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UPPO Scholarship winners have big goals

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 26, 2017

For the first time, the UPPO Scholarship Program expanded this year, awarding financial assistance to two students. Announced at the Annual Conference in March, this year’s scholarship recipients are Taylor Steffans, daughter of UPPO member Heather Steffans, and Andrew Noel, son of UPPO member Charolette Noel. Each of them receives a $1,000 renewable scholarship.


Taylor Steffans

Taylor is a senior at the University of Iowa, graduating next month. She is enrolled to continue her studies at the university’s college of dentistry beginning in the fall. Until his retirement from dentistry eight years ago, Taylor’s grandfather was her dentist. As a result of this family connection, Taylor never developed the sense of dread that often accompanies dentist visits.


“I never grew up with that fear of seeing the dentist because I was going to see grandpa,” she says. “I got to see different aspects of dentistry and loved it. I also love the sciences and helping people. Getting to boost people’s confidence by giving them a good smile really attracted me to the field.”


As part of her preparation for dentistry school, Taylor job-shadowed several different types of dentists, including a general dentist, an orthodontist, an oral surgeon and a pediatric dentist. This experience helps ensure students are truly cut out for the profession and helps them identify their long-term goals. Taylor was especially intrigued by oral surgery and may pursue additional schooling for that specialization after her four years of training qualifying her as a general dentist.


As you can imagine, such schooling isn’t inexpensive. Taylor has been working while in school, waitressing and working at the college of dentistry.


“As I go through dental school, it’s a huge investment, which carries a very large tuition burden,” she says. “This scholarship helps reduce that burden, allowing me to have less stress about finances and focus on my studies rather than having to potentially working more on the weekends. I want to put all of my effort into becoming the best dentist I can be.”


In addition to her schooling and work commitments, Taylor is involved in several other activities, including participation in the Pre-Dental Club, leadership positions in the Tri Delta sorority, volunteering for the Students Today, Alumni Tomorrow campus event planning group and intermural sand volleyball.


Andrew Noel

Andrew is a high school senior, preparing to begin college in the fall at Purdue University. He is planning to major in aerospace engineering with a goal of working for a company involved in going to Mars.


“I’ve really enjoyed studying space and flight, and I enjoy making new things that people haven’t seen before,” he says. “One of the best ways to do that is to see what’s out there in space. I’d like to work with a company to help them get to Mars. There are a lot of challenges in that direction that I’d really like to see accomplished. If I could help do that, it would be awesome.”


Andrew’s interest in space travel led him to start a rocketry club at his high school last year. The 10-member club participated this year in the Team America Rocketry Challenge. They created a model rocket designed to blast 800 feet in the air, carrying an egg as its cargo, taking off and landing within a small window of 41-43 seconds.


In addition to his scientific aspirations, Andrew has a longtime love of music, which he has nurtured by playing viola since the fifth grade. He plans to continue playing in college as well.


Andrew appreciates the financial relief provided by the scholarship and encourages other students to apply.


“Paying for college is a challenge for a lot of students,” he says. “This scholarship will definitely help me with that, and can help others who apply and win in the future. Every opportunity helps, so take advantage of anything that can help achieve your goals.”


Special thanks to this year’s corporate sponsors Barganier and Associates and Mike Ryan. UPPO members interested in supporting the scholarship are encouraged to contribute or sponsor the program. The 2018 UPPO Scholarship Program application period will occur in the fall.



Tags:  UPPO Scholarship Program 

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