Ann Arbor, MI — November 6, 2013 — A dental hygienist who is among the first to participate in the University of Michigan School of Dentistry’s online graduate dental hygiene program has been awarded a scholarship named for a late faculty member.
In addition to her graduate dental hygiene studies, Diana Kott provides oral health care to active duty Coast Guard service men and women at the Selfridge Air National Guard Base near Mt. Clemens, Michigan. She recently received the Christine Klausner Graduate Dental Hygiene Student Scholarship Award. Klausner was a School of Dentistry faculty member for more than 13 years who passed away three years ago at age 60. She was primarily responsible for coordinating the entry-level dental hygiene preclinic curriculum and also taught in the School’s E-Learning (online) Degree Completion Program.
Online Graduate Program Advantages
After earning her Bachelor of Science degree in dental hygiene from the University of Detroit Mercy in 1998, Kott wanted to pursue her graduate studies, hoping one day to teach dental hygiene.
Employed full time, Kott hoped to earn a master’s degree in dental hygiene without having to quit her job. Initially, she learned the School of Dentistry did not offer an online graduate degree program when she inquired in 2011. A few months later, however, she was elated to receive a phone call informing her that an online program leading to a Master of Science degree in dental hygiene would be offered beginning in the fall of 2012. Kott applied and was accepted.
“The online program has been a perfect fit for me,” Kott said. “I did not have to quit a job I love, I can study from home to pursue my goal of earning a master’s degree and, hopefully, one day teach dental hygiene.” Kott and her other online master’s degree dental hygiene colleagues are on track to graduate next August.
Kott has also been involved with research for her thesis at the Michigan Center for Oral Health Research where she is exploring the effects of toothpaste on microbial pathogens in plaque biofilm. During that time, she has identified another role for dental hygienists that she would like to explore after graduation — the role of the dental hygienist in clinical research.
Praising Kinney for encouraging her to apply for the Klausner Scholarship, Kott said, “Janet has been a wonderful mentor. I have learned so much from her about clinical research, and she has been extremely helpful as I work on my thesis.”
Although she did not know Klausner, Kott said she could sense the high regard and respect in which Klausner was held among those who knew her and taught with her. “I wish I would have known her and could have had an opportunity to talk to her because she touched the lives of so many dental hygiene students,” Kott said. “It’s an honor to receive this award in her name.” The $1,000 scholarship will be used to help defray some of Kott’s educational expenses.