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Delta Dental of Illinois Awards Dental Student Grants

Posted on May 18, 2015 in Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation


Delta Dental of Illinois announced the recipients of its 2015 student grants program. Each year, Delta Dental of Illinois awards four $2,500 grants to graduating dental students at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Dentistry and the Southern Illinois University (SIU) School of Dental Medicine.  The 2015 student grant recipients are Jaime Chowaniec and Christopher Greenwaldt from UIC and Sarah Tien and Ashley McNealy from SIU.

“Delta Dental of Illinois is committed to improving oral health and access to oral health care in the state,” said Bernie Glossy, Delta Dental of Illinois president and CEO. “We have a long-standing partnership with the dental schools in the state, and through our student grants program, we provide educational and financial support to dental students who share our commitment to improve oral health in Illinois. We are pleased to support these two deserving students.”

To be eligible, grant recipients must pass their National Boards, be in the top 25 percent of their class academically, plan to practice in Illinois, demonstrate an interest and/or participate in community outreach initiatives, or have declared interest in the advanced pediatric dentistry specialty.

Delta Dental of Illinois Board member Craig Grannon, Christopher Greenwaldt, Jaime Chowaniec and UIC College of Dentistry Dean Dr. Clark Stanford

Delta Dental of Illinois Board member Craig Grannon, Christopher Greenwaldt, Jaime Chowaniec and UIC College of Dentistry Dean Dr. Clark Stanford

Jaime Chowaniec, from Palos Park, Ill., plans to pursue a career in pediatric dentistry and work in private practice and as a faculty member at a dental school or hospital. As a fourth year dental student, Chowaniec was one of two students accepted to an honors track in pediatric dentistry. Through her coursework, she has had the opportunity to treat patients with complex oral health needs, as well as several medically compromised patients. While in dental school, she has volunteered and led oral health programs at several organizations, including Chicago Public Schools, Give Kids a Smile Day, Oral Health America, Relay for Life, Make a Difference Day and Communities in Schools. “Service is at the core of the field of dentistry, and community outreach has been one of the most rewarding aspects of entering the profession to me thus far,” said Chowaniec.

Upon graduation, Christopher Greenwaldt, a native of Roscoe, Ill., will begin a one year General Practitioner Residency program at Advocate Illinois Masonic. This program places a large emphasis on treating medically compromised patients and patients with special needs. After his residency, he plans to practice dentistry in a rural area of the state to expand access to dental care for underserved Illinoisans. Greenwaldt is a member of the pediatrics and endodontics honors programs and currently serves as the legislative liaison for the UIC chapter of the American Student Dental Association. “I want to be a role model to both future aspiring dentists and to anyone that may feel they need motivation to overcome obstacles. As a child, I battled Guillain-Barre Syndrome. As a resident at Illinois Masonic, and having gone through a childhood ailment, I feel I could relate and empathize with patients undergoing similar hardships,” said Greenwaldt.

Sarah Tien

Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation Board Member Cindy Smalley and Sarah Tien

Sarah Tien, a resident of Darien, Ill., plans to provide dental care to underserved populations and communities upon graduation. Throughout dental school, she volunteered her services in Illinois, as well as abroad. Last June, she joined her professor on a mission trip to Jamaica to provide routine care and emergency procedures to both children and adults. She also volunteered at the 2014 Mission of Mercy free dental clinic in Peoria, Ill. “Those volunteering experiences inspired me to improve myself as a clinician during the remaining time at school and solidified my decision to serve an underserved community or population after graduation,” said Tien.

Ashley McNealy

Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation Board Member Cindy Smalley and Ashley McNealy

Ashley McNealy, from Alton, Ill., plans to practice near Elgin, Ill., upon graduation. While in dental school, McNealy developed a passion for treating young children and educating parents about proper oral health care. As a dental student, she worked in a clinic in an area with a large Hispanic population and was able to treat more patients using her Spanish language skills. She hopes to continue to treat and reach out to the Hispanic community after she graduates. “My commitment to dentistry comes from the fulfillment I feel when I treat a patient and know I have made a difference,” said McNealy.

Delta Dental of Illinois is committed to improving access to oral health care in Illinois. Ensuring there are quality dentists to offer patient care services in the state is an important part of this commitment, and Delta Dental of Illinois has long supported graduating dental students at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry and the Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine.