PNC (Mercantile) Scholarship Endowment

PNC Winner

Youngho Kim

Youngho Kim grew up in Jecheon, Republic of Korea and graduated from the Cheongju National University of Education with a Bachelor’s of Elementary Education. He taught elementary school for six years in Daejeon Metropolitan City before immigrating to the United States. While trying to find his path in this new country, Youngho Kim volunteered at a nursing home and Shock Trauma, which lead him to pursue his Master’s Degree in nursing. After graduation, he hopes to enroll in the Teaching in Nursing and Health Professions certificate course where he can combine his love of teaching with his love for nursing as a clinical instructor. Youngho Kim hopes to continue his education with a family nurse practitioner degree, which he will use to practice in Baltimore City to help improve health services for marginalized groups such as recent immigrants and the LGBT African-American community.

PNC Winner

Kathryn Pawlak

Kathryn Pawlak earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in 2013. She is currently a fourth year dental student at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry and is the President/Founder of Planet Smilez, an IRS-registered 501(c)3 pediatric dental non-profit organization. The goal of the organization is to educate children about the importance of oral health and to foster healthy lifestyles through the use of a toothbrush.  Kathryn established Planet Smilez in 2014 after organizing a mission trip to Ojo de Agua, Dominican Republic. For this program, she developed a curriculum to teach toddlers about proper oral hygiene instructions using stuffed-animal models for flossing and brushing exercises, dental arts and crafts to teach nutrition, and – the most popular activity – role-playing dentist and patient by applying their newfound knowledge. Upon moving to Baltimore, Kathryn designed the Planet Smilez Discovering Dentistry Camp for underrepresented minority middle school children from West Baltimore who would like to pursue careers in the dental field. This camp focused on preventive oral healthcare techniques, the link between oral health and systemic health disorders, oral cancer and how to conduct oral cancer screenings. The camp provided opportunities for the students to learn about the positive effects of fluoride, sealants, and the detrimental impact of a sugary diet and acidic beverages on tooth decay.  Participants also were introduced to the pre-clinical dental simulation labs, where they had the ability to perform hands-on activities with indirect vision and restorative dental procedures. Upon graduating from the University of Maryland School of Dentistry in 2019, Kathryn hopes to specialize in Pediatric Dentistry. Ultimately, she wants to continue to grow Planet Smilez, as well as be involved in dental public health initiatives that enhance the lives of children.