Two students from the dental hygiene program were announced as the annual recipients of the Debbie Thompson Spirit of Dental Hygiene Scholarship during a ceremony held Tuesday, July 16, at Missouri Southern State University.

Katie Dietz, a senior from Webb City, and Emily Gilpin, a sophomore from Buffalo, Mo., received the $2,500 scholarship.

The endowed scholarship was established four years ago by Thompson, who has worked as a dental hygienist for more than 30 years. Each year, the scholarship is awarded to a first-year student and a second-year student. The scholarship will continue into the student’s second year if they maintain their standing within the program.

Thompson, who is a former faculty member at Missouri Southern, co-owned dental practices in Joplin and Cassville with her late husband, Dr. Patrick Thompson. During her career, she served as a dental hygienist with the American Red Cross in Japan and wrote columns on the subject for newspapers.

To be considered for the scholarship, students must submit an essay, have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, a record of community service and extracurricular involvement and demonstrate leadership abilities.