Ann Arbor, MI — October 29, 2015 — Two women from the U-M School of Dentistry with strong academic records, impressive achievements and major plans for the future recently received scholarships from the Center for the Education of Women (CEW).
Both Lorene Kline and Darya Dabiri, who are pursuing higher education while working, received a Margaret Dow Towsley Scholarship during CEW’s Annual Scholarship and Fellowship Program which honors women whose academic careers were temporarily postponed for personal or professional reasons.
Lorene Kline, RDH, BSDH
“I consider myself a life-long learner and realize that you are never too old to learn and grow as a person,” she said.
A dental hygienist for nearly 20 years, Kline worked in private practice after receiving her certificate in dental hygiene from the University of Detroit Mercy in 1995 and a Bachelor of Science degree from UDM the following year. Repetitive hand motion injuries following years of performing periodontal therapy on patients and personal challenges led her to consider pursuing higher education when she was 50.
Kline applied and was accepted in the University of Michigan’s Master of Science degree in Dental Hygiene E-Learning (online) Program last fall. She hopes to complete her education next year. Currently, she is an adjunct lecturer in dental hygiene at the School of Dentistry. “I am a dental hygienist, and I will always be one,” she says. “But with a master’s degree, I will be able to teach and guide others who wish to pursue this same career path.”
For her thesis, Kline is partnering with Care Free Dental Clinic, a non-profit community clinic in Lansing, Michigan, to assess the outcomes of their Pay It Forward initiative, which provides opportunities for those without dental insurance to receive care by performing a set number of hours of community service. That work will build on her earlier experiences of traveling to elementary and middle schools in Michigan to provide dental hygiene clinical services and educate children about the importance of oral health care.
Darya Dabiri, DMD, MS
An adjunct clinical lecturer in hospital dentistry and pediatric dentistry at U-M, Dabiri is also a resident in the School of Dentistry’s graduate endodontics program and expects to earn her master’s degree in 2017. Her academic career was interrupted for personal and medical reasons.
Dabiri earned her DMD from the University of British Columbia in 2008, a certificate in hospital dentistry from the University of Michigan a year later, and a Master of Science in pediatric dentistry from the University of Toledo Medical Center in 2012.
In 2008, Dabiri joined Dr. Yvonne Kapila’s laboratory as a post-doctoral fellow. Kapila is a professor of dentistry in the Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine. Four years later, Dabiri joined the U-M hospital dentistry and pediatric programs as a part-time faculty member.
Dabiri has worked with Kapila on several research projects whose findings have been published and presented at prominent scientific conferences, including the American Association for Dental Research. In one of those research projects, Dabiri was a member of a multidisciplinary team of investigators who studied wound healing caused by periodontal disease pathogens. “It was here that Darya became exposed to translational research that combined basic science knowledge with clinical practice,” Kapila wrote in a letter nominating Dabiri for the scholarship.
Noting that she has been Dabiri’s research and career mentor for nearly eight years, Kapila said “Darya is a highly motivated, energetic and accomplished clinician-scientist whose career is on an upward trajectory.” Kapila added that because of Dabiri’s research and clinical experiences, “she is well qualified to pursue this new area of training” in endodontics.
The Margaret Dow Towsley Scholarship honors the life and work of Towsley who was active in educational and civic matters in Ann Arbor. She was the first woman elected to the Ann Arbor City Council (1953-1957), started the Children’s Play School in her home and helped establish the Perry Nursery School and the Women’s City Club.