The DALE Foundation, the official DANB affiliate, is pleased to announce the winners of the 2017 Liz Koch Memorial Scholarship. This year’s recipients are dedicated dental professionals. Therefore, they recognize the importance of lifelong learning. Furthermore, they look forward to embracing new challenges in this ever-evolving field.

This prestigious scholarship — which helps oral healthcare professionals pursue professional development and support their mentorship activities — was open to all dental assistants, DANB certificants and other oral healthcare professionals.

After receiving 92 applications, the Liz Koch Memorial Scholarship Committee selected these four winners:


Tajuana L. Barnes, CDA

Tajuana, of Memphis, Tennessee, is a dental assistant at Christ Community Health Service in Memphis. Tajuana plans to use her scholarship to complete a restorative functions course at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Dentistry by January 2018. Then, she plans to enroll in an expanded prosthetic functions course. Additionally, Tajuana plans to earn more DANB certifications in the future.

“As a parent, I chose the dental science pathway to provide stability and security to my family. So far, it has been a very successful and rewarding decision,” she says. “Dental assisting is the profession and career that I love and take seriously. That is why I am currently seeking expansion in my knowledge of dental science. In addition, I’m seeking to expand my capabilities within the field of dentistry and my dental assisting skills.”


Elizabeth Justice, CDA

Elizabeth J., of Westover, Maryland, earned DANB Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) certification in 2013. She went to work as a full-time dental assistant with the oral surgery office of Lynn F. Ascher, D.M.D., after graduating with an associate of science degree from Wor-Wic Community College in Salisbury, Maryland. Elizabeth J. plans to use her scholarship to fund summer classes and textbooks at Salisbury University, where she is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in community health education.

“The field of dental assisting has taught me so much. Most importantly, it has taught me to push myself and to set my expectations high,” she says. “I believe the field of dental assisting reaches far beyond passing instruments, taking x-rays and prepping patients. Perhaps the most important aspect of our job is patient education.”


Elizabeth Ledford

Elizabeth L., of Cottonwood, Arizona, is a dental assisting student at Rio Salado College in Tempe, Arizona. After she graduates, she plans to use her scholarship to volunteer abroad in 2018 as a dental assistant with Global Health Outreach. Through this group, Elizabeth L. plans to mentor local healthcare workers and provide comprehensive dental care to the underserved. She also plans to apply the funds to earn DANB certification and complete additional continuing education.

“I look forward to using my new skills to mentor dental workers in third-world countries and provide oral healthcare to those in need both at home and abroad,” she says.


Rebecca Santiago, CDA

Rebecca, of Cameron, North Carolina, has been DANB certified since 2003. She is currently employed with the U.S. Army. Rebecca plans to use her scholarship toward tuition and textbooks at Sandhills Community College in Pinehurst, North Carolina, where she is pursuing a degree in business administration. Her goal is to one day manage a dental practice.

“I have spent the last 14 years of my life in a most professionally fulfilling way — as a DANB-certified chairside dental assistant,” she says. “I am proud to be a dental assistant, and I look forward to furthering my education to be a more well-rounded professional.”

These winners will receive between $250 and $1,000 and three products of their choice from the DALE Foundation.

For more information about the Liz Koch Memorial Scholarship, please visit the DALE Foundation website.