Find out who will win the inaugural SUNY Student Innovator Award on February 12

It all comes down to this.

On Friday, February 12, the winner of the inaugural SUNY Student Innovator Award will be chosen at the end of a unique and exciting, community-wide event in Schwarz Theater.

Thanks to a partnership with Essilor of America and Jobson’s Rick Bay Foundation for Excellence in Eyecare Education, the students of SUNY Optometry have the opportunity to be directly rewarded for their ingenuity. First announced last April, the SUNY Student Innovator Award is a $5,000 scholarship that will be given to a student (or shared by a team of up to three students) whose idea or concept is the most original, impactful, viable and feasible among those submitted.

SUNY Student Innovator Award logoThe competition began last fall when students of the College were invited to submit abstracts related to innovations or improvements in clinical eye care, research, practice management, optometric education, health care policy, community education, technology, social media and more. The submissions were then judged by the award committee and five finalists were chosen and notified in December, giving them time to further develop their ideas and create presentations.

Now, those finalists will square off on February 12, with each given a total of fifteen minutes to present their ideas and answer questions from a panel of five judges representing SUNY Optometry, Essilor and the Rick Bay Foundation. After the presentations are finished, the judges will confer and select the winner.

“Our goal is to challenge our students to dream big and to find a way to make that dream a reality,” Dr. David A. Heath, SUNY Optometry’s president said about the competition. “We not only want our students to think about what the future of optometry and health care will look like, we want them to lead the way to that future and this scholarship will help to drive this essential point home to our students and reward their success along the way.”

In addition to earning a scholarship, the winner of the inaugural SUNY Student Innovator Award will present their concept at the Vision Monday Global Leadership Summit at the Times Center on April 13.


The five finalists (or groups of finalists) who will present their ideas on February 12 are:

  1. Patrick Doty (Class of 2017)
    Clare Tao (Class  of 2017) 
  2. Kar To Ip (Class of 2017)
    Karen Molina (Class  of 2017)
    Kevin Zhang (Class  of 2017) 
  3. Vanessa Fimreite (Class  of 2016) 
  4. Linda Shi (Class of 2017)
    Alan Tsai  (Class  of 2017) 
  5. Michael Wallerich (Class of 2017)

The SUNY Student Innovator Award Finals and reception will be held

Friday, February 12 at 5pm
in the Schwarz Theater

All are welcome to attend.