GSDM recognizes Class of 2020 student leadership virtually

For the first time ever, members of the Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine (GSDM) community celebrated their student leaders and teaching assistants…virtually.

Each year, GSDM typically hosts a luncheon to recognize fourth-year DMD students and second-year DMD AS students who have served as teaching assistants (TA) or in leadership positions for student organizations for their hard work and mentorship. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an in-person luncheon was not possible—so the school’s Student Affairs and Communications offices organized a “virtual” celebration that launched on May 4, featuring short video clips from student organization faculty advisors and course directors expressing their appreciation for the students. In total, 94 fourth-year DMD students and second-year DMD AS students were recognized.   

“Over the past four years, our students have volunteered over 32,000 hours,” said Dr. Joseph Calabrese, associate dean of students. “Your participation in these extracurricular activities have helped this number grow to an amazing culmination—all of this happens because of your hard work and dedication.”

GSDM has 20 active student organizations, spanning a variety of special interests. Many groups also offer students the opportunity to volunteer outside of the school, as well as options for personal and professional growth.

Students selected to be TAs are all fourth-year DMD and second-year DMD Advanced Standing students and must: have an interest in the subject matter; be in good academic standing; have no past or present disciplinary action; and, have a history of cooperation, positive faculty interaction, and time management skills. Individual course directors may have other specific requirements as well.

Stephanie Bont DMD 20, who served as a TA for the preclinical occlusion laboratory and the pediatric dentistry preclinical course, said she decided to become a TA after being inspired by her own TAs.

“For both courses, I loved the subject matter and felt comfortable with the material because of the TAs I engaged with when taking these courses,” she said. “They were an incredible resource that made a huge difference in my understanding of the class, and I wanted to be that resource for someone else. “

“Working as a TA for these courses changed my GSDM experience in so many ways,” said Bont. “It allowed me to form bonds and mentorships with these students who I now consider friends and colleagues, and I have also gained a level of confidence in myself and my ability to pass on my knowledge and skill set to those who are in the same position I was just a couple years ago. “

This was one of the first—but not the last—virtual event that GSDM held for the Class of 2020 this spring. The school also hosted a Senior Awards Ceremony and a “toast” via Zoom, both of which can be watched on the school’s YouTube channel.