First-year student receives four-year scholarship to ECU dental school

Greenville, NC (October 31, 2018)—Jonelle Romero, a first-year student at the ECU School of Dental Medicine, has received a four-year scholarship to the ECU School of Dental Medicine from the National Health Service Corps (NHSC).

As part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the NHSC provides financial, professional and educational resources to primary care medical, dental, and behavioral health care professionals, who bring their skills to areas of the United States with limited access to health care.

Jonelle Romero, a first year dental student, has received a four-year scholarship to dental school from the National Health Service Corps (NHSC).

Jonelle Romero, a first year dental student, has received a four-year scholarship to dental school from the National Health Service Corps (NHSC).

The scholarship covers tuition, fees, and other relevant educational expenses and a monthly stipend for living expenses. The program finances the education of selected students, who will reciprocate by serving in health professional shortage areas upon graduation and licensure. For every year a student is awarded the scholarship, they commit to a year of service—with a two-year service minimum.

A native of New York, Ms. Romero grew up in Greenville. She graduated from East Carolina University in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in public health studies. As an undergraduate, she co-founded Pirate After School Scholars tutoring program, and she volunteered for Making Pitt Fit Community Garden. She is a first-generation college graduate in her family.

Since entering dental school in August, Ms. Romero has been active in the Student Research Group, the Student National Dental Association, Public Health Club, and the American Student Dental Association. “Diligence, hard work, and being scholarly pays off when the reward is receiving a scholarship to fulfill your dream,” she said.

“We are extremely pleased for Jonelle and for the dental school that she was selected to receive the NHSC four-year scholarship,” said Dr. Margaret Wilson, the school’s vice dean and associate dean for Student Affairs. “Her commitment to our school’s mission is evident already. We look forward to watching her grow as a dental care provider.”

Ms. Romero’s long-term goal is to practice general dentistry in rural areas of North Carolina. “Eventually, I envision myself joining or creating outreach initiatives to strengthen communities in our state. I also hope to continue mentoring pre-dental students and volunteering at free dental clinics,” she added.

During her fourth year of dental school, Ms. Romero and her classmates will complete three 9-week rotations at the school’s Community Service Learning Centers located in eight rural communities across North Carolina—a unique opportunity to deliver care and learn about population health challenges in different parts of the state.