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School, CEW award Dental Hygiene scholarships

Elizabeth Pitts

Chelsea Holladay

Elizabeth Pitts (left) checks treatment completed on a patient by dental hygiene student Natalie Werner.

Elizabeth Pitts (left) confers with faculty member Mary Grace Ash about the progress of dental hygiene students in the Foundation Clinic.

Chelsea Holladay (right) supervises dental hygiene student Leah Barnas during treatment of a patient.

Chelsea Holladay (left) listens to a question from dental hygiene student Noor Khan.

Ann Arbor, Mich., Nov. 16, 2016 -- Two dental hygiene students have received scholarships, one from the School of Dentistry and the other from the university’s Center for the Education of Women.

• Elizabeth Pitts, RDH, BSDH (2012), is the 2016 recipient of the Christine P. Klausner Graduate Dental Hygiene Student Scholarship Award given by the School of Dentistry.

• Chelsea Holladay, RDH, a student in the degree completion program on track to receive her bachelor’s in dental hygiene next year, has been named an AAUW: Mary Elizabeth Bittman Scholar by the CEW.

Pitts is in the second year of the two-year online master’s degree program in dental hygiene.  She is on campus one day a week this semester to complete her practicum requirements and next semester will complete her didactic requirements.  Pitts completed her undergrad degree in biology in 2007 from Howard University in Washington, D.C., then earned her bachelor of science degree in Dental Hygiene from U-M in 2012.  Upon completion of her master’s degree in August 2017, her goal is to be involved in dental hygiene education, with a focus on community and public health.

Pitts has worked in several community health settings and that type of public health work is reflected in her master’s thesis.  It focuses on follow-up care received by children ages 2-3 after initial emergency dental visits.  Citing American Dental Association recommendations about the importance of early-childhood dental care, Pitts hopes to identify patterns in the current health care system for young children that can lead to improvements in access to care.

The scholarship, which comes with a $1,000 award, is in memory of Christine Klausner, who died in 2010 at age 60 after more than 13 years as a School of Dentistry faculty member.  Klausner was primarily responsible for coordinating the entry-level dental hygiene preclinic curriculum and also taught in the school’s Dental Hygiene E-Learning (online) Degree Completion Program.

“This scholarship is important to me because Chris Klausner was my pre-clinic instructor when I was in the undergraduate dental hygiene program at U-M in 2009,” Pitts said. “That school year was her last year teaching in the program. Mrs. Klausner’s dedication to her students helped us to succeed.  Receiving this scholarship will assist me financially in achieving my goal of becoming a dental hygiene educator. I would like to work in academics, with a special focus on teaching in the area of community dentistry.”

Holladay, the recipient of the CEW scholarship, is completing her Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene after earning her Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene at Lansing Community College in 2013. On track to graduate in December 2017, Holladay plans to enter the Peace Corps.  Once that commitment is complete, she will consider applying to dental school at U-M or pursuing a master’s degree in public health.  Over the last three years she has worked as a clinician – and is chairperson of the executive board – at VINA, a nonprofit community dental center serving uninsured and low-income people in Brighton, Mich. “My long-term career goal is to establish dental homes, both locally and globally, for underserved populations,” Holladay said. “My education at U-M and my brief but powerful experiences will help me achieve this and so much more.”

The Bittner Scholarship, which comes with an $8,000 award, was presented this fall as part of the 46th annual CEW Scholarship and Fellowship Awards. CEW was founded in 1964 to address barriers that keep women from successfully pursuing degrees and careers. Its first scholarships were awarded in the fall of 1970 to mark the 100th anniversary of women being admitted to the University of Michigan. CEW advances diversity and inclusion at U-M by serving as a resource, voice, and advocate to empower women and nontraditional students. CEW provides immediate and ongoing services and financial support needed to ensure educational success and degree completion.

“This award has allowed me to focus more on my studies and less on making an income,” Holladay said. “With this award, I am able to pay for my 40-mile commute to school, health care coverage, and other expenses. It has greatly contributed to my success as a student at U-M.”

The woman for whom the scholarship is named was a graduate of U-M with a degree in political science in 1941, a time when a college education for women was less common than today. Bittman, a 70-year resident of Ann Arbor, was active in business and community activities. The scholarship is designed to help women whose studies have been interrupted to complete degrees in their chosen fields.


The University of Michigan School of Dentistry is one of the nation’s leading dental schools engaged in oral health care education, research, patient care and community service.  General dental care clinics and specialty clinics providing advanced treatment enable the school to offer dental services and programs to patients throughout Michigan.  Classroom and clinic instruction prepare future dentists, dental specialists, and dental hygienists for practice in private offices, hospitals, academia and public agencies.  Research seeks to discover and apply new knowledge that can help patients worldwide.  For more information about the School of Dentistry, visit us on the Web at:
Sharon Grayden, Communications Director, at (734) 615-2600,, or Lynn Monson, Writer, at (734) 615-1971.