Sarah Engels awarded elite NHSC scholarship
Sarah Engels, a student at the University of New England in Maine, was recently awarded the coveted National Health Service Corps (NHSC) scholarship.
The scholarship will cover her tuition cost for Dental School, as well as a portion of her housing costs.
"I do not have the exact number but it is very significant," said Engels. "It will drastically reduce the amount of loans I will have to take out."
NHSC Scholarship Program provides 222 new and seven continuation awards to students across the country pursuing primary care training leading to a degree in medicine, dentistry, or a degree as a physician assistant or nurse practitioner in exchange for providing primary health care services in areas of greatest need.
The scholarship requires that the recipient to work in an underserved area for at least four years as a dentist upon completion of school. Engels is in her first year of a four-year program in which she will receive her Doctorate for Dentistry
Engels, the daughter of John and Amanda Engels of Ivanhoe, had to write several essays to show her passion for working in these underserved areas, along with submitting a few recommendations, letters, and her involvement and transcript from her college.
"There are certain areas, especially in rural areas, that are considered underserved," Engels explained. "It's usually areas where there is not a big city near by or people are spread out a lot in a country and there is not a dentist in the area.”
"This makes it really hard for people who don't have cars or do not make much money to access dental care. It also makes it hard for people to prioritize dental health when going to the dentist is such a hassle."
Engels attended Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall for two years and then South Dakota State University in Brookings for two years. She graduated from SDSU with a Biochemistry degree. By working in an undeserved area, I will be able to provide dental health to people who really need it."
Her Biochemstry degree from SDSU will be utilized in here dentistry work.
“Dentistry and biochemistry are closely related, as you learn a lot of biology that you apply to your work in the field, as well as understanding the process on a molecular level through the chemistry," she noted.
Engels was notified that she was awarded the scholarship in mid-September.
"I received an email from the National Health Service Corps, and I was super excited," she said. "One of my goals has always been to work in areas that really need help, and this gives me a direct pathway to that, as well as taking some of the burdens of the loans off."