We are excited to announce the Fall/Winter Semester winner of our $500 academic scholarship, Kylee Case, a student at Northern Arizona University. Learn more about her proudest achievements and academic and career goals.
Kylee Case: I am currently a sophomore at Northern Arizona University. I grew up in Gilbert, Arizona where I was blessed to receive a well-rounded education. By my senior year of high school, I was in the top choirs at my school, ran track and cross country, maintained a 3.9 cumulative grade point average, and held a job in fast food.
Throughout my time at NAU, I have maintained a 4.0 grade point average while taking classes in microbiology, anatomy and physiology, chemistry, psychology, and more.
I also volunteer at the on-campus food bank to meet new people and make new friends. My short-term academic goal is to be accepted into NAU’s dental hygiene program which I will be applying to in January 2024. My long-term career goal is to become a dental hygienist and help patients build more confidence in their smiles as well as their oral health.
From my experience as a student and a dental assistant, I have learned that the condition of people’s teeth and smiles is a lot more impactful than we realize. A person’s smile can greatly affect first impressions and assumptions that our brains make unconsciously or consciously, such as job interviews or first dates. I also recently viewed a TedTalk called “The Hidden Power of Smiling”, and it was presented by Ron Gutman. In the TedTalk, Gutman emphasized the importance of smiling.
His research demonstrated that people who smiled more were happier overall and had an increased longevity of life. Gutman also pointed out the fact that smiling is a universal similarity across all human beings which expresses joy and happiness.
Despite the hundreds of countries, cultures, races, languages, beliefs, and ethnicities in this world, we are biologically programmed to smile. Since humans are such social creatures, smiling and our teeth are extraordinarily integral to our livelihoods. As a hygienist, I hope I can help educate others on how to take care of teeth, as well as be more confident in their smiles.
My most meaningful achievement was when I made the 2021/2022 Arizona All-State Jazz Choir during my senior year of high school. Essentially, it was a combination of the top five high school students of sopranos, altos, tenors, and basses across the state.
This was meaningful to me because of the amount of time and effort I put into improving my abilities throughout high school. At the beginning of my freshman year, I had no idea how to read music nor how to sing–I was just trying to fulfill my fine art requirements. Learning how to read music is like learning a new language, so I had to work hard every single day to improve my site reading and singing skills.
Eventually, I fell in love with choir and the bond that it creates with other people, and I was fortunate enough to make All-State. Another achievement that is meaningful to me is participating in cross country for all four years of high school.
The mental and physical strain that running has on the body is fairly draining. I would wake up at four-thirty in the morning, go to practice, and run five to seven miles every day before school. The races themselves could be very taxing depending on heat, my competitors, or pre-race anxiety.
There were many times that I wanted to quit, whether it was from sleep deprivation or body aches from running; but, I participated for all four years of high school and finished every race I ran. I still run to this day, just not nearly as many miles. These achievements relate to my future and career goals because they taught me that I needed to work hard and apply myself to achieve my goals.
I learned that I cannot just sit around and hope that I will miraculously be amazing at everything in life. If there is an activity or a talent that I want to learn or improve on, I need to put the effort in, even when I get frustrated or feel like quitting.
While I no longer participate in choir, I have applied the same level of devotion and effort to my academics. I know that I will have the same enthusiasm and devotion towards helping people and educating others on how to take care of their oral health.
Interested in applying to our scholarship? Learn more about our requirements and apply today.