Recipients selected for the 2022 ADAA/DANB Scholarship

The American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA) and the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) are proud to announce the recipients of the 2022 ADAA/DANB Scholarship, a program intended to help dental assistants turn their professional-development plans into reality.

The ADAA/DANB Scholarship Committee selected five recipients:

  • Sabra Ekins, CDA
  • Ashley Kennedy-Mathews
  • Mia Maderafont
  • Sarah Smith
  • Sonya Solomon

Sabra Ekins, CDA, of Tooele, Utah, will use her scholarship to attain certifications such as DANB Certified Preventive Functions Dental Assistant, Certified Restorative Functions Dental Assistant, and Certified in Dental Infection Prevention and Control. To achieve these goals, she plans to use related DALE Foundation exam-preparation coursework. Ekins is the newly appointed Clinical Director of Rosewood Dental Associates’ two locations, in Stansbury Park and Tooele, Utah. Additionally, she is working toward earning ADAA Fellowship and is an advanced emergency medical technician.

“Holding multiple DANB certifications will help me stand out among my peers, as well as bring me more personal and professional pride,” Ekins shares. “My goal is to make myself the best dental assistant I can be, and I feel compelled to complete all the DANB exams and certifications that are available.

“I feel it is my duty to add to my armamentarium and give my teammates the most current knowledge and research available to further their professional learning.”

Ashley Kennedy-Mathews, of Valparaiso, Indiana, is working as a sterilization technician at Sarver Family Dental in Portage, Indiana, with her sights set on launching a dental assisting career. She’s also working toward completing dental assisting courses at Indiana University Northwest. Kennedy-Mathews plans to use her scholarship to offset the cost of earning DANB Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) certification, and she would like to become an expanded functions dental assistant.

“I go to dental assisting school during the week and work at Sarver Family Dental on the weekends. The doctors at work have been helpful and teach me anything that I want to know, and the courses I’m taking will benefit my career as a dental assistant as well,” says Kennedy-Mathews. “I have already learned so much, and I am very excited to further my knowledge in this field!”

Mia Maderafont, of Murrieta, California, plans to use her scholarship funds to earn DANB CDA certification. Maderafont has a background in figure skating, but she decided that traveling as a performer on ice wasn’t her ultimate calling — working in dental assisting is.

“I have always dreamed of being in the dental field as a dental assistant. I truly feel that as a dental assistant, I will belong to an outstanding profession,” shares Maderafont.

In addition to earning DANB certification, Maderafont plans to graduate from the Moreno Valley College Dental Assistant program with an associate degree in June 2023 and become licensed as a Registered Dental Assistant with the Dental Board of California. She also would like to learn more about orthodontic assisting.

“As I’ve completed each course in the dental assisting program, I find myself planning for the next level of advancement,” Maderafont explains.

Sarah Smith, of Caldwell, Idaho, works as a dental assistant at a community health center. She plans to put her scholarship funding toward earning DANB CDA certification.

“I intend to take and pass the three DANB exams needed to get my CDA certification,” Smith says. “As I move forward in my career, I plan to maintain CDA certification — to continue helping my patients, and other assistants learn and grow in the profession.

“My passion is oral health, and I enjoy being able to share my knowledge with everyone around me as a dental assistant tasked with training students and new hires,” Smith continues. “Having my CDA will confirm to everyone — as well as myself — that I know the ins and outs of dental assisting.”

Sonya Solomon, of Byron, Georgia, plans to apply her scholarship award toward earning DANB CDA certification, as well as pursuing a coronal-polishing certification by taking a course that is offered through the Georgia Dental Association and approved by the Georgia Board of Dentistry. Solomon, who is a dental assisting instructor and the dental assisting program chair at Central Georgia Technical College, believes these certifications will elevate her career as an educator.

“I have always wanted to obtain CDA certification, because I think this certification is something every dental assisting instructor should have,” shares Solomon.

“Holding the DANB certification myself will be a good way to encourage my students to also take and pass DANB exams. I also would love to learn more about coronal polishing — my long-term goal is to be a great leader and positive role model for my family, students, community, and dental peers.”

About the scholarship

The ADAA/DANB Scholarship is open to all ADAA members in good standing. This scholarship is awarded annually to dental assistants who demonstrate a strong commitment to career growth and lifelong learning in the dental assisting profession. Recipients receive from $250 to $1,000. For more information, visit the ADAA’s awards and scholarships webpage.