College debt can put anyone in a real funk. Fortunately, for Maddie Funk, a dental hygiene student at Ozarks Technical Community College, she will graduate debt-free thanks to an A+ scholarship, smart choices and a lot of hard work.
Funk, a Kansas City native, graduated from Staley High School in the North Kansas City School District. While there, she completed the requirements to be eligible for the A+ Scholarship Program allowing her to attend any community college in the state tuition-free.
She decided to complete the pre-requisites for a dental program at Metropolitan Community College of Kansas City.
“I have known since middle school that I wanted to go into the dental health field,” said Funk. “It was just a matter of cost and where I wanted to go to obtain my degree.”
After hearing positive reviews of OTC, she decided to move to Springfield to enroll in one of their programs. The institution’s high-quality, affordable allied health programs were a large factor.
“When I was originally looking into programs, I realized one semester at a four-year university would cost approximately as much as OTC’s whole degree. To me, it was an easy decision.”
While awaiting entry into the Dental Hygiene program, Funk enrolled in classes and graduated with an Associate of Applied Science in Dental Assisting. With one degree complete, she now plans to graduate with an Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene this May.
“I am excited to enter the workforce with the skills I’ve obtained in both degree programs. OTC has given me the knowledge and experience needed to get a job immediately after graduation,” said Funk.
Her time at OTC has also allowed her to pursue leadership positions in her career field. She is the current president of the dental hygiene program, and she was the president of the dental assisting program in 2016-17. She believes these experiences will give her an edge over the competition.
When not studying, Funk works two part-time jobs – one at J. Jill in the Battlefield Mall and one at Build-A-Bear in Kansas City.
Through Build-A-Bear, Funk earned two $1,000 scholarships – one for each of her degree programs. She plans to continue working holidays and weekends for Build-A-Bear until she graduates in May. She also received a $750 Rotary scholarship that went toward her dental assisting degree.
“I work extremely hard to be self-dependent,” said Funk. “I’m on the right path to graduate college, get my dental hygiene license and find a job without ever worrying about college debt. That’s an incredible feeling.”