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NECO Student and Alumnus Receive Mattingly Scholarship

images of glasses and low vision device with words

Two New England College of Optometry (NECO) students have been selected for the 2018 Bill Mattingly Memorial Scholarship. Micaela Gobeille, Class of 2018, and recent alumnus Rebecca Deffler, Class of 2017, were chosen to receive the $2500 scholarship for their commitment to low vision. The award, co-sponsored by Mattingly Low Vision and the El Paso Community Foundation, was created to honor Bill Mattingly and presented to an optometry or ophthalmology student or resident focused on low vision.

Micaela Gobeille, Class of 2018, has been a passionate researcher and advocate for low vision during her time at the College.  Assistant Professor Alexis Malkin, OD, FAAO, explains, “Micaela is one of those students who makes you wonder how they can possibly accomplish everything they set out to accomplish and then she not only achieves the goals but exceeds expectations while doing it.”

Micaela Gobeille

Malkin continues, “Micaela is truly one of the most capable students that I have had the opportunity to teach. She will be a wonderful representative of the Mattingly company and a tribute to Bill Mattingly’s memory.”

Gobeille is poised to graduate this spring and begin a residency where she will hone her skills.  She notes, “I am honored to have been chosen as one of this year's Mattingly award recipients. I  am grateful for the many opportunities NECO has provided through low vision clinical experiences and my Master's research, both of which have enabled me to discover and follow my passion for low vision rehabilitation.    

Rebecca Deffler Rebecca Deffler, OD, Class of 2017, was selected for her continued commitment to serving the low vision community.  After graduating last spring, Dr. Rebecca Deffler began a two year Advanced Practice Fellowship at Ohio State University.  Dr. Malkin notes, “Rebecca is a self-motivated, independent learner. In the clinic and the classroom, she excels due to her inquisitive, thoughtful and detail oriented nature. She was a strong contributor to our low vision department and we are proud of all that she has accomplished in Ohio. We look forward to seeing the many successes that her career will bring.”

Assistant Professor Nicole Ross explained, “I have had the privilege of working with both of these students as their clinical mentor and as their research mentor in low vision rehabilitation.  Each have made significant and important contributions to our understanding of the low vision patient, how to improve the clinical care we provide, and to improve the patient's quality of life.  NECO as an institution has always provided students opportunities to begin to forge their career paths. We encourage students not just to study the profession of optometry but impact and contribute to the profession as well.  Micaela and Rebecca are both examples of NECO's commitment to this mission. I look forward to continuing to work with them as colleagues as they move forward in their careers.”