November 2019


ASCRS Foundation’s Resident Excellence Award: Supporting the future of ophthalmology

by Evelyn Morales ASCRS Foundation Program Manager

Nandini Venkateswaran, MD

Fellow, Duke University
Durham, North Carolina

Each year the ASCRS Foundation offers 10 Resident Excellence Awards for $1,000 to enable young ophthalmologists exhibiting exemplary performance to attend the ASCRS Annual Meeting. The ASCRS Foundation is now accepting nominations for the 2020 Resident Excellence Award.
The categories for consideration include research, patient care, leadership, and education. Candidates must be in year 2–3 of residency, or an active fellow, and must be nominated by their program director or coordinator.
Nandini Venkateswaran, MD, a current cornea, external disease, and refractive surgery fellow at Duke University was one of the promising young ophthalmologists selected last year to attend the Annual Meeting in San Diego as a 2019 Resident Excellence Award recipient.
Dr. Venkateswaran shared her experience with the ASCRS Foundation staff.

ASCRS Foundation: How did you learn about the Resident Excellence Award?

Dr. Venkateswaran: One of my senior residents, Dr. Swarup Swaminathan, who had won the Resident Excellence Award the prior year, encouraged me to apply for the award at the beginning of my third year of residency. He felt that it would be a wonderful opportunity for me to attend the 2019 ASCRS Annual Meeting given my strong interest in cornea, external disease, cataract, and refractive surgery. My residency program director at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, Dr. Steven Gedde, also encouraged me to apply.

ASCRS Foundation: Tell us about your experience at the Annual Meeting?

Dr. Venkateswaran: ASCRS is by far my favorite meeting to attend every year, and I have actually been attending it since my first year of ophthalmology residency. The meeting is filled with enriching lectures, interactive wet labs, dynamic roundtable sessions, as well as young eye surgeon-geared talks and events that have enabled me to strengthen my knowledge base and grow as a young clinician and surgeon. The meeting also permits young trainees to begin sharing their research and clinical work on the podium by submitting original posters and papers, and I have challenged myself to present several original research papers and posters each year I have attended. Many of the leaders in anterior segment surgery come from around the world to participate in this meeting, and attending the meeting is an invaluable opportunity to meet and network with these individuals as well as learn clinical and surgical pearls from them.

ASCRS Foundation: Would you recommend other current residents or fellows to apply for the award?

Dr. Venkateswaran: The Annual Meeting is one of the most informative meetings for young eye surgeons. The variety of educational lectures, wet labs, paper and poster sessions, and roundtable seminars is unparalleled and receiving the funding to attend the meeting this year through the award was a fantastic opportunity. In addition to sharing my research and attending lectures, I was also able to meet and speak with so many inspiring leaders in our field.

Dr. Venkateswaran’s advice to those interested in the award: “I would absolutely recommend current residents and/or fellows to apply for this award! Reach out to your residency or fellowship program director and express your interest in being nominated.”

To learn more about the Resident Excellence Award, visit
The deadline for the 2020 Resident Excellence Awards is Friday, Jan. 10, 2020.

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ASCRS Foundation’s Resident Excellence Award: Supporting the future of ophthalmology ASCRS Foundation’s Resident Excellence Award: Supporting the future of ophthalmology
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