Good deeds rewarded

December 4th, 2013

02students-tda-scholarshipL to R: Dr. Larry Spradley, Texas Dental Association Smiles Foundation board member; Steven Marino and Chris Nguyen, D1s; and Dr. Jack Long, associate dean for student affairs.

Two dental students’ acts of selfless service lead to a welcome surprise with scholarship news.

When D1s Steven Marino and Chris Nguyen volunteered time during college to community service, they weren’t looking for recognition. This year, their good deeds came back around to them, as they received the Texas Dental Association Smiles Foundation Scholarship.

Unbeknownst to Marino and Nguyen, the two D1 recipients of the annual $1,000 scholarships are hand-selected based on information in their dental school admissions packet. Academic achievements stood out, as did community service — some of the qualities used to determine recipients.

During Nguyen’s days as a predental student at the University of Texas at Dallas, he used the knowledge from his business-minor coursework to teach biweekly financial literacy courses to residents at Collin County Juvenile Detention Center and Youth Village in Dallas. He and other students imparted skills such as budgeting, saving and investing as part of the mission of Students in Free Enterprise — now Enactus — an organization in which he was involved.

Other community projects led Nguyen to the Second Saturday Shoreline Spruce-Up at White Rock Lake or volunteering as a math tutor for Harrington Library.

And for his part, Marino — then an upperclassman at the University of Texas at Austin — made time each week to mentor two students at Wooldridge and Pease elementary schools.

Last spring as a driver for Faith in Action, Marino helped elderly individuals without transportation by driving them from their homes to the grocery store and doctor appointments.

“I loved this experience because the round trip allowed for plenty of time to talk in the car and hear interesting stories about that individual’s life,” says Marino. “It was great because doing something as simple as giving a ride can mean so much to a person.”

—Jenny Fuentes

— Jennifer Fuentes