KC Dental Assisting Graduate Laura Dunn Receives ADA and ADAA Scholarships

Laura Dunn of Xenia, a recent graduate of the Kaskaskia College Dental Assisting Program, was awarded two prestigious scholarships; one from the American Dental Association in the amount of $1,000 and one from the American Dental Assistants Association for $750.

“She is so deserving,” KC Professor and Director of the Dental Assisting Program, Lorraine Schmidt said.  “Laura goes above and beyond on any task that is assigned to her.  It is gratifying to me personally and for the program to have these deserving students recognized for their excellence.”  Another student, Melissa Hately of Highland, also received the $750 ADAA scholarship.

These scholarships are very competitive. Each accredited dental assisting school may submit only one application for the ADA scholarship, and Laura was chosen as one of ten recipients from the 278 eligible schools listed by the ADA.  The ADAA scholarship also has ten recipients, and Kaskaskia College students earned two of them, which is a testament to the quality of the program.

Laura was initially unsure of herself as a student in the Dental Assisting program, and credits KC and Lori Schmidt for helping her realize that she has the potential to do a great amount of good in the world.  “I told Lori I wanted to become a dentist,” Laura said, “and she was so encouraging and helped me so much.”

Laura now has big plans for the future.  She has enrolled in the Pre-Dentistry program at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville for the Fall semester, with the aim of becoming first a dentist and eventually an oral surgeon.  “I would like to specialize in facial trauma,” Laura said, “and volunteer some of my services to Smile Train each year.”

Smile Train is an international charity devoted to repairing the cleft palates of children in underdeveloped areas around the world.  Students are introduced to Smile Train early in the program at KC, and Lori Schmidt and her students hold a number of fundraisers throughout the school year to collect money for the charity.  “Our students have raised enough money each of the past three years to repair the cleft palates of two children per year,” Schmidt said.  “It makes me very proud to see these students take on a cause like this and work to make the world a better place.  It fits with what we work to instill in our students, the Core Values.”  KC’s Core Values are Honesty, Respect, Fairness, Compassion and Responsibility.

For more information on the Kaskaskia College Dental Assisting program, please contact Lori Schmidt at 618-545-3320 or by email at​

© 2017 Kaskaskia College - 27210 College Road - Centralia, Illinois 62801 - (618)545-3000 (800)642-0859