College of Optometry

Honors, Awards & Scholarships

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.

Photos from the event can be viewed in our WUCO photo gallery: http://wucogallery.westernu.edu/Founders-Day-2015/
or on our College Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/WesternUCO

2015 Founder’s Day Award Honoree

Richard Sugerman, PhD 

awarded October 25, 2015

In appreciation of his many contributions and support on the vision, mission, and values of the College.

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 2015 are listed below.

Photos from the event can be viewed in our WUCO photo gallery: http://wucogallery.westernu.edu/Honors-Day-2015/
or on our College Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/WesternUCO

California Optometric Association’s George Deane Jr. OD Memorial Leadership Award ~ Mandeep Dhillon

The award recognizes one student from each school of optometry in California, who has exhibited excellent leadership in the areas of legislation, governance, and community service. 

Core Values Award ~ Edward Hsieh (Borish), Mandeep Dhillon (Galileo), Katherine Ha (Prentice), Xi Liu (Skeffington)

This award recognizes one student from each WUCO House who has performed extraordinary service and exemplified WUCO Core Values of caring, humanism and scientific excellence.

The Dean’s Award ~ Jenny Tran (OD2016), Joseph Gray (OD2017), Aaron Chi (OD2018), Christina Kuzas (OD2018) & Kiira Harrison (OD2018)

Awarded in recognition of students who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in academic excellence by earning the highest GPA in their class.

Essilor’s Private Practice Student Travel Fellowship ~ David Ardakani, Naul Paz

Sponsored by Essilor to support student travel to the American Academy of Optometry (AAO) annual conference in recognition of students who have excelled in three primary areas: maintained good academic standing, provided service to the community, and demonstrated outstanding leadership at school, or within the profession.

Gandhi / Silani Annual Scholarship for Clinical Excellence and Leadership ~ Kaitlin Hash

Established in 2014 by Drs. Vipal Gandhi and Kambiz Silani, alumni from our inaugural class, in honor of 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 ~ Kaitlin Hash

Awarded in recognition of a second or third year student who has demonstrated clinical skills in pediatrics and displayed a passion for seeing pediatric patients.

Great Western Council of Optometry (GWCO) Scholarship ~ Matthew Diggory

Awarded In recognition of outstanding patient care consistent with the College’s Core Values. “Outstanding Clinician of the Year”

The HOYA House Cup ~ House of Prentice

Sponsored by HOYA Vision Care, Inc., recognizing 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 Award ~ Katherine Ha

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

Ujima Scholarship ~ Lidia Tekie

A community based scholarship fund in recognition of African American students of Western University of Health Sciences who have demonstrated good academic standing, service to the community, and financial need.

The Vision Council / COLA Terry Yoneda Excellence in Ophthalmic Optics Award ~ Clarissa Prieto-Ayala 

Sponsored by The Vision Council and the California Optical Laboratories Association (COLA), to honor a student who exhibits excellence in academics, clinical skills, and patient care at the Eye Care Center related to ophthalmic optics. 

Walman Optical Company Scholarship ~ Jenny Tran

Established by the Walman Optical Company to encourage and assist second or third year optometry students based on academic record, demonstrated leadership and participation in school and community activities, honors, work experience, statement of goals and aspirations, unusual personal or family circumstances, and an outside appraisal.

WesternU East West Scholarship ~ Kaitlin Hash

Established by WesternU to award students based on academic excellence, community service, and financial need.

Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges ~ Kaitlin Hash (OD2016), Edward Hsieh (OD2016), Jenny Tran (OD2016),

In recognition of those second, third and fourth year students who have demonstrated academic excellence, service to the community, involvement in 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 2016


Class of 2017


Class of 2018

Raina Chung

Jennifer Hua


Atanes Atanesyan

Joanna Miranda


Aaron Chi

Amanjot Mashiana

Mandeep Dhillon

Emily Huynh


Katrina Braganza

Malia Sato


Kevin Drew

Vivian Nguyen

Matthew Diggory

Stephanie Ivor-Smith


Suzan Burmayan

George Schertzinger


Kiira Harrison

Ani Ter-Nshanian

Kaitlin Hash

Charlene Singh


Laura Capelle

Avni Shah


Christina Kuzas


Michelle Hoyt

Jenny Tran


Jonathan Creech

Adam Tayman




Edward Hsieh



Joseph Gray

Kathy Tran







Annie Hovakemian

Alyssa Yamamoto







Mona Joshi 

 Terry Yu




 American Academy of Optometry Student Fellows

In recognition of those students who have fulfilled the requirements to become a Student Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry which assists in developing their skills as an optometric or vision science professional.

Class of 2016


Class of 2017

Sharon Dyer


Harshani Amaraweera

Joseph Gray

Mona Joshi

Anna Parfenova

 Siranush Sarkisyan

 Benjamin Tautges

Michelle Hoyt


Katrina Braganza

Katherine Ha

Jung Eun Koo

Amy Pham

Malia Sato 

Kathy Tran 

Edward Hsieh


Suzan Burmayan

Diana Hanna

Ani Koussayan

Kevin Pham

 Avni Shah

Christie Wong 

Tessah Kanter


Laura Capelle

Preny Honarchian

Melissa Macco

Viviana Rios

 Vidhi Shah

Alyssa Yamamoto 

Kimberly Kwong


Victoria Chan

Annie Hovakemian

Brian Ng

Moamen Rizk

 Sapana Shrestha

Hsiao-Yi Yang 

Kristina Lin


Jeffrey Dang

Henry Hua

Linh Ngo

Ashley Rodgers

 Lourdes Silva-Said

 Terry Yu

 Amy Nguyen


Kirolos Fahmy

Asal Iranpour

Christina Nguyen 

Jill Rodriguez 

 Stephanie Souvannachak

 Yue Zhou

 Clarissa Prieto-Ayala


 Rebecca Ference