Students in Seneca’s Opticianry diploma program will be able to apply for a new financial award to see their education through thanks to contributions from industry and donors.

Opticianry students are not immune to the economic impact of COVID-19 — many have experienced a loss of income and/or employment due to the pandemic and require technology support to succeed with online learning. That’s why one industry group stepped up to provide support.

The Academy of Ophthalmic Education (AOE), which provides educational seminars to eye health professionals, recently delivered a continuing education webinar that raised $7,600 to support Seneca’s Opticianry students. In the three-hour session, more than 300 attendees heard from presenters that included Dr. Jonathan Shapiro, Amy E. Chow and Dr. Mark Eltis.

“As a past Seneca faculty member and founder of the Academy of Ophthalmic Education, I feel honoured to be a part of this,” said Ali Khan, Founding President of AOE. “I am thankful to all our industry partners and together we will continue to serve the vision care for all Canadians.”

All proceeds from the webinar were donated back to Seneca, along with donations from generous supporters including I-MED Pharma, Kanda Optical and Mood Eyewear. With these funds, Seneca established the new AOE Opticianry Student Bursary. This year, the award will be available to seven full- and part-time Opticianry students.

“We put a high value on this partnership with AOE,” said Maria May, Dean of Seneca’s Faculty of Applied Arts & Health Sciences. “Their support of Seneca students is key to getting them to graduation. We’re looking forward to future initiatives and continued partnerships.”

Ashwani Kanda is a Seneca graduate and CEO of Kanda Optical. He believes in giving back to support the next generation.

“As a Seneca graduate, I am very proud to be giving back,” he said. “The students are the future in the industry, and we need to support them as best as possible.”

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