Pacific Dental Services Foundation Awards $70,000 to Fall 2022 Dental Assistant Scholarship Recipient

The PDS Foundation has awarded over $200,000 in scholarships to dental assistants so far this year.

IRVINE, CALIF. September 6, 2022 – The Pacific Dental Services® (PDS) Foundation is proud to announce that 17 students from eight states were awarded a total of $70,000 as the Dr. Carolyn Ghazal Dental Assistant Scholarship recipients for Fall 2022. Since the start of the year, the PDS Foundation has awarded over $202,000 to 44 dental assisting students in 12 states.

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.

“I am so honored to have my name associated with such a worthwhile endeavor that is investing in the lives, education and futures of DA students throughout the nation,” said Dr. Ghazal. “My hope is that this financial support can help remove a barrier for students, and the mentorship they receive through the program will allow them the opportunity to pursue a noble career in dental assisting.”

Fall 2022 Dr. Carolyn Ghazal Dental Assistant Scholarship Recipients:


Academic Institution

City, State

Oscar Buenrostro 

Concorde Career College

San Diego, Calif.

Starkesha Clark  

Concorde Career College

Memphis, Tenn.  

Maybeth Fagan 

Trident Technical College

Thornley, S.C. 

Emily Lynch 

Hennepin Tech 

Brooklyn Park, Minn.

Jacqueline Machuca 

Arizona College

Glendale, Ariz.

Jorge Mata 

Concorde Career College

Garden Grove, Calif. 

Ji Woo Moon 

Pasadena City College 

Pasadena, Calif. 

Patricia Osorio 

Houston Community College 

Houston, Texas  

Tiffany Parra 

UEI College

Oceanside, Calif. 

Gabrielle Ray  

Gwinnett Technology College 

Lawrenceville, Ga.

Alexa Razo 

UEI College

Morrow, Ga.

Naomi Ruiz Morales 

Florida Career College

West Palm Beach, Fla. 

Jennifer Santana Villa 

Carrington College

Phoenix, Ariz.

Krista Sharp 

Chattahoochee Technical College 

Marietta, Ga. 

Isabella Vazquez 

Carrington College

Sacramento, Calif.

Mikala Walters 

Trident Technical College

Thornley, S.C. 

Zenia Wamsley 

The College of Healthcare Professionals

Austin, Texas  

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.

The PDS Foundation is already seeing the fruits of its investments in future dental assistants.

Ralph Villacorta, an orthodontics specialty dental assistant at Pacific Dental Services-supported practice Stone Oak Modern Dentistry and Orthodontics in San Antonio, Texas, was awarded the Dr. Ghazal DA Scholarship in December 2020. While in school, he completed his externship at a PDS-supported practice and was hired in 2021. Additionally, he has participated in international service trips and traveled to the PDS Foundation Dental Clinic in Xenacoj, Guatemala to provide donated oral healthcare to patients in need.

He credits the scholarship for allowing him to achieve his career goals and encourages dental assistant students to apply.

“Always tell yourself ‘I should try this’ because you'll never know where it will lead you,” Villacorta said. “My favorite part about being a DA is the connection you create with your patients. As an orthodontics assistant, it's part of my job to make patients happy, be confident and help them achieve their perfect smile. It's really fulfilling to be part of that journey.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of DAs is projected to grow 11 percent from 2020 to 2030. However, financial hardship often prevents many 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.

“The PDS Foundation is proud to contribute to the future of the dental industry and support the career development of these 17 hard-working students,” said Rose Olague, Director of School Relations and Dental Assistant Programs at PDS and member of the PDS Foundation Advisory Board. “We know these impressive scholarship recipients will have a positive impact on the communities they serve, and we are honored to support them as they continue their education.”

The Pacific Dental Services Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization whose mission is to improve overall health by creating opportunities to serve locally, nationally, and internationally. Since the scholarship’s founding in 2016, the PDS Foundation has granted more than $1 million to DAs in pursuit of advancing their careers within the dental industry.

Click here to learn more about the PDS Foundation and make a tax-deductible gift today.

Press Resources