Nicole Wong

A La Trobe University dentistry student is all smiles after winning scholarship program in dentistry for rural Victoria.

Sponsored by the Victorian Medical Insurance Agency, the $68,000 scholarship financially supports a student who wishes to practice dentistry in rural Victoria and is highly involved with their local community.

Nicole Reii Wong – who is enrolled in the Bachelor of Health Sciences in Dentistry/Master of Dentistry degree at La Trobe’s Bendigo campus – was awarded the full scholarship.

Ms Wong said she felt incredibly honoured to be named the 2018 recipient.

“I’d just like to say a huge thank you for this scholarship,” Ms Wong said.

“It means more than anything to me and my family. It’s always been my dream to study and work in dentistry as an oral maxillofacial surgeon.

“I was born with a cleft lip, so I’ve had a lot of interactions with surgeons and dentists throughout my life. They really inspired me to give back in the same way and help others who might be having trouble eating or who are being bullied at school.”

Ms Wong made the move from Mooroolbark to Bendigo to start study this year.

As well as tuition, the scholarship will cover accommodation and meals on campus, clinical placements, instruments, textbooks, uniforms and entry requirement fees.

“To help pay my expenses, I travel back to Melbourne every weekend to work as a tutor,” Ms Wong said.

“This scholarship will ease the financial pressures on me and my family, and it will allow me to reduce some of my work hours so I can focus more on my study and community involvement.”