By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
Going to school is one of the most expensive endeavors a person in the United States can partake in.
Adding a masters or doctorate program after obtaining a bachelor’s degree only increases the amount of loans a student has. Luckily, dental students received some financial aid through the Wisconsin Dental Association Foundation.
The Wisconsin Dental Association Foundation known simply as the Foundation, was established in 1957 and works with the Wisconsin Dental Association (WDA). The WDA was established in 1870 and has 3,100 members.
The goal of the Foundation is to help Wisconsin dental residents through financial support. This year, five dental students at Marquette University School of Dentistry received tuition scholarships. At $2,500 each, the scholarships were awarded to students entering their fourth year of dentistry school.
A sixth student received a $1,500 scholarship, which is given to married residents.
The Foundation has awarded $233,000 in scholarships to dental and dental hygiene students since 2000, according to the press release. The funds have been raised through the aid of donations from people and organizations.
The five students awarded the scholarships were as followed: Amanda Beltrame, Hannah Bonikowske, Katelyn Kreh, Jessica Bogt, Shaina Zhao and Jonathon Traska.
About the students
Beltrame, a Brookfield native, said she knew she wanted to be dentists at just eight-years-old. When she was in high school, she began shadowing dentists to get a better feel for the work involved.
Bonikowske is a first-generation college student. As a young girl, her interests delved into the health care field, but dentistry was the one that stood out the most. Bonikowske said she’d like to practice general dentistry in a rural location.
According to the press release, Kreh has always has a “natural inclination to be a caregiver.” A Brookfield native, dentistry has allowed her to forge a career in which she can use her skills to help patients. Kreh said she plans to work in a community clinic in Milwaukee.
Vogt worked as a pharmacy technician for six years but wanted a more “hand-on” approach. She said after completing her degree, she’d like to work in a small community.
Zhao, from Minocqua, has always loved science and helping others. Zhao also comes from a family of dentists who encouraged her to follow her passion. Zhao would like to teach or mentor students in the future.
Traska, was working towards a degree in youth ministry before switching to dentistry. He wanted to help people and decided that dentistry was the best path for him. Traska is married with five children.
In addition to the six dental students, dental hygiene students throughout Wisconsin also received scholarships. The students included: Nicole Birschbach at Chippewa Valley Technical College, Morgan Reed at Fox Valley Technical College, Emma Johnson at Northcentral Technical College and Elizabeth Nelson of at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.
All information was provided by the WDA and WDA Foundation.