Sending off the Class of 2019 with Honors

From top left to bottom right: OKU dental honor society inductees Evan Woodford, Basem Nashed, Candice Logan, Gabrielle Williamson. (Dr. Ajay Dhingra photo)
From top left to bottom right: Evan Woodford, Dr. Steve Lepowsky, Basem Nashed, Dr. Easwar Natarajan, Dr. Ajay Dhingra, Candice Logan, Dr. Sharon Gordon, Gabrielle Williamson, and Dr. Sree Raghavendra at the OKU induction ceremony. (Dr. Ajay Dhingra photo)

 UConn School of Dental Medicine held several ceremonies honoring the achievements of the Class of 2019.

Dental Students Join National Honor Society
On May 13 four students were inducted into the Phi Chi Chapter of the prestigious Omicron Kappa Upsilon (OKU) National Dental Honor society.

Evan Woodford, Basem Nashed, Candice Logan, and Gabrielle Williamson were inducted for their outstanding achievements in scholarship, professionalism, and ethics.

“This is an evening to recognize the students who have proved to the UConn community that they have excelled not only didactics or clinical skills but also they have demonstrated an overall growth in professionalism, as an outstanding dental student and accomplished ‘dentist to be’,” said Dr. Ajay Dhingra, president of the Phi Chi Chapter of OKU.

“OKU embodies the best attributes of the profession of dentistry—not only technical and academic excellence, but also service—to our patients, community, and society,” said Dr. Sharon Gordon, dean of the UConn School of Dental Medicine.

Woodford, the class speaker for the 2019 School of Dental Medicine commencement ceremony, will begin his general practice residency program at Danbury Hospital. Nashed, who served as class president during his four years at the School of Dental Medicine, will be headed to Washington, D.C. for the pediatric residency program at Children’s National Medical Center. Logan, who has received much acclaim for her research, will be joining the orthodontic residency program at the University of Michigan. Williamson, who has taken multiple leadership roles during her time at UConn, will join the general practice residency program at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Dental Excellence Recognized at Student Awards Breakfast
On May 11 the Class of 2019 and their families gathered for the annual Student Awards Breakfast to honor the students that won awards for their academic excellence and achievement.

From left to right: Victoria Phu, Sundine Chizzonite, Dr. Sarita Arteaga, Dr. Tina Liang, Isabella Chen, and Maria Jun celebrate Dr. Liang’s faculty award. (Dr. Sarita Arteaga photo)

“We are here to recognize and applaud the Class of 2019 for all of their hard work and accomplishments throughout these past years. We also emphasize the pinnacle of the sweat equity in those years—the best award that each student will receive—their doctorate of dental medicine,” said Dr. Sarita Arteaga, the dental school’s associate dean of student affairs.

“I am honored to be joining you on this occasion, I could not imagine a better way to mark my first academic year here at the UConn School of Dental Medicine than celebrating your accomplishments,” shared Dr. Sharon Gordon, dean of UConn School of Dental Medicine. “You have completed a rigorous curriculum that includes improving the oral health of your patients. While doing this, you have also helped to conduct research, spent countless hours in service, and garnered awards.”

The following students received awards at the ceremony:

  • Michelle Abate—Kohrman Award
  • Chidera Amilo—Health Careers Mentorship Award
  • Lauren Anderson—The Quintessence Award for Research Achievement
  • Sean Berk—American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Award
  • Alexandra Carroll—The Dr. Loeb Prize
  • Isabella Chen—American Association of Endodontists Student Achievement Award, South Park Inn Dental Clinic Award
  • Sundine Chizzonite—ASDA Award of Excellence, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Certificate of Merit, the International College of Dentists Leadership Award
  • Jillian Dubuisson—American Academy of Periodontology Award
From left to right: Boyu Ma, Basem Nashed, Daniel Haley, Evan Woodford, and William Jumbo show off their new nameplates. (Dr. Sarita Arteaga photo)
  • Lisa Fredrickson—Academy of Dental Materials Award, American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology Dental Student Award, American Association of Women Dentists Eleanor J. Bushee Senior Dental Student Award, The Pierre Fauchard Academy Award
  • Daniel Haley—Academy of Operative Dentistry Award
  • Maria Jun—International College of Dentists Student Humanitarian Award
  • Wanjin Kim—Hanau Best of the Best Prosthodontic Award, American Academy of Implant Dentistry Student Award
  • Candice Logan—Dr. Surender Nanda Memorial Award, Academic Achievement Award 2018 Sponsored by the Provost’s Commission on the Status of Women, the UConn Alumni Association, and the Women’s Center
  • Lora Manley—American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Dental Implant Student Award
  • Basem Nashed—American College of Dentists Award, International Congress of Oral Implantologists/ Dentsply Student Achievement, Special Care for Dentistry Association/Academy of Dentistry for Persons with Disabilities Award, Friends of the School of Dental Medicine—Fox Award
  • Victoria Phu—Dr. Richard G. Topazian Prize, American Association of Public Health Dentistry
  • Matthew Prezioso—American Prosthodontic Society Award
Candice Logan (left) and Chidera Amilo (right) celebrate at the student awards breakfast. (Dr. Sarita Arteaga photo)
  • Bailey Proft—American Association of Orthodontists Award, Northeastern Society of Periodontists Award
  • Robert Ruby III—UConn School of Dental Medicine Professional Development Award
  • Sara Skrabl—The Quintessence Award for Clinical Achievement in Periodontics, Academy of General Dentistry Senior Student Dental Award
  • Matthew Sparks—Allan B. Reiskin Award, American Academy of Ethetic Dentistry Student Award of Merit
  • Sharon Vincenty-Flores—Academy of Osseointegration Outstanding Dental Student in Implant Dentistry, American College of Prosthodontists Achievement Award
  • Drew Weyman—Connecticut Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Award
  • David Wiegard—Horace Wells Senior Student Award from the American Dental Society of Anesthesiology
  • Gabrielle Williamson—American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology Award, Dr. Robert G. Levine Award
  • Evan Woodford— American Academy of Oral Medicine Award, Alumni Relations Award
Dr. Easwar Natarajan (far right), associate professor, accepts the Kaiser Permanente Teaching Award for excellence in teaching in the clinical sciences. (Dr. Sarita Arteaga photo)

In addition, several faculty members were also recognized for their contributions to the School of Dental Medicine. These awards were based on student votes.

  • Dr. John Agar, professor of reconstructive sciences, was given the South Park Inn Award for his outstanding service to the community.
  • Dr. Tina Liang, assistant clinical professor of craniofacial sciences received the Michael T. Goupil Award for her support of dental students—including her demonstrated interest in professional development and student well-being.
  • Dr. Easwar Natarajan, associate professor, received the Kaiser Permanente Teaching Award for excellence in teaching in the clinical sciences.
  • Dr. Natarajan was recognized as the Loeser Award recipient for his ability to evoke in students an enthusiasm for learning.

Following the awards breakfast, Dr. Alan Lurie, professor and chair of oral and maxillofacial radiology, his wife Dr. Susanne Shrader, and Gwendolyn Winkel, instrumental music teacher at Squadron Line School, held their annual concert program in honor of commencement weekend. Joining Lurie, Shrader, and Winkel were dental students Ashley Pacelli, Sam Roh, and senior Rob Ruby. Dr. Frank Nichols, professor of periodontology, also joined the ensemble on the electric bass.