WEST ALLIS, WIS., June 12, 2017 – The Wisconsin Dental Association Foundation is helping lighten the higher-education financial load of 12 dental and dental hygiene students in the state by awarding them a combined $13,000 in scholarships.

Three dental students entering their fourth year at Marquette University School of Dentistry in fall 2017 have received $2,500 each in WDAF Tuition Scholarship Awards. These awards are made on the basis of academic achievement, motivation, character and financial need. Students must be Wisconsin residents who rank within the top 25 percent of all state students in their class to be considered.

Joshua Graber of Oregon developed his love of dentistry after meeting and shadowing a local dentist. His charitable spirit then lead him to participate in the WDA and WDAF Mission of Mercy, where he learned to treat patients with empathy and respect. He will take these skills with him into his future dental career.

Laura Hibbard of Monroe originally chose to study biomedical engineering in college, but changed direction after realizing she would like to see how her work personally impacts patients. After shadowing a hometown dentist, she went back to school to pursue a dental degree. After graduation, Laura hopes to establish a practice in her hometown.

Ellen Krueger of Greendale felt like a new person after braces helped her regain her self-image and self-confidence. She decided to become a dentist to help others love their smiles. Ellen also enjoys giving back to the community by volunteering at WDA Mission of Mercy and the Greater Milwaukee Dental Association’s Give Kids A Smile® and Head Start Day.

Two dental students who are married and Wisconsin residents in their second to fourth years of study received $1,000 each in WDA Foundation/Alliance Scholarship Awards.

Youngchai Chang of Wauwatosa finds inspiration in science, art, community service, lifestyle and business, all of which she finds in dentistry. Having initially studied communications and journalism, she switched to dentistry to focus on people rather than theories and ideas.

Alicia Malak of Waterford has always been interested in teeth and keeping them healthy. Coupled with her desire to build trusting and devoted relationships, dentistry seemed like the perfect career choice. After graduation, Alicia hopes to practice in her hometown.

The WDA Foundation also awards scholarships to support students in Wisconsin technical colleges who are studying dental hygiene. One student at each college is selected to receive a $500 scholarship to help defray education costs.

Seven dental hygiene students received scholarships this year. Recipients must be state residents with academic achievement and financial need. The schools, their scholarship recipients and students’ cities of residence include:

Since 2000, the WDA Foundation has awarded nearly $202,000 in scholarships to dental and dental hygiene students to help assure quality dental care will always be available to Badger State residents.

Donations from many people and organizations have helped the foundation provide financial support for statewide charitable dental care, oral hygiene outreach and education efforts for 60 years.

Visit the WDA Foundation donor page on WDA.org for information on how you can help with a donation during this, the organization’s diamond anniversary year.