Each year, the Student National Dental Association at MUSC proves that student outreach is its top priority. While its annual Impressions Day event is just one of many that strive to educate pre-dental students, it is the group’s largest outreach initiative and makes an impact on many students. The success of this event is proven by its continual growth.
This year, 35 students and five faculty members volunteered their time to provide 60 students with a day filled with hands-on activities and useful advice. Throughout the day, participants were able to make impressions and diagnostic casts, prep a tooth and fill it with composite, and design a front tooth using wax in the MUSC simulation lab. Each lab activity was led by a faculty member while three dental students assisted.
Dr. Joe Vuthiganon gave an informative presentation on the dental school application process, interviews, and admissions. Since most dental schools require an interview in order to be considered, SNDA also uses Impressions Day as an opportunity to conduct mock interviews. A participant said that they “loved the mock interviews because it was a one-on-one with a student. They critiqued us, but also had a conversation with us.” During these interviews, participants practiced their skills and received constructive feedback from current dental students. Current dental students also took part in a panel where Impressions Day participants were encouraged to ask questions to get a dental student’s perspective.
This year, SNDA added a new project to Impressions Day. Participants were able to donate oral hygiene products and create gift bags that were donated to the ICU department at MUSC Health. SNDA members said that they were overwhelmed by the tremendous amount of donations they received in response.
At the end of the day, participants were provided with a virtual folder as part of the SNDA’s continued “going digital” initiative. This folder gave permanent access to information on the dental school application, dental careers, financial aid, military, pre-dental involvement, DAT tips, and specific information regarding MUSC’s program.
MUSC SNDA’s President Malikah Christie hopes that Impressions Day will “continue to grow and leave a positive impact on all participants.” The group’s motto “Enriching Dentistry Through Diversity” certainly is achieved as they prepare the next generation of dentists each year.