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Cunningham Named Recipient of National Scholarship for Hygiene Students

Kayla Cunningham, first-year Master of Science in Dental Hygiene Education (MSDH) student, has been named as one of two national recipients of the ADEA/Crest Oral-B Scholarship for Dental Hygiene Students Pursuing Academic Careers.

“I am so honored to receive this prestigious award and have the opportunity to attend ADEA and learn from so many other dental educators from across the county,” said Cunningham. “I am so grateful to have the opportunity to further my career and to pursue my love for dental education.”

Cunningham earned her bachelor’s in dental hygiene from the UNC School of Dentistry in 2016. Currently, while enrolled in the master’s program, she also works as a research dental hygienist at the school’s General and Oral Health Center, called GO Health. Her current research focus examines North Carolina dental hygiene and nursing students’ knowledge and opinions of, and behaviors around electronic cigarettes and tobacco cessation counseling. Her thesis project builds on a previous research project she conducted during undergrad on the same topic, which she presented in 2016 at both the American Association of Dental Research and the school’s Dental Research in Review Day. Her thesis committee chair is Professor Rebecca Wilder, director of the master’s in dental hygiene program; other committee members are Professor Lynne Hunt and Dr. Lauren Patton, both of the Department of Dental Ecology, and Dr. Devon Noonan from Duke University’s School of Nursing.

“This is an important scholarship, and we’re all quite proud of Kayla for this great achievement,” said Scott S. De Rossi, dean and professor of the UNC School of Dentistry.

The ADEA/Crest Oral-B Scholarship for Dental Hygiene Students Pursuing Academic Careers supports dental hygiene students who want to work in academia and are actively enrolled in an education program beyond an associate’s degree. Two students are selected each year to receive $2,500 toward their tuition and fees, and $500 to subsidize travel to the ADEA Annual Session.

Cunningham will be attending the 2017 ADEA Annual Session and Exhibition in Long Beach, Calif. this March to accept her award.