Pacific Dental Services Foundation Awards Over $70,000 to Fall 2023 Dental Assistant Scholarship Recipients


The PDS Foundation has granted over $1.4 million in scholarships since 2016.

IRVINE, CALIF. Oct 11, 2023 – The Pacific Dental Services® (PDS) Foundation proudly announces the Fall 2023 Dr. Carolyn Ghazal Dental Assistant Scholarship recipients, a remarkable group of 18 dental assisting (DA) students who collectively received over $70,000 to help cover tuition expenses.

The scholarship comes at an important time in the dental industry. According to a recent report from the American Dental Association Health Policy Institute, the dental industry is currently experiencing a significant workforce shortage, with vacant dental assisting positions contributing to a 10 percent reduction in dental practice capacity nationwide. Moreover, financial hardship often prevents many enrolled DA students from finishing school.

Recognizing the importance of DAs to the future of dentistry, the PDS Foundation created this scholarship to provide students with the financial support they need to complete their education. Named after Carolyn Ghazal, DDS, a member of the PDS Foundation Board of Directors, this educational scholarship provides DA students with need-based financial aid, mentorship, on-the-job training, and aims to mold the next generation of passionate, servant-hearted dental leaders.

“As a member of the scholarship committee, meeting with applicants seeking these critical scholarships brings me immense satisfaction,” said Dr. Ghazal. “Through our commitment to empowering the upcoming generation of dental assistant students nationwide, this financial aid and comprehensive support will facilitate a clear path for students to pursue a fruitful, lifelong career in dental assisting.”

Scholarships are awarded on a quarterly basis to DA students to help cover tuition expenses. The Scholarship Review Committee awards scholarships based on applicants' financial need, heart for service, career aspirations, and other criteria.

Since its establishment in 2016, the PDS Foundation has granted over $1.4 million in scholarships to support the educational pursuits of over 230 students in the dental field.

Michael Le, Executive Director of the PDS Foundation, said, “Facilitating the development of dental assistants is a top priority, given their future leadership in oral health. It's important to remember that being a dental assistant is a journey, rather than a destination. We are honored to be part of their journey and committed to supporting them every step of the way.”

The application deadline for the next dental assistant scholarship is Nov. 1. To learn more or apply, please visit

Fall 2023 Dr. Carolyn Ghazal Dental Assistant Scholarship Recipients:


Academic Institution

City, State

Faith Able

Milan Institute

Visalia, Calif.

Martha Baez

Concorde Career College

Kansas City, Mo.

Terrah Divens

UEI College

Riverside, Calif.

Ivy Escareno

UEI College

Gardena, Calif.

Ariana Espinoza

American Institute of Dental Assisting

Phoenix, Ariz.

Vrisa Piceno Espinoza

American Career College

Ontario, Calif.

Sophia Fair

Concorde Career College

Aurora, Colo.

Paulina Fernandez

UEI College

Tacoma, Wash.

Devyn Governale

Concorde Career College

Tampa, Fla.

Jasmin Sanchez Hernandez

Unitek College

Sacramento, Calif.

Kara Johnson

Chattanooga State Community College

Chattanooga, Tenn.

Vitaliya Mikayelyan

Carrington College

Sacramento, Calif.

Vanesa Morales

UEI College

Oceanside, Calif.

Mario Munoz

Concorde Career College

San Diego, Calif.

Victoria Orr

Concorde Career College

Grand Prairie, Texas

Rayna Panzer

Milan Institute

Sparks, Nev.

Milena Vargas

The College of Healthcare Professions

Austin, Texas

Jeanine Weise

Herzing University

Minneapolis, Minn.


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