Trio are recipients of ADA Foundation awards for leadership, research

A researcher studying craniofacial muscle stem cells, a Romanian-born adoptee and the founder of a dental school’s LGBTQ+ student organization are the recipients of dental awards bestowed by the ADA Foundation in August.

The ADA Foundation named the winners of two Dr. David Whiston Leadership Awards and one Dentsply Sirona Research Award for Dual Degree Candidates in recognition of their achievements and promising futures in dentistry.

Dr. Lauren Katz is the Dentsply Sirona Research Award for Dual Degree Candidates recipient, and Shawn Hallett and Kyle Sevel are each recipients of the Dr. David Whiston Leadership Award.

Dr. Katz, of the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry, is studying for her Ph.D. in oral and craniofacial biomedicine. In her application, she said the award will help fund a novel research proposal investigating the characteristics and therapeutic applications of craniofacial muscle stem cells.

The award will provide up to $10,000 to fund Dr. Katz’s expenses to attend the American Association for Dental Research’s Student Competition for Advancing Dental Research and its Application, also known as the SCADA program. In addition, the funds may be used to defray the cost of an oral health research project.

Mr. Hallett, a dental student at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, is a first-generation college student and Romanian-born adoptee who is also a mentor and supervisor of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program at the University of Michigan.

Mr. Sevel, a dental student at the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, is president of his college’s Michael Yuan Orthodontics Society and education chair and founding executive board member of the dental school’s first LGBTQ+ student organization.

Mr. Hallett and Mr. Sevel’s awards provide each of them $5,000 to cover the costs of attending the ADA Institute for Diversity and Leadership 2020-21 program and a research-focused leadership project.

The ADA announced in 2019 that it was narrowing the focus of the ADA Foundation to research and science in order to dedicate more resources to evidence-based dentistry and the health of the public. For more information on the ADA Foundation, visit