Tayla Cunningham, DDS Candidate 2016, has been named one of the 2015 Dental Trade Alliance (DTA) Foundation scholarship winners. She is one of nine dental students nationally to win the scholarship this year.
The scholarship is presented annually by the DTA Foundation to recognize dental students who demonstrate a commitment to community service. The award is only open to third- and fourth-year DDS students. As a recipient, Cunningham received $5,000 toward her dental education.
“I feel so honored and blessed to have been chosen as a recipient of this scholarship award! Service has played an enormous role in my experience as a dental student here at UNC,” said Cunningham. “I find that the dental field is such a giving field in and of itself, and I look forward to continuing to commit myself to service through my passion for dentistry.”
Cunningham is incredibly involved in service through the Student National Dental Association (SNDA) chapter at UNC, including her role as the SNDA CAARE clinic coordinator, serving on the SNDA community service committee, and being active in the SNDA’s biannual program Lessons in a Lunchbox, where SNDA members go to local elementary schools to teach children about oral health. She’s also a regular participant in the school’s annual Give Kids a Smile Day activities, Free Dental Day at First Calvary Baptist Church and the North Carolina Missions of Mercy clinics, among others. Cunningham has also provided service to the underserved globally as a member of the 2014 UNC Malawi Project, on which she traveled to Malawi with a small group of classmates to care for those in hospitals, remote villages and schools.
The DTA Foundation Scholarship was established in 2012 by a donation from the Robert J. Sullivan Family Foundation. In its initial year, the scholarship went to two students. Since that time, thanks to the continued generosity of the Robert J. Sullivan Family Foundation and that of the Dr. Edward B. Shils Entrepreneurial Fund and Crown Seating, DTA Foundation has increased student awards to nine.