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WVU American Student Dental Association focuses on education, opportunity and fun

Read the chapter's fall 2023 newsletter content

Submitted by WVU School of Dentistry ASDA Chapter 

ASDA has had an exciting year here at the West Virginia University School of Dentistry. We kicked off our academic year with the election of Sydni Harris-Evans as ASDA President. Sydni began her leadership journey by attending the ASDA Annual Leadership Retreat this July in Hocking Hills, Ohio. Ready to start the academic year strong, Sydni and the students in ASDA elected other key members to the executive council. This election was exciting, as students from every class at the WVU School of Dentistry were elected to positions and committees, which gave each class representation in the chapter. With the new executive board established, Sydni and her team could focus on revamping the ASDA chapter at WVU through the attributes of hard work, meticulous attention to detail, and, especially, organization.

WVU ASDA Halloween 2023 group picture

One of the many reasons that ASDA is well-known at WVU is due to the association’s dedication to social events and fun. We kicked off this academic year with events such as the ASDA Cookout in June, the notorious ASDA Field Day Competition in August, and the ASDA Welcome Week at the start of the fall semester. Besides giving students the chance to catch up with classmates after summer break, both events served as opportunities for upper classmen to get acquainted with the incoming D1 class—the main goal being to make our new classmates feel welcomed and accepted. I believe that October is the month that is cherished most by WVU ASDA, as the annual ASDA Haunted Hayride and Halloween Party are staples at the WVU School of Dentistry. Additionally, under the leadership of Social Chair Anne Fox (D3), ASDA has begun to plan the recently established Dental School Formal, which will be held in January of 2024.

ASDA members volunteer at community event in Pittsburgh.

Although WVU ASDA is superb at hosting social events, this chapter also places an extreme emphasis on both volunteering and educational events. WVU ASDA has organized these events through the help of the Community Service Chair, Khadija Yousuf (D3), and the Fundraising Chair, Stephanie Marnic (D3). A group of students volunteered at Mission of Mercy in Pittsburg, PA, and helped assist dentists as they provided dental care to underserved patients. ASDA hosted a Pickup and Picnic event with the WVU Delta Sigma Delta organization and students volunteered to clean up a local highway here in Morgantown, WV. ASDA also hosts a Trunk-or-Treat event each year for children in Morgantown, offering dental tips and oral hygiene tools to help kids fight off the “spooky bad guys” hidden in candy that can give you cavities.

One of my personal favorite qualities of WVU ASDA has to be its ability to provide incentives and events throughout the dental school semester that help cheer up students and bring hope and encouragement. For instance, ASDA constantly organizes raffles for prizes through social media, hosts lunch and learns with free lunches and information on innovating products and job opportunities, and organizes events such as “Fever Week,” where ASDA provides daily perks such as an ice cream bar and free coffee. Through the hard work of WVU ASDA’s Legislative Liasson, Jackie Montag (D2), WVU ASDA was able to conduct “Advocacy Week,” where we welcomed guest speakers and offered free lunch, provided donuts and coffee before classes, and had opportunities to snap a picture with Molar Bear and enter raffles. WVU ASDA also plays a crucial role in educating and preparing WVU dental students for their future careers by hosting events such as the Vendor Fair, where students can purchase loupes, seek job opportunities, and learn of new products in the dental market. ASDA also worked alongside WVU’s Academic Affairs office to organize and implement a Career Fair for the dental students at WVU. This fair allowed students to become acquainted with potential employers from all aspects of dentistry, including residency programs, DSOs, and private practices. At WVU, our ASDA chapter plays a pivotal role in keeping dental students optimistic, educated, and prepared for our future careers.

WVU ASDA students pose at an annual conference.

WVU ASDA has also provided unique and valuable opportunities for its members by presenting the opportunity to attend conferences such as the ASDA National Leaders Conference 2023 in Chicago, Illinois, and the Annual District 6 Meeting 2023 in Cleveland, Ohio. Five members of WVU’s chapter attended the ASDA National Leaders Conference this year, and our president, Sydni Harris-Evans, described NLC as “an amazing experience where we gained leadership knowledge and skills to further the chapter at WVU.” Fifteen WVU members attended the Annual ASDA District 6 Meeting. This conference offered lectures regarding topics such as finance and private practice ownership, a vendor fair, and participation in small group sessions. Both conferences featured educational and career opportunities, as well as fun social events that allowed students to network and form relationships with other ASDA members from different dental schools.

WVU ASDA student pose at a conference.

Overall, the WVU chapter of ASDA has been busy. Our chapter prides itself in creating exciting and educational events for the dental students at WVU. This requires an extreme amount of effort, dedication, sacrifice, and organization from the members that serve as the governing body of WVU ASDA. The ASDA executive board and I would like to share our appreciation for our president, Sydni Harris-Evans, because it is due to her organizational skills, self-control during stressful situations, and leadership expertise that this branch of ASDA has been able to evolve, reorganize, and establish new goals and opportunities for its members. Overall, the WVU chapter of ASDA has had a year full of growth, excitement, and opportunity, and we don’t plan on stopping any time soon.

Thank you and Let’s Go Mountaineers!

Hannah McGrew (D3)
WVU ASDA Newsletter Chair
Hannah McGrew D3 student