Midwestern University Dental Students Awarded Prestigious Scholarship

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August 25, 2023 | Downers Grove, IL

The scholarship recipients from Midwestern University are dental students Julia Brainard and Aldona Puchalski.

The Illinois State Dental Society Foundation (ISDS) awarded scholarships to two Midwestern University students. The scholarship committee selected a total of six students from several Illinois dental schools from 45 applicants. Representing a third of the scholarship winners are Midwestern University’s College of Dental Medicine – Illinois (CDMI) students Julia Brainard (CDMI ’24) and Aldona Puchalski (CDMI ’24).

“Being selected as the ISDS Scholarship recipient allowed me to feel a sense of gratitude and appreciation to the committee for recognizing my continued passion for dentistry and my dedication to the growth of the dental field. Receiving this scholarship allowed me to feel a sense of pride and motivation to continue to work hard in my current studies and to continue to pursue a career in a dental special residency,” Aldona said.

Julia added, “I was in the dental clinic when the email announcement came out and one of my friends came over to tell me I won. I didn’t believe him at first. I was surprised as I know a lot of my classmates are also very qualified and deserving of this scholarship as well. I quickly felt unbelievably blessed to be chosen as a recipient. Next, there came a small sigh of relief to have additional funds to continue covering the cost of my dental education here at Midwestern University. This scholarship will ensure that I am able to fully cover the costs that arise during the fourth year of dental school, such as board examinations, licensing exams, and study material in addition to relocating for future career opportunities after graduation.” 

Julia and Aldona credit their education at Midwestern University as a contributing factor to being chosen for the scholarships. Aldona said, “By attending Midwestern’s College of Dental Medicine – Illinois, I have been privileged to learn more about dentistry through the eyes, ears, and ultimately, hands, of dentists.  My mentors have shared their experiences, advice, and above all, patience, while working with the newer generation of dentists helping us learn more about the dental field and how to best excel. This scholarship is going to be used to fund my applications for dental specialty programs in hopes that I continue my dental education beyond my graduation into a specialized residency.” Julia added, “The students enrolled in Midwestern University’s dental program are truly blessed to have the best faculty who genuinely care and consider us future colleagues. Countless faculty have helped guide us in the right direction to have a successful future career that includes supplemental opportunities and education that comes from being involved in organizations that the dental profession has to offer.” 

They also said Midwestern University has prepared them well for the healthcare field. According to Aldona, “The Midwestern College of Dental Medicine Illinois not only has a strong educational course curriculum, but it also has an innovative and compassionate patient care program. This University offers students the ability to experience numerous dental specialties as well as to understand the numerous roles that go into a successful dental practice. Preventative medicine, emergency care, special needs cases, and all stages of life care are experienced by the students within this program, allowing students to become more patient and rounded health care providers.” Julia shared her perspective. “Midwestern University focuses on preparing its students to go out into the world of healthcare well-equipped to serve a diverse patient population in true “midwestern” fashion with a warm, welcoming, and skilled demeanor. While the University is outstanding at teaching technical skills, such as how to remove a cavity from a tooth, they also demonstrate how to be a kind, compassionate, well-rounded human being. Upon graduating from your specified program, you will surely be able to relate to patients on a deeper level and form lasting relationships in addition to caring for their healthcare needs. Midwestern stresses the importance of practicing comprehensive care and the numerous programs and services they offer at the University clinic is a testament to that mission.” 

Aldona and Julia also encourage other dental students to enroll at Midwestern University. Aldona said, “Choosing a dental school in which to enroll is a multi-step decision.  What separates Midwestern University from other programs is the endless support, motivation, and heart that each faculty member puts into the program.  The compassion and care that our mentors portray daily for our patients allows students to recognize what becoming a dentist truly entails.  Dentists are community leaders, innovators, and humanitarians, and by attending CDMI, this passion and work ethic are practiced and tied to every case and procedure completed.” Julia added, “I am definitely biased but Midwestern University is the best possible place to receive training for your dental education. Cutting-edge technology, the opportunity to practice advanced procedures, and outstanding faculty cheering you along the way are among the top reasons to attend, not to mention the excellent academic curriculum and beautiful campus. Midwestern University felt like home to me, and it quickly will to you as well.” 

Founded by dentists in 1865, the Illinois State Dental Society aims to ensure the professional success of its members and optimize the oral health of Illinois citizens through education, legislation, and communication. Midwestern University offers a Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D.) on both the Downers Grove and Glendale Campuses.