal eye care standards of practice through academics, community service and volunteerism.

The Cave Memorial Award ~ Farouk Bruce

In Memory of Dr. Lawrence Cave, Dr. Vernal Cave and Mrs. Olga Cave Wiles. Sponsored by the National Optometric Association, this award is given to a student who is an active member of the National Optometric   Student Association, demonstrates financial need, community involvement, and is in good academic standing. 

Founding Dean Scholarship ~ Amanjot Mashiana

This award is given to recognize a 1st year student  who, prior to matriculation, provided outstanding community service and leadership as described in a competitive essay process.

Hays-Haine Family Scholarship ~ Edward Hsieh

Established by Dr. & Mrs. Charles Haine. Recognizes students who demonstrate a commitment to serving underserved communities.

OneSight – Stanley Pearle Scholarship ~ Jenny Tran

Sponsored by OneSight Research Foundation, this award is a result of a competitive process, based on scholastic performance along with demonstrated commitment to community service and leadership.

Richmond Products Scholarship ~ Jenny Tran

In honor of Ruth M. & P. Lloyd Powell, Founders. Awarded to a student who has overcome obstacles to excel in areas of  leadership and humanism.

Scientific Excellence Award ~ Kellie Kanamoto (Borish), Christina Kuzas (Galileo), Long Ngo (Prentice), Lok Or (Skeffington)

Awarded to students from each WUCO House for Scientific Knowledge and Academic Excellence in the course Principles & Practice of Optometry I.

A Tribute to Caring Scholarship ~ Bryan Kimura, Mi Nguyen

Granted to incoming students who demonstrate high academic potential and outstanding community service as demonstrated through extracurricular activities and employment history. 

Vision Expo Travel Grant ~ Christopher De Guzman, Nanar Hovasapian

Sponsored by The Vision Council, this award is given to two students from each of the 23 official AOSA schools of optometry to attend   either Vision Expo East or Vision Expo West 2014. 

Walmart Project Foresight Award ~ Henry Hua, Adam Tayman

Sponsored by Walmart, this award is part of a national competition, highlighting the vision of Walmart and Sams Club Health and Wellness to provide quality, affordable, and accessible healthcare for everyone; incorporating Walmart’s three basic beliefs: respect for the individual, service to our customers, and striving for excellence.

 Beta Sigma Kappa (BSK) Recognition

Members represent scholastic excellence as honor students of the College of Optometry and as noteworthy professionals in education, science, and optometric practice.


Class of 2015


Class of 2016



Class of 2017

Brian Walton


JoAnn Henwood



Atanes Atanesyan

Joseph Gray

George Schertzinger



Kimberly Kwong



Katrina Braganza

Katherine Ha

Avni Shah



Tina Licina



Laura Capelle

Annie Hovakemian

Vidhi Shah



Aza Pivazyan



Victoria Chan

Ani Koussayan

Adam Tayman



Clarissa Prieto-Ayala



Lucas Erhardt

Malia Sato

Terry Yu


Honors Day is held each year in the Spring semester and is a day dedicated to our students in recognition of their year-long accomplishments.  Student honors, awards, and scholarships presented on Honors Day 2014 are listed below.

Alumni Association Scholarship ~ Jenny Tran

Established by WesternU Alumni Association to honor WesternU students who demonstrated humanism, caring and dependability, while both excelling academically and engaging in extracurricular activities.

California Optometric Association’s George Deane Jr. OD Memorial Leadership Award ~ Mary Hoang

The award is granted to a student who has exhibited excellent leadership in the areas of legislation, governance, and community service. 

Core Values Award ~ Edward Hsieh (Borish), Mandeep Dhillon (Galileo), Aaron Peterson (Prentice), Samantha Zaczyk (Skeffington)

This award recognizes one student from each WUCO House who has performed extraordinary service and exemplified WUCO Core Values.

The Dean’s Scholarship Award ~ Alyssa Cossette (OD2015), Matthew Diggory (OD2016), Ani Koussayan (OD2017)

In recognition of outstanding achievement in academic excellence.

Dr. Kim-Anh Nguyen Annual Scholarship ~ Lucas Erhardt

Established by Dr. Kim-Anh Nguyen to support a student who has a demonstrated history of volunteerism, ideally with an underserved population.

Gandhi / Silani Annual Scholarship for Clinical Excellence and Leadership ~ Justine Simon

Created by two alumni from our Inaugural Class of 2013, this award honors a 3rd year student in good academic standing who demonstrated leadership skills among their peers and top clinical skills in a patient care setting.

Good-Lite Outstanding Student Clinician in Pediatrics Award ~ David Modlinger

Awarded to a student who displays a passion for seeing pediatric patients.  The student must display solid clinical skills, the ability to work with infants, children and their parents and the potential to continue on in pediatric optometry.

Great Western Council of Optometry (GWCO) “Outstanding Student Clinician of the Year” Scholarship ~ Edwin Cook

In recognition of outstanding patient care consistent with the Colleges Core Values.

The HOYA House Cup ~ House of Galileo

Sponsored by HOYA VisionCare; This award recognizes members of the WUCO House who have collectively earned the most services points during the academic year, by demonstrating WesternU’s Core Values of Humanism, Scientific Excellence and Caring.

The President’s Society Scholarship ~ Ashley Suplee

Established in 1994 by the WesternU President’s Society to recognize a student’s academic excellence and service to the University.

San Joaquin Optometric Society Scholarship ~ Elizabeth Samson

This scholarship was designed by the Central San Joaquin Valley Optometric Society to award the student who desires to practice in the Central San Joaquin Valley.

US Vision Scholarship ~ Franco Castrejon, Mary Hoang

US Vision is a corporate retailer of optical products and services located in the US and Canada.  US Vision strives to embody certain principles in their employee culture.  This award is given to two students who have successfully balanced the demands of a rigorous educational setting while meeting the challenges of life.

The Vision Council / COLA Terry Yoneda Excellence in Ophthalmic Optics Award ~ Alex Tadros 

Founded in 1957; COLA was an organization of full-service optical laboratories in the Western U.S.recently COLA and The Vision Council merged forming a sub-committee within the Optical Lab Division.  The re-creation of this award serves to honor the former executive director of COLA, Mr. Terry Yoneda.  Terry was the glue that kept COLA together and it was through his dedication and direction that they are able to continue with member benefits and education.  The scholarship itself is awarded to a third-year student who exhibits excellence in academics, clinical skills, and patient care at the Eye Care Center related to ophthalmic optics. 

Walmart Scholarship ~ Tom Thamsopit

Created by Walmart, this scholarship recognizes an individual who is academically strong, a leader in the profession and whom has an interest in pursuing community practice

WesternU East West Scholarship ~ Jenny Tran

This scholarship was established by WesternU to award students based on academic excellence, community service, and financial need.  Students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2, have participated in volunteer work prior to and currently while enrolled at WesternU.

Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges ~ Mary Hoang (OD2015), Ann Le (OD2015), Justine Simon (OD2015), Ashley Suplee (OD2015), Tom Thamsopit (OD2015), Jennifer Tran (OD2015) Samantha Zaczyk (OD2015), Mandeep Dhillon (OD2016)

In recognition of those 2nd and 3rd year students who have demonstrated academic excellence, service to the community, extracurricular activities and leadership.

The Dean’s List

In recognition of students who have achieved and maintained academic excellence throughout the year and who rank in the top ten percent of the class. 

Class of 2015


Class of 2016


Class of 2017

Amanda Alves

Liza Smith


Kaitlin Allen

Stephanie Ivor-Smith


Atanes Atanesyan

Katherine Ha

Alyssa Cossette

Ashley Suplee


Raina Cheung

Andrew Mah


Suzan Burmayan

Ani Koussayan

Jason Drobeck

Alex Tadros


Mandeep Dhillon

Helen Phan


Victoria Chan

Avni Shah

Jessamyn Kichak

Tom Thamsopit


Matthew Diggory

Aza Pivazyan


Lucas Erhardt

Vidhi Shah

Jocelyn Liu

Francis Vu


Edward Hsieh

Clarissa Prieto-Ayala


Joseph Gray

Adam Tayman

Zin Min

Patricia Wai


Jennifer Hua

Charlene Singh




Hesper Pham

Brian Walton


Emily Huynh

Jenny Tran




Roshni Shah

Samantha Zaczyk







 American Academy of Optometry Student Fellows

In recognition of having fulfilled the requirements to become a Student Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry. 


Class of 2015


Class of 2016

May Chan

Jocelyn Liu


Kaitlin Allen

Nicolette Estrada

Van Kochkarian

Roma Patel

Julia Chu

Tammy Ngo


David Ardakani

Michael Fimreite

Tina Licina

Aza Pivazyan

Liann Griffiths

Aaron Peterson


Jeffrey Chen

Thu Hua

Josephine Lin

Jean Sugimoto

Jeremy Kemmerling

Patricia Wai


Michele Choi

Joseph Ibarra

Loi Mai

Lidia Tekie

Dina Kuch

Steffanie Wilamart


Chris DeGuzman

Amy Ishigo

Pooja Naik

William To

Aaron Lam



Mandeep Dhillon

Michele Kane

Eugene Pak

Tiffany Young




Matthew Diggory

Mallory Kennedy