The MDA Foundation honored its 2013-14 student scholarship awardees during a special reception held May 1 during the MDA Annual Session in Grand Rapids and attended by students, parents, and Foundation volunteers.
Each year the MDA Foundation provides financial support to students in Michigan who are enrolled in dental, dental hygiene, and dental assisting programs. Scholarships are awarded from the Robert Mitus, John G. Nolen, George L. Bletsas, and Bill Schumann scholarship funds.
“As the cost of dental education continues to increase, scholarships help to defray expenses for those students who qualify, based on academic record, community service, leadership, and financial need,” said Kathy Mielke, chair of the Foundation’s scholarship committee.
“The students in our schools today are the dental professionals and leaders of tomorrow,” Mielke added. “Financial support now can help build a lifetime of success.”
Here are this year’s scholarship recipients — congratulations!
Robert Mitus Scholarships
Brandon Shoukri is a D3 student at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. A West Bloomfield native, he received his bachelor of science degree from Wayne State University in nutrition and food science. Active in leadership positions, he is the dental and dental hygiene student representative of the U-M SOD strategic planning committee and current president of the U-M Mouthguard Clinic.
Jessica Schwarz is a D3 student at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. A native of Plymouth, Mich., she earned a bachelor’s degree in biology at Eastern Michigan University. She became interested in dentistry after having surgery during adolescence for an open bite occlusion that made it difficult to eat. She’s currently working toward a career as an orthodontist.
Jacob Williams is a D3 student at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. At the school he maintains a leadership role at the Taft Clinic, which he says has given him an appreciation of the organizational aspects that go into the administration of donated services as well as a drive for “giving back” to the community.
Heidi Heers graduated last month from the hygiene program at Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek. She plans to continue her education by enrolling in the dental hygiene degree completion program for a bachelor of science degree at the University of Michigan.
Maryam Masood is a graduating senior in the dental hygiene program at Lansing Community College. She has a bachelor’s of science in human biology and hopes to continue on to dental school in the near future. Born in Afghanistan, she moved to the USA at age 9. She’s fluent in English, Farsi and Urdu.
Kelsie Brown graduated last month with a degree in dental assisting from Northwestern Michigan College. A native of Pickford, Mich., located near Sault Ste. Marie, Kelsie maintained a remarkable 3.94 GPA while at Northwestern.
Kelsey Turner graduated this spring from at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City with a degree in dental assisting. She is from Kingsley, Mich. She says winning the MDA Foundation scholarship is “a weight lifted off my shoulders,” helping her concentrate and do her best in her last semester at school.
John G. Nolen Scholarship
Saliah Miles is a D3 student at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. She is a native of Detroit. After graduation she plans to apply to a general residency program, followed by working in a federally qualified health center to help improve the oral health of underserved individuals.
Bill Schumann Scholarship
Alexandra Martella is a D4 student at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry. Prior to dental school she graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in brain, behavior and cognitive science. An active student leader, at UDM she’s served as president of UDM ASDA and led the chapter to ASDA’s “Most Improved” award, the second-highest award an ASDA chapter can receive. She is also a student member of the MDA Foundation board of directors.
MDA Insurance & Financial Group Scholarship
Whitney Yahn of Hemlock, Mich., graduated last month from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. She previously received a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from Saginaw Valley State University. Her “passion” is pediatric dentistry. She’ll begin a pediatric dentistry residency at U-M in July.