MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Arturo Sosa’s path to the West Virginia University School of Dentistry was long and, at times, difficult. But the second-year dental student is proof positive that hard work and persistence pay off. Sosa is the first WVU dental student to receive the American Dental Association (ADA) Foundation’s Underrepresented Minority Dental Student Scholarship.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for a most deserving pre-doctoral student and a prestigious event for the WVU School of Dentistry,” David Felton, D.D.S., dean of the WVU School of Dentistry, said. “We are incredibly proud of Arturo’s accomplishment in receiving this award from the ADA Foundation.”

Originally from Puerto Rico, Sosa initially came to Morgantown as a coach for the WVU swim team. Encouraged by his father, a dental professional himself, to pursue the family business, Sosa said he loved swimming too much to do anything else. But, he met an orthodontist who invited him to visit his practice. That visit ended up being just the spark Sosa needed to give dentistry a second chance.

Sosa applied to the WVU School of Dentistry but was not accepted, so he went off to Midwestern University in Glendale, Ariz., where he obtained his Master of Biomedical Sciences degree. Upon graduation, he again applied to dental school and had his choice of two schools – WVU and a school in Arizona. Ultimately, he chose WVU because he felt the faculty members were nice and treated him with respect.

While at WVU, Sosa has been involved in the American Student Dental Association and Delta Sigma Delta Dental Fraternity. He is leading the Hispanic Dental Association Student Chapter in addressing the need to improve oral health disparities in the Hispanic community and underrepresented minorities in West Virginia. He is also the pre-clinical representative for the WVU Health Sciences Center Student Advisory Board.

Sosa is one of 25 students in the country to receive the $2,500 Underrepresented Minority Dental Student Scholarship. To be eligible for it, applicants must be entering their second-year of dental school, enrolled as a full-time student, demonstrate financial need, have a minimum grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale and be African American, Hispanic or American Indian.

When he was notified that he had won the scholarship, Sosa said he was very surprised and honored. “It’s confirmation that I’m on the right track,” he said. “It’s nice to be recognized for all of my hard work.”

Shelia Price, D.D.S., associate dean for admissions, recruitment and access for the WVU School of Dentistry, who notified Sosa of the scholarship, said it is a return on his investment in hard work and persistence.

“It’s really gratifying to us to see him reach this level of achievement,” Dr. Price said. “Arturo’s perseverance is paying off. We’re very pleased that he is doing so well. We share his joy in receiving this award.”

Sosa and his wife, Megan, reside in Morgantown with their 1-year-old son, Sullivan.

Photo identifications: (left to right) David Felton, D.D.S., dean of the WVU School of Dentistry; Arturo Sosa, second-year dental student; and Candi Frazier, associate director of financial aid at the WVU Health Sciences Center

For more information: Angela Jones, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
asj: 12-09-11