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News (Foundation)

Please join us in congratulating the 2018 DTA Foundation scholarship recipients. Each year the DTA Foundation selects the most deserving, community-oriented third or fourth year dental student to receive a $5,000 scholarship. Thanks to your generous donations, the foundation was able to fund a record-setting 34 scholarships in 2018.

The purpose of the scholarship program is to recognize dental students who have an established commitment to community service by providing $5,000 in financial support to a third or fourth year dental student who has demonstrated:

  • Academic excellence in dentistry;
  • Financial need; and
  • A commitment to community service.

Each U.S. dental school dean had the opportunity to nominate one student from their school.

Congratulations to the 2018 DTA Foundation grant winners. Each year the DTA Foundation awards multiple $25,000 grants to help fund innovative projects all over the country designed to increase access to oral care and to broaden the awareness of oral healthcare’s impact on overall health.

Recently, DTA Foundation board members visited the Vivian T. Thomas Medical Arts Academy in Baltimore to get an up close and personal look at CF Charities’ Generation NeXT program, which matches inner-city high school students with dental school student mentors. The goal of the program, which received a 2016 DTA Foundation grant, is to expose minority youth to the many dental careers available to them and provide pathways for achievement of their occupational goals.

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In 2017, DTA Foundation donors supported 9 innovative pilot projects designed to increase access to oral health care and broaden awareness of oral health’s impact on overall health. Funded projects received $25,000 each and include:

DTA Foundation/Crown Seating Scholarship Recipient Keyachtta C. Hawkins, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Dentistry

Dental school is a very busy time, why did you decide to commit so much of your time to helping the community?
When I think about my upbringing and my community, I think about how it has made me the person that I am. Growing up in a teenage single parent household, living in low-income housing, and being educated in poor rural public schools, all of which although not easy has sculpted me into the woman I am today. At times, I think about how I can help someone in need more than I think about myself. This tells me that it is innate in me to want to give back to the underserved. I love school and treating my patients in our student clinics; however, when I am in the community making a true difference in the lives of others who are often overlooked, I truly feel fulfilled.

DTA Foundation and Patterson Dental Supply Scholarship Recipient Stuart W. Tucker, Creighton Dental

Dental school is a very busy time, why did you decide to commit so much of your time to helping the community?
Yes, dental school is busy, but I cannot imagine being able to persevere through its rigors without a balance in life and doing things I enjoy most. Giving back to the communities that molded and shaped us is a vital part of being a healthcare provider. There are so many less fortunate, and they need our help. I find myself grateful in my circumstances as I serve other people.

DTA Foundation Scholarship Recipient Mannhu Iglesias, West Virginia University School of Dentistry

Dental school is a very busy endeavor, why did you decide to commit so much of your time to helping the community?
I started doing community service since I was very young and it has become a part of my life. Because of my busy schedule in dental school, I do not have many opportunities to do community service as usual. However, I can still dedicate a few hours a month. I find that helping the community provides time for self-reflection and motivates me to want to be a better person.

DTA Foundation/Edward B. Shils Entrepreneurial Fund Scholarship Recipient Elizabeth Betances, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine

Dental school is a very busy time, why did you decide to commit so much of your time to helping the community?
A large part of dental school is spent studying in the library and working on projects in pre-clinic, especially during the first two years. I felt like participating in community service during that time reminded me of why I entered the dental field. Interacting with the kids and adults in our community inspired me to excel so that I could develop the skills to better serve them. When I reached the clinic, I realized the disparities that exist, and how prevention in the community could help to improve these gaps. It was interactive, personable, and honestly just really fun.


DTA Foundation Scholarship Recipient Natalie Okuhara, University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry

Dental school is a very busy time, why did you decide to commit so much of your time to helping the community?
As busy as dental school is, giving back to my community has always been one of my greatest passions and I knew that I wanted to make it a big part of my dental school experience. I enjoy dedicating my time to help my community because I believe that my work is making a positive impact and also encourages others to value and take care of their health. I feel fortunate to be able to apply my dental skills and knowledge to help those that do not have access to dental care. There is also something about connecting with patients through outreach that is very gratifying and constantly keeps me coming back for more.

DTA Foundation Scholarship Recipient Ronnie Marquez, The University of Missouri-Kansas City

Dental school is a very busy time, why did you decide to commit so much of your time to helping the community?
My passion to help others originates from my upbringing, which has provided me with a unique understanding of the underserved/disadvantaged community.  Raised by a single mother in a neighborhood notorious for being unforgiving, I was originally motivated to pursue higher education to escape my environment in an attempt to overcome difficult circumstances that many fall victim too.   Escaping my environment was my original motivation, but through my Dental education and the opportunities it gave me to work toward improving the lives of others, I now realize that there is great value in my understanding of the needs that suppress these communities and I am now motivated by my ability and the passion I have to help those in need.