Replace My Contacts $1000 Academic Scholarship Opportunity!


Well, it’s that time – the sun is coming out, the snow is melting and the final round of the Replace My Contacts Academic Scholarship challenge is here!

First, we’d like to thank all those who took part in this $1000 opportunity. We were pleasantly surprised with the number of participants. We’re ecstatic to report that the number of submissions has been higher than any previous year.

Unfortunately, though, we can’t give all of you the award. It’s somewhat tragic, yes, but next year will be here before you know it, so stay optimistic. In the meantime, continue reading and find the next steps and how you can help crown the winner.

The recipient of the $1000 scholarship will be determined by your votes. We encourage you to read our finalists’ essays and cast your ballot for your favorite. Are you or a loved one potential victor? Encourage friends and family to vote through social media, email or old fashioned word of mouth.



Finally, the winner of the $1000 Replace My Contacts Scholarship will be decided by number of votes. This means whoever receives the highest number of votes for their essay by April 30, 2014 will receive the scholarship.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us at  



1. Sahil - Hiranandani Foundation School, Powai


Where I see myself in 5 years, and how this scholarship would help me achieve that vision.


I belong to the Internet generation – I feel the power of the Web every day.  I’m fascinated by the idea of “The Internet of Everything”. Today, the internet connectivity is ubiquitous, but the devices capable of taking advantage of this are very limited in number - we have only begun to scratch the surface.


My initial exposure to computer programming began in the seventh grade when I learned HTML coding. Later on, as part of the curriculum, I learned Java and C++. This sparked a tremendous interest in me; I could now command a computer to accomplish tasks. Seeing the results, however little, made me feel like a magician. I could write programs to do mathematical calculations, simple encryption-decryptions, generate reports, etc.


 I want to carry this momentum forward through my years at college and develop ideas and algorithms to take my excitement to the next level. I believe that the facility and the environment that a university would provide will enable me to learn and innovate in this space. I plan to take varied courses that will focus not only on the core engineering of a product, but also consider human psychology, behavior, and interaction with future gadgets. 


My engineering degree will enable me to think differently, coming up with ideas that we now only dream of. I want to create intelligent, awe-inspiring products like Google Glass that will revolutionize the way we interact with the world around us. My goal in life is to create clean and brilliant solutions that will enable millions to make their lives more fruitful. The possibilities for human benefits are endless! This scholarship will help me achieve my vision of the future.


Everywhere I go, everything I do - whether it is in the digital world or real life - I look for perfection and simplicity in design. I feel all interactions can be made smoother with a good User Experience. With this in mind, I started a blog. It has grown since its inception, and has generated quality discussion about Android Design. To be honest, I’ve never been more proud of anything in my life.


Technology is evolving and progressing, and I want to be a key player in this progression. Learning computer science is the first step toward this goal. This scholarship will greatly help me pursue my education.



2. Megan - Texas A&M College Station, Texas


Little children often say, "When I grow up I want to be a ..." For me, I wanted to follow in my dad's footsteps and become a pilot. That ambition stuck with me until seventh grade at which time I visualized myself on another career path. I pictured myself becoming an architect. I talked it over with my school counselor who located a computer aided design (CAD) class at Western Technical College. Upon completion, I knew I wanted a career as an architect and I envision myself owning my own firm five years after graduation.


I began researching which universities offered Architecture programs. My uncle is a graduate of Texas A&M and when I discovered the school carried the program, I immediately saw myself enrolled there.


Even while progressing through hardships, I could still visualize myself working towards my goal. For example, sophomore year I was very ill which caused an absence from school for many days. Regardless, I prepared a persuasive speech and went only to that class, on my assigned day, so it would not be considered late. My junior year, I was diagnosed with a painful ovarian cyst. Unable to eat much, I spent most days in bed incapable of moving due to the pain. Again, I kept on task, with my future goal still insight, until I was able to return to school.


No doubt, the biggest hardship I have endured was losing my grandmother senior year. She suffered advance stages of cancer for two years. My parents received a call from hospice. They were needed at my grandparents home. I received the dreaded phone call later letting my sister and me know that our grandma was slipping away. I immediately broke down crying. My grandma and I were extremely close and the thought of her leaving this world was difficult. During the following days, I spent as much time with her as possible. I would work on homework sitting by her side and being in her presence. She passed away a week later with my grandpa and the nurses at her side. She was buried in Massachusetts, and again, I was away from school. I contacted my teachers requesting an email of my homework so I wouldn't get behind. Each night I completed all assignments as if I was turning them in the following day. Upon my return, I was on track with my classmates.


Today, I am more inspired to do well and succeed. I see my grandmother wanting me to be the best I can be. I know that she is watching over me and helping me through it all. I can do anything I put my mind to and with the help of this scholarship I strongly believe I will succeed. I see myself as the architectural business owner I plan to become. I will work hard to achieve this goal. I am fully capable of doing so and I am confident that by putting forth the effort nothing will stop me.




3. Ericka - University of Oklahoma


Predicting where I will be in five years is unforeseeable in the military world. My husband recently has joined the Air Force and with his new assignment, it has changed my career path and goals. Though I cannot control where I will physically be in five years, I can control my education and how it will lead me into my chosen career field, Museum Studies.

The path that lead me to pursue a Master’s Degree in Museum Studies started early and developed as I traveled the world. As a child, I remember visiting museums and being fascinated and idolizing the imagery and information. When we traveled to new countries, my time was not spent at bars or beaches, but was instead consumed by museums and galleries. My explorations of the world's greatest art was limited only by my husband’s patience and the hours of operation.

After being stationed in Dayton Ohio, I needed to find a job that was accessible anywhere in the world. Museums are worldwide and since I love exploring them, I decided working at one would be my best option. In five years, I hope I am successfully managing a museum as either a director or curator. The Replace My Contacts Scholarship will help support me to become a well-rounded scholar and foster my passion while attending the University of Oklahoma for Museum Studies. I intend to use my education to connect museum life with its new technologically advanced generation by using social media and collaborating with the community to create invigorating visits for its patrons. Currently, I am volunteering at the Dayton Arts Institute. I have much admiration of their commitment to their patrons with their weekly lectures, musical performances, and puppet shows. They are engaging all ages of the community and using different forms of art to mentally stimulate the patrons, which is exactly what I want to do. It is my belief that above all, it is the purpose of a museum to inspire passion in its visitors, a feat which is critical for the continued success of the art world. While volunteering at a museum and studying the art of it, I can now mentally picture myself five years later as a confident and passionate museum director or curator.



4. Elizabeth - University of Bristol


Do you believe corrected vision is a privilege or a right? Explain your reasoning.


The moral status of eye care is a topic that is clearly relevant to the hotly debated health care issue in the United States. Is corrected vision a right or a privilege? It is first important to outline the definitions of these terms, as they will be used in this response. I will define these terms according to the philosopher Judy Thomson in her book “Realm of Rights.” First, there is a distinction between legal rights and moral rights. I think it is more interesting to discuss vision correction in regards to morality, because many would say that morality is what our legislation should be based on in the first place. A moral right is a two-hat concept in which one party has a duty to the other. In this case, we’d be considering a concept in which the government has a duty to the people (this duty being to provide glasses or contacts to those who need vision correction). Conversely, a privilege is had in this case when people gain access to corrected vision, even though the government has no duty to provide it. The determining question to ask, then, is: does the government have a duty to give everyone access to corrected vision?


The answer to this question will vary greatly among people, but I think that the government does have a duty to ensure that all people have access to basic tools that improve their vision. Being able to see clearly is a hugely important part of the human experience. The ability to see well, read clearly and appreciate physical beauty can really enhance a person’s life. More importantly, a person who needs eye care but cannot afford it has a major disadvantage in work and educational opportunities. Many jobs require workers to be able to drive, use a computer, or have a visual awareness of their surroundings. This disadvantage creates an unfair difficulty in people with vision problems being able to earn money and afford corrected vision in the future. Additionally, a person who is visually impaired may have difficulty watching out for his or her safety (and the safety of others). Decent vision is crucial when a person is exposed to traffic or other physical obstacles. I remember once stopping a vision impaired woman from walking straight into oncoming traffic – something like this would have been a disaster for her and everyone involved.

It is for these reasons that I think basic eye care is essential for the government to provide in order to uphold the protection, happiness and equal opportunities for all citizens, as part of their duty.



5. Alanna - University of Southern Maine


What is your dream career and how could perfect vision be helpful in your pursuit?


Throughout high school, I was constantly contemplating future careers and pondering whether I was going to be successful or happy in my professional life. I entered college as a declared business major: I had been a student leader in years past and thought I may succeed as a manager or business owner at some point. My peers decided on traditionally “noble pursuits”: medicine, finance, engineering. My parents, albeit jokingly, encouraged me to pick a major that would be able to ensure their placement in a high-quality nursing home in the future. However, I feared that entering college as a declared student was a binding agreement that fastened my permanent seatbelt on the ride to the business world.


         My intention in writing this isn’t to repel future business students from the major: in fact, I encourage prospective business majors to follow their heart if that’s where it’s leading. With every passing day at college, I am increasingly more thankful that I decided to do the same. By switching my major to political science with a minor in economics, my hope is that I can use this foundation to follow, not my parents’ or friends’, but my own passions.


         My ideal career is one of public service and embodiment of the humanitarian attitude. My passion lies in making other people happy and using my privilege and knowledge to better my home state: Maine. My hope for the future is to invoke progress in my state, and hopefully, country, whether it be economically, culturally, or academically. Maine is a hard-working, culturally rich, beautiful place to live, and I hope to devote my academic and professional life to keeping it this way and seeing my state flourish.


            If I hope to be a public leader or organization advocate, it is absolutely crucial that all of my senses are in immaculate condition. I have to be ready to meet with all kinds of people and make visits everyday to both offices and outdoor locations. I have to be ready to pay attention to slideshows and real-life situations about the issues at hand. I have to be able to assess a person’s body language and judge visual presentations and proposals. If I want to be a successful advocate for the people, unwavering eyesight is critical.



6. Andrea - Westmoor High School


Do you believe corrected vision is a privilege or a right? Explain your reasoning.


Having glasses at such a young age, I don’t really remember what life was like without them. What I do remember is walking into my Kindergarten class for the first time with my glasses. I walked in with my head held high, proud that I could now see everything so clearly. But I didn’t understand why all the other kids were staring and pointing at me. I learned soon enough that it wasn’t “cool” to wear glasses. As I got older and kids learned to be meaner, I got called names like “four-eyes.” Of course, it hurt my feelings, but I just told myself that the other kids didn’t understand that I needed glasses because of my astigmatism. When my optometrist told me about contact lenses in the 8th grade, I couldn’t believe it. Not having to wear glasses in front of everyone? I didn’t have to give it a second thought. So although my life now seems “normal” sans glasses, it doesn’t change the fact that every morning and every night, I stand in front of the mirror in my bathroom to put on and take off my “eyes.” This is who I am.

Then, I think of all the other kids around the world who have worse vision conditions and who can’t do anything about it. It’s terrifying. Their whole future is put to a stop because they can’t see what’s in front of them. They’ll never know what could have been or the successes they could have had. Like many other things in life, it’s not fair. We all deserve to see, to see our family and friends, to see our pet dogs and cats, to see the latest movie in the theater, to see the plants growing in the garden, to see the world. And for those people who didn’t get that the first time around, they deserve corrected vision. It’s a right.

More often than not, we forget how powerful and valuable our eyes truly are. They make the world around us so much more accessible and they open up endless possibilities. Everyone deserves to have that. Imagine two little girls who dream of becoming fashion designers. One of the girls, however, has tunnel vision. So while the second girl goes on to pursue her dream, the other lags behind because her vision condition makes it more difficult for her to move forward. The girl who has tunnel vision still has the ability to see, but she’s at a disadvantage because of her condition. When situations like these come up, do we not have a duty to correct her vision so she can achieve her dreams as well?

Equality doesn’t only come into play when we talk about race or gender; it also includes things like corrected vision. We all have the right to equal opportunities. So when a vision condition becomes a challenge for individuals, we, as a society, have an obligation to make up for it and help them get their vision back.



7. Kelsey - University of Wisconsin


What is your dream career and how could perfect vision be helpful in your pursuit?


I'll start in the thick of things: I want to draw, and maybe even write, comics. A childhood spent adoring books (both solely text and graphic in nature), playing video games and doodling have instilled in me a boundless love for digital art and visual storytelling. When graphic novelist is the perfect combination of my favorite things, what could be a more natural dream job?


Steadily over the last two years this realization has been growing. Seeing stories everywhere told visually - animated movies and television shows, graphic novels like manga, newspaper comic shorts, and web comics spread all across the internet – appealed to my way of accepting information. I've always been visual-learning inclined, which I realize is the reason graphic novels always seemed to stick in my mind. Realizing that I wanted to create these stories and bring them to life felt like winning the lottery, and with any luck, I might even be good at it.

I've loved creating art of all kinds since I was very young. My favorite activity in kindergarten was painting at the enormous easel in our colorful classroom. Art kits and sketchbooks have been the default gifts from family members since I could hold a crayon. I’ve always had 20/20 vision as well, and for that I am incredibly thankful. Having perfect vision allows me to see all the beauty in the world around me to its full potential. Continuing to keep my vision in top condition is a definite priority in my life because of my strong ties to the visual world all around me.

My intended major (after finishing my general arts courses) of Digital Studio Practice will teach me the ins and outs of the computer programs I'll need to master in order to create comics with visual appeal. My general classes in the Art program at my university will serve to improve my skills and strengthen my grasp on visual concepts. Perfect vision will help me see clearly not just the world around me but the path laid out in front of me.


8. Sarah - Columbus State University


Do you believe corrected vision is a privilege or a right?


We are the by products of an imperfect world. Everywhere our eyes focus disease, destruction, and other imperfections serve as a standard for the human race. Qualities such as health and well-being are often hard pressed to be found, especially in such sensitive organs as the human eye. The great Latin orator Cicero once declared that, "the face is a picture of the mind as the eyes are its interpreter." Essentially, he remarked on the eyes being the window to the human soul. With that being said, it is important to consider that our eyes do not naturally exist without flaws. These flaws often require the use of specialized medicine to provide individuals with a higher level of sight. In this state, we find that in fact corrected vision is not an entitlement, but a privilege. This is due to the fact that our bodies do not naturally obtain the right to remain perfect, nor is corrected vision a right in the sense that it is a freedom associated with all individuals in every society.

To begin with, even before birth the human body is met with a series of disturbances that contain the potential to severely threaten or disfigure the being as a whole. In the case of the eye, perfect vision is rarely found because of the wide array of disease that target human sight. In that sense, the idea of corrected vision cannot be a basic human right, as it concludes that all humans retain the right to perfection. This is both an erroneous and obviously an unrealistic perception. We are simply not creatures of perfection, and we are not instantly entitled to the correction of our imperfections. In another sense the term, "right" indicates an idea that something is presented to every living person, regardless of his or her race, gender, and social stature. However, just as modern medicine is not a right in the sense that millions of people suffer from inadequate availabilities to hospitals, doctors etc., corrected vision is a privilege only for those who can afford it. Evidence to support this idea can be found from the World Health Organization (WHO) reporting that, "About 90% of the world's visually impaired live in developing countries" ( If corrected vision were found to be a right, governments would automatically include free eyeglasses in all citizenship applications, and this ninety-percent would be nonexistent.

Conclusively, as bitter as reality is, corrected vision is simply a privilege and not a guaranteed right. This is due to the fact that human beings get sick, and not everybody is entitled to see a doctor when they are ill. This occurs as a result of the expenses and availability associated with modern medicine. If corrected vision were a right then, it would be completely available to every person in the world.


Works Cited

1. “Visual Impairment and Blindness." WHO. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Jan. 2014.


9. Lauren - University of San Diego


What is your dream career and how could perfect vision be helpful in your pursuit?


As a current student in the field of biochemistry at the University of San Diego, my dream career is different than most of my fellow peers. A majority of students in the science field are on a pre-medicine track of study, however that is not the case for myself. I am aspiring to be a researcher. Although I intensely admire doctors, nurses, and all those involved in the area of medicine, I know that my brain power would be much more efficiently spent researching the advances that will affect all of human kind. That being said, having to use vision-correcting lenses slightly inhibits my efficiency. Perfect vision would be immensely helpful in my pursuit of my dream career as a life-changing researcher.


Scientific research requires many hours bent over a microscope, mixing chemicals in a lab to determine changes and their applications, and a plethora of other intimate experiments and observations. Unless vision is great, the task is much more difficult. In addition, safety goggles in a lab are a necessity – the use of vision correcting glasses and safety goggles is nearly impossible. So that poses an issue, do you sacrifice perfect vision for safety? The answer is yes, because you must. However, contact lenses are a viable alternative to wearing glasses, but I have an aversion to using contacts simply because of the discomfort. These issues may not seem to be drastic in the scheme of things, but in regard to my dream career, they are serious.


Perfect vision would be helpful in my pursuit of my future occupation because all of my energy and focus could be directed on the task at hand and the most inventive way to accomplish it. Currently a portion of my focus must be put on struggling to see what I’m working with. Science, especially life science and chemical functions, works at a very small scale. Specifically: at the size of cells, bacteria, and chemical reactions. These can only be viewed through a microscope, which certainly aids in vision, but only to the extent of which your eye can perceive. Again, perfect vision would immensely increase the productivity of observation!


I would like to make a difference in the world. A friend of mine recently asked me, “What would you do if you knew you could not fail.” To which I responded, “Cure Cancer. Change the scientific field.” And he then insightfully said, “Then spend your life doing that. Fear no failure.” This exchange really struck me. I plan on fearing no failure and reaching toward my future dream career and accomplishments with no reservations. Perfect vision would aid me in this journey and have the greatest effect of all. It is intriguing to me that vision, something we all most definitely take for granted, has such an outstanding affect on everything we dream about and act on.


10. Hannah Ashley - Lenoir-Rhyne University


My Dream Career


My dream career may seem a little farfetched, yet it has been my dream since I was 12 years old, this career being an Athletic Trainer for the Atlanta Braves Major League Baseball team. I have always found sports to be something I could not live without and medicine something that has always been of a particular interest. Once I found that I could basically combine the two into what I consider the perfect career, I have been striving to reach this goal by beginning my college career at Lenoir-Rhyne University and obtaining a Federal Work Study job as a Student Athletic Trainer, the focus sport I was placed in was football, in which the Bears went to the Division II National Championship game in Florence, Alabama. One thing that has been a fear of mine in my pursuit of a perfect career is my vision; When I was 12 years old, I was put in the hospital with Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension, a disorder in which there is a excess amount of fluid produced by the brain, causing headaches, vomiting, back pain, and overall discomfort. One symptom that also came about with my case was vision loss; the fluid had built up so much so that it began to put pressure on my optic nerves causing me to slowly go blind. After two surgeries, my vision was saved, yet there was plenty of damage already done. Once my eyes had become stable, we pursued a low vision specialist who brought my vision to 20/20 in my left eye and about 20/70 in my right eye. Seeing as this would never happen, I mentally put my dream career of being an Athletic Trainer on hold, even looking into other options as a career. With potentially perfect vision, I would have the power to be able to spot an injury while it’s happening or to be able to see how the injury occurred to eliminate time consuming steps in my evaluation. For example in baseball, if there is a collision in left field when I am positioned in the right field dugout, my perfect vision could help me see the way the players hit and what part of the body would be most likely to be injured. Overall, after visiting my low vision specialist and having as perfect of vision as I will get, my dream career of being an Atlanta Braves Athletic Trainer is very obtainable and I cannot wait to continue to pursue my dream and have it to one day finally come true.

Voting has ended, winner will be announced shortly.



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