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ADA Foundation awards $1,000 scholarships to 30 allied dental students

In its continuing support of students pursuing careers in dentistry, the ADA Foundation awarded $30,000 in 2012 to 30 students through its Allied Dental Scholarships program.

Image: Mr. Werner
Mr. Werner

The annual scholarships of $1,000 each are made to support the academic pursuits of dental assisting, dental hygiene and dental laboratory technician students enrolled in Commission on Dental Accreditation accredited programs.

Recipient Jacob Werner, 33, is used to building things from a former career in construction. Now, as a student at Bluegrass Community and Technical College in Lexington, Ky., he’s building a new career in dentistry as a lab technician. The Allied Dental Scholarship is playing a part in his pursuits.

Mr. Werner’s wife, Stephanie, is a new pediatric dentist. She encouraged him to look into the laboratory and materials side of dentistry.

“She thought it would be something that I’d enjoy and be interested in,” he said. “I worked in a dental lab the year before I started school to see if it was something I’d like, and it was. So I decided to enroll, and I’m done with one year so far.”

The scholarship will create a financial buffer that will allow Mr. Werner, who said he has maintained a 4.0 grade point average, to work less and spend more time on his academic goals.

Image: Mr. Cook
Mr. Cook
“Having that extra money will enable me to continue to do well and, hopefully, this coming semester I won’t have to work on the side and go to school full time,” he said. “It’s a great help.”

Dental laboratory student Jefferson Cook also expressed a sense of financial relief in receiving one of the scholarships. Mr. Cook is a student at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

“With the ever growing price of college, including text books and dental instruments, there is no doubt that the scholarship will be quickly put to good use,” Mr. Cook said.

Mr. Cook indicated that he feels a sense of gratitude and responsibility to the ADA Foundation for granting him a scholarship. “You want to return their support with hard work and good results,” he said. “To me, it is the most logical way to thank them for their support.”

Scholarship recipient Paulina Szyjka, 31, is a dental hygiene student at Forsyth School of Dental Hygiene at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Services. Ms. Szyjka has been around dentistry all her life, as her mother is a dentist.

Image: Ms. Szyjka
Ms. Szyjka

“I was working with her for a long time,” Ms. Szyjka said. “I loved dentistry, and I decided to go into dental hygiene, especially since dental school right now is so expensive. I figured this was the best choice.”

Working in her mother’s practice and going to school full time makes for a jam-packed schedule for Ms. Szyjka.  “I try to work as much as I can, almost full time, and go to school full time,” she said. “But it’s hard, especially with clinic getting more demanding.  So the thousand dollars was a very welcomed blessing.”

Directors at CODA accredited schools selected and submitted nominees for scholarship consideration.

“My faculty picked me, and it was recognition that all my hard work has really paid off,” Ms. Szyjka said. “It was very flattering to actually get picked. I was very excited.”

For more information about the ADA Foundation’s scholarship programs, visit www.adafoundation.org.