Pacific Dental Services Foundation Awards $70,000 to Fall

Irvine, California, Sept. 23, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — 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 dental assistant (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:

Student 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 dental assistant 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.

About Pacific Dental Services Foundation

The Pacific Dental Services Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization whose mission is to improve overall health by improving oral health, through opportunities to serve locally, nationally, and internationally. With that in mind, the PDS Foundation provides tools and resources to help build a lasting and sustainable impact on the communities we serve as well as on the volunteers who freely give their time. The vision of the PDS Foundation is a world where everyone has a heart to serve and a home for oral health. Through its three main programs: special needs dentistry, dental assistant scholarships and international service trips, the PDS Foundation has been able to increase access to oral healthcare for communities across the globe. For more information, visit or follow us on Facebook: @pdsfoundation, Instagram: @pdsfoundation, Twitter: @pdsfoundation, YouTube: @pdsfoundation.



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