Winners selected for the 2017 ADAA/DANB Scholarship

Collage of eight scholarship winners

The American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA) and the Dental Assisting National Board, Inc. (DANB) have selected the winners of the 2017 ADAA/DANB Scholarship, a program intended to help dental assistants turn their professional development plans into reality.

This year, out of 28 applicants, the ADAA/DANB Scholarship Committee selected eight winners:

Carmen Jongsma, CDA, of Caledonia, Michigan, plans to apply her scholarship toward tuition at Washtenaw Community College’s dental assisting program. She also plans to take DANB exams, earn state credentials and pursue continuing education. “I believe learning is never complete,” she says.

Gretchen Bogner, CDA, of Normal, Illinois, plans to use her scholarship to complete continuing education courses and attend seminars and dental meetings, in pursuit of ADAA Fellowship. “I absolutely love what I do,” she says. “The entire field of dentistry is exciting, continuously changing and improving with technology. There are always new topics to learn about or techniques to try.”

Kaley Johnson, CDA, of West Columbia, West Virginia, plans to apply her scholarship toward tuition at the Ohio State University College of Dentistry’s expanded functions program. “When I set my mind to something, I go for it,” she says. “This scholarship will help me in my pursuit of education to better serve the people of Meigs County, Ohio. I appreciate the opportunity.”

Kira Lynn Wiedewitsch, of Melrose, Minnesota, plans to use her scholarship toward DANB exams and tuition at St. Cloud Technical and Community College’s dental assisting program. She also hopes to pursue additional educational opportunities and one day become an educator. “As I continue to take steps in my career, I look forward to future opportunities to assist and educate,” she says. “I couldn’t be happier.”

Pamela Cuneo, CDA, of North Hero, Vermont, plans to use her scholarship to pursue continuing education, such as completing two hands-on courses for dental auxiliaries. “I value continuing education,” she says. “I choose the courses most relevant to the skills I am using in my job.”

Philomena Tabu, of Downington, Pennsylvania, plans to apply her scholarship toward earning DANB certification. “Being a CDA certificant will bring numerous opportunities for me in my career,” she says. “I will have more knowledge as an assistant, and this will make me more competent.”

Romela Keshishian, CDA, of Glendale, California, plans to apply her scholarship toward DANB exams and certification. “Earning DANB certifications will demonstrate my knowledge and competency,” she says. “It will allow me to perform additional duties in the dental practice, and I will grow in skill and value.”

Saamiya Pirbhai, of Lake Mary, Florida, plans to apply her scholarship toward earning DANB certification. She also aspires to one day becoming a dental assisting educator. “I understand that taking every opportunity I can to gain knowledge and better myself in every way is a top priority for achieving my goals,” she says. “DANB certification is the first of many steps I strive to complete.”

Additionally, the committee selected one finalist: Shaunte Batten, of Hampton, Virginia. Ms. Batten will receive one free DALE Foundation product of her choice.

The ADAA/DANB Scholarship is open to all ADAA members in good standing. It is awarded annually to dental assistants who demonstrate a strong commitment to career growth and lifelong learning in the dental assisting profession.

To learn about other scholarship opportunities for dental assistants, visit or