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Dental Scholars Overview

The STAHR Scholars Program provides students with the opportunities, resources, and knowledge to become competitive applicants to health professional programs. Students in the Scholars Program will undergo personal and professional development as they pursue and apply to health programs.

Participation in the Scholars Program is free. Students who meet program expectations will receive financial support as stipends and/or scholarships. Support also comes from a partnership with GEHA Solutions through the “GEHA Solutions Diversity in Dentistry Pre-Dental Fellowships”.

Collegiate-level students can participate as a DAT Prep Scholar so long as admission to a health professional program has not yet been achieved. From May through the following April, DAT Prep Scholars will increase their confidence and preparedness for pursing their educational goals.

To provide sustained support to students, the Scholars Program is composed of a summer experience and an academic year experience.

Summer Details ∇

Students in the Dental Scholars track begin with a summer experience, which starts in late May. During the summer, students participate in a 9-week program from Monday through Friday for 30+ hours each week. Students immerse themselves in test preparation with supplemental programming focused on the application process to dental school.

Throughout the summer experiences, Dental Scholars participate in the following opportunities:

  • Progress through a prescribed test preparation program for the DAT
  • Receive academic enrichment to supplement the DAT preparation
  • Take the mid-July official DAT exam
  • Connect with admissions staff, faculty, current students, and other professionals
  • Develop and improve portfolio materials and skills, like personal statements and interviewing

Dental Scholars Sample Summer Week:

The final week of the program is held in-person at the UMKC Health Sciences Campus. During this week, Dental Scholars will have opportunities to engage in clinical observations, dental simulations, research activities, and other hands-on experiences.

Note: Some of the clinical spaces may require proof of vaccination in order to shadow practitioners and be in the presence of patients. Should you be selected to participate as a Dental Scholar, you will be asked to submit copies of your immunization records in order to set-up the clinical shadowing experiences. Commonly required vaccinations include COVID-19, Hepatitis B, MMR (Measles/Mumps/Rubella), Varicella (Chicken Pox), Tdap (Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis), and a Tuberculosis screening within 12 months of entering the facility.

Academic Year Details ∇

After the summer is over, students continue their development throughout the academic year. From August through April, students will have the opportunity to:

  • Receive continued coaching and mentorship from current health professional students, faculty, and UMKC staff
  • Participate in opportunities for community service and/or healthcare-related experiences
  • Continue developing application materials and skills to increase your competitiveness
  • Connect with a broad array of individuals and resources to help support your path to your healthcare career


Participant Expectations

Students in the Scholars Program must:

  • Attend all Scholars Program sessions and activities as an attentive and engaged learner
  • Complete all tasks, assignments, projects, and surveys appropriately and on-time, designed to evaluate student development and the effectiveness of the program
  • Accept the challenges in developing personally, professionally, and academically
  • Promptly communicate any pertinent or relevant needs or concerns
  • Accept responsibility for reading and responding to correspondences related to the program
  • Maintain good academic standing
  • Foster a community of respect, trust, and support


Program Benefits

In addition to the knowledge gained from participating, students who meet program expectations receive many benefits, including:

  • Financial support as a stipend or scholarship
  • Special consideration for applicants to the UMKC School of Dentistry’s DDS program
    • Note: students must meet the minimum requirement for admission to the programs to receive this benefit.
  • Workshops with UMKC’s admissions professionals
  • Networking with UMKC faculty, researchers, and practicing health professionals
  • Mentorship and guidance for your unique educational path and goals



All students in the Dental Scholars track must meet the following criteria:

  • Personal interest in pursuing a health profession*
  • Currently a college student or academically higher, but not yet admitted to a health professional education program
  • 3.0 minimum cumulative GPA
  • Must have completed the following college courses prior to the summer program start:
    • Biology I
    • Chemistry I and II
    • Organic Chemistry I and II
    • Physics or Math
    • English I and II
    • Note: because of the time requirement and intensity of the DAT Prep, we strongly do not recommend any enrollment in summer courses
  • Availability to participate Monday through Friday, 8:30am – 4:00pm CST for the duration of the summer experience. (The program will be conducted both virtually and in-person.)
    • The 2024 Scholars Program summer dates are: Monday, May 20, 2024 – Friday, July 19, 2024
  • Availability and transportation to participate in in-person activities at the UMKC Health Sciences Campus on the last week of the program
    • The 2024 in-person week will be Monday, July 15, 2024 – Friday, July 19. 2024, with move-in to campus housing on Sunday, July 14, 2024
    • Dental Scholars from outside the Kansas City area may be eligible for reimbursement of travel costs to and from campus
    • All Dental Scholars will be required to stay in the provided campus housing, even if you are already located in Kansas City
  • Commitment to take the DAT in July (at student’s own expense; cost may be offset by the scholarship or stipend received for successful participation in the program)
  • Availability to invest in development activities each semester during the academic year (August – April)
  • **Economically disadvantaged OR ***educationally disadvantaged
  • United States Citizen OR Permanent Resident
  • Preference given to students from the Kansas City area and students interested in providing care to medically underserved communities

*Due to federal grant specifications, students interested in pursuing nursing careers are not eligible for this program because nursing is not designated in Section 739 of the Public Health Service Act, which funds this program.

**Per HRSA, “Economically Disadvantaged” is determined by having an annual family income that does not exceed 200% of the U.S. Federal Poverty Guidelines.

***Per HRSA, “Educationally Disadvantaged” is determined by an environment that has inhibited students from obtaining the knowledge, skills, and/or abilities required to enroll in & graduate from a health professions school.

Questions About Eligibility

STAHR looks at several different criteria to determine eligibility. We encourage all interested students to submit an application to have their eligibility reviewed.


Application Process

Students applying for the Scholars Program are applying for the entire yearlong rogram. Students must participate in both the summer and academic year experiences, and may not apply to a single experience.

The application cycle for the 2024 STAHR Scholars Program is currently closed.

Notify me about the 2025 STAHR Scholars Program application cycle.


To be considered for the program, the following must be completed prior to the deadline:

  • A completed STAHR Scholars Online Application
    • Your progress on the application can be saved and returned to later using the Save & Return feature, which provides you with a return code.
    • The application is not considered “completed” until the final Submit button has been clicked. After successfully submitting, a confirmation email will be sent to the email address provided in the application.
    • To see an overview of what is included in the application, review the first page of the Online Application.
  • A copy of your most up-to-date academic transcript(s)
    • You may attach your academic document(s) through the upload spaces in the Online Application or by uploading directly to the STAHR Application File Upload.
    • Official documents preferred, but unofficial will also be accepted.
    • If classes have been taken at multiple institutions, please submit documentation from each school.
    • Students currently or formerly enrolled in college must submit documentation for all college credits attempted and taken.
    • Your documentation must contain the following:
      • Student’s name
      • Name of school
      • All classes taken and grades received
      • Classes currently enrolled in (if applicable)
      • Cumulative unweighted GPA (out of 4.00)
  • One professional recommendation submitted through the STAHR Scholars Online Reference Form
    • Recommendations can come from a counselor/advisor, teacher/instructor, or other professional who is able to speak on your personal and professional attributes.
    • Recommenders must complete the online form. Letters of recommendation will not be considered.
    • Recommenders can complete the Online Reference Form before or after you submit the Online Application.
    • *Students who have previously participated in the STAHR Scholars Program do not need to have a recommender complete the form.*
  • If not a United States Citizen – A copy of your Permanent Residence Card (Green Card)
    • You may attach a copy of your card through the upload spaces in the Online Application or by uploading directly to the STAHR Application File Upload.
    • *U.S. Citizens do not need to upload any form of government ID.*


ALL application materials must be submitted by February 15, 2024 at 11:59pm CST. Email confirmations will be sent to applicants when materials have been received.



Students who meet the eligibility requirements and complete all application materials will undergo a committee review for selection. This committee will review all information about the applicant and determine suitability for the program. During the review and selection process, applicants may be contacted for a brief interview for the committee to learn more about the student.

In general, successful applicants:

  • Understand and commit to fulfilling all expectations and program requirements
  • Indicate a personal interest in exploring more about what it means to be a health professional
  • Demonstrate academic persistence and a commitment to learning

To maximize the resources for each student, STAHR will be accepting a limited number of Scholars:

  • 15 Dental Scholars

Students will be notified of their acceptance by March 15, 2024.