2020 Liz Koch Memorial Scholarship Winners


2020 Liz Koch Memorial Scholarship Winners


Jorge Colon Jr.

Jorge Colon Jr., of Harrington, Delaware, has been working as a dental assistant for about seven years, currently with a public health clinic in Georgetown, Delaware. Colon also works in dental assisting education at Delaware Technical Community College. He plans to use his scholarship funds to take DANB’s Infection Control and General Chairside Assisting exams to earn Certified Dental Assistant™ (CDA®) certification.

“In my roles, I help bring back patients’ smiles, as well as bring new knowledge to those who wish to elevate their education in the dental field,” Colon shares. “I am seeking to become DANB certified, because it is my hope to elevate our educational program and continue to pass on my knowledge and experience.”



Dalena Ha

Dalena Ha, of Hillsboro, Oregon, works at Kaiser Permanente as a dental assistant and is currently attending Johns Hopkins University to pursue a biotechnology master’s degree with a concentration in regenerative and stem cell technologies. In the past, Ha worked as a dental assistant with dental services at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in conjunction with Oregon Health and Science University. She plans to use her scholarship funds toward dental school application and ultimately aims to advocate for the special needs and medically complex patient population.

“I strive to improve my knowledge in patient care,” Ha says. “Patients look to their providers for support to get through obstacles in their lives. Through my personal work experiences, I have learned that honing my patient-care skills — such as being compassionate and open-minded — will allow me to provide extended support for my patients, as well as ensure their safety.”



Valinda Johnston

Valinda Johnston, CDA, of Pleasant Grove, Utah, has been working as a dental assistant for more than 30 years. She also has experience as a treatment coordinator, and with coordinating and teaching continuing dental education offered by her dentist employer, as well as providing in-office consulting nationwide. Johnston now is pursuing a Health Science and Services degree at Brigham Young University-Idaho, with plans to use her scholarship funds toward this tuition cost.

“As a French author said, ‘A goal without a plan is just a wish.’ I have always wished to go back to school and earn my bachelor’s degree,” Johnston says. “Life has brought many challenges and hardships that put my goal of going back to school on hold. It is the right time now. I have the plan and an attainable goal. In the future, I hope to continue working in the dental field, teaching and consulting, and in dental research.”


Scholarship finalists

This year, the scholarship committee also selected two finalists, who will receive one DALE Foundation product of their choice.

  • Vanessa Garcia, CDA
  • Pamela Smith, CDA


See the 2021 Liz Koch Memorial Scholarship winners
See the 2019 Liz Koch Memorial Scholarship winners

See the 2018 Liz Koch Memorial Scholarship winners and finalists
See the 2017 Liz Koch Memorial Scholarship winners and finalists
See the 2016 Liz Koch Memorial Scholarship winners
See the 2015 Liz Koch Memorial Scholarship winners and finalists 
See the 2014 Liz Koch Memorial Scholarship winners and finalists

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