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Outstanding student-driven outreach programs honored

Las Vegas—The 2011 Student Ambassador Program featured the second annual awards ceremony for outstanding recruitment efforts undertaken by students.

IMAGE: Michael Brooks Jr. and Ricardo Lugo
Outreach: Michael Brooks Jr. (left), University of Minnesota, earned 2nd place honors for his dental career outreach program. Presenting the award is Ricardo Lugo. Photos by EZ Event Photography

Jessica Dubek and Melanie Nesbitt received 1st place honors for the Marquette University School of Dentistry’s “Dentist for a Day” program, one of many ambassador efforts that involve dental students providing outreach to underrepresented students in order to stimulate interest in dental careers. Michael Brooks Jr. of the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry accepted 2nd place honors for “Driven to Discovery: Dental Career Outreach Program.”

Marquette’s Dentist for a Day program brings African American, Native American and Hispanic students in the eighth and 12th grades to the dental school for educational activities that provide an insight into careers in dentistry. The program includes a follow-up mentorship program. Students involved with the 2010 ambassador program came up with the idea for Dentist for a Day, which gets further support from Marquette faculty, staff and administrators.

IMAGE: Dentist for a Day: Ashley Barnes of Marquette accepts the 1st place award from Ricardo Lugo
Dentist for a Day: Ashley Barnes of Marquette accepts the 1st place award from Ricardo Lugo during ceremonies Oct. 9.
Dr. William Lobb, dean of the Marquette University School of Dentistry, said the students were inspired by their involvement with the ADA Student Ambassador Program.

“The fact that our student representatives are able to attend the student ambassadors’ meeting and share ideas and dialogue with peers from other dental schools across the nation in a dynamic and action-packed forum and then return with their ideas and enthusiasm and to then stimulate other students to become active and participate in this program is one of the strengths of the annual Student Ambassador Program,” Dr. Lobb said.

Mr. Brooks of the University of Minnesota has developed more than 11 different events reaching 250 underrepresented students. Funding sources included a Health Resources and Services Administration and Health Career Opportunity Program grant secured by the U of M admissions office.

Student-driven programs from Howard University College of Dentistry and Georgia Health Sciences University College of Dental Medicine were also recognized as best practices.

IMAGE: The presenters and award winners from the 2011 Student Ambassador Program
Distinguished: The presenters and award winners from the 2011 Student Ambassador Program gather Oct. 9 for a photo. In the front row from left are Donald Goudreau III, Ashley Barnes, Eva Lau, Jose Navarro and Michael Brooks. In back are Edmund Thomas, Darren  Ramsey and Richard Lightsey.