KYCO student receives Vision of Hope Scholarship

Vision Service Plan Global (VSP) awarded an incoming optometry student with a $5,000 Vision of Hope Scholarship to assist with her optometric education at the University of Pikeville – Kentucky College of Optometry (KYCO). 

KYCO’s Faculty Scholarship and Awards Committee hand-selected Swathi Gutti, as she met the criteria to be eligible for the scholarship which includes being a student from the Appalachian region and committed to practicing in an underserved patient population during her optometric career. 

Gutti is inspired by her parents who have served as healthcare providers in Pikeville, Ky., for more than 20 years, and she recognizes the need for first-rate care in Appalachia and why she chose to attend KYCO.

“I am all too familiar with the lack of access to sufficient eye care that affects this region. While my personal journey as a consumer of eye care has been a success story, my life experiences have exposed me to the important issues that need to be addressed within this community,” says Gutti. “I am very honored to be part of a program like KYCO, which serves the people of this area in so many ways.”

Michael Bacigalupi, O.D., M.S., FAAO, FNAP, dean of KYCO, says VSP and KYCO are committed to improving patient access to care from compassionate and well-trained optometrists while carrying out a mission of service.

Gutti plans on pursuing her goals in the rapidly evolving field of optometry and is excited to learn new optometric technologies while addressing challenges.

“I hope to begin my professional career as an optometrist and serve my home community of Eastern Kentucky, where the prevalence of vision loss is remarkably high and socioeconomic barriers pose significant challenges,” says Gutti. “My ultimate goal is to make eye care more accessible to all demographics.”