Fischer receives ADEA/Crest Oral-B Scholarship for Students Pursuing Academic Careers

Nicholas Fischer speaking at event.

DDS/PhD candidate Nicholas Fischer received a ADEA/Crest Oral-B Scholarships for Predoctoral Dental Students Pursuing Academic Careers.

Supported by the American Dental Education Association and Procter & Gamble, the scholarships “recognize two dental students who intend to pursue education beyond a doctoral degree and who have an interest in an academic career.”

Fischer, who began his program at the School of Dentistry in 2017, focuses his research in three areas: developing dental surfaces that help tissue heal and regenerate, evaluating long-term durability of dental adhesives and evaluating prosthodontic materials.

“Everything I do these days is collaborative,” he explained. “My most recent projects have included researchers from Iowa, Hong Kong, Mexico, Spain and the United Arab Emirates. I’m also lucky enough to be engaged with a lab in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Minnesota that broadens my exposure to ideas and techniques outside of dentistry.”

Fischer has “quite lofty research goals” for himself, but also hopes to inspire and teach the next generation of oral health care professionals. “I want to energize students’ interest in dental materials, given that they’re the backbone of most dental practices,” he explained. “I’m passionate about that, so I hope it rubs off on others!”

That passion for inspiring dental professionals and researchers is, in part, what inspired Fischer to pursue the scholarship. “There is a well-documented shortage of dental school faculty that is predicted to worsen,” he explained. “I’m a DDS/PhD student, and broadly speaking, we’re trained to be the next generation of faculty. Dr. D’Souza, director of the NIDCR, has called us ‘essential and endangered’ because of the challenges we face as we move along in our training. I wanted to apply to this award because I’m more advanced in my training. I wanted to show those earlier in their training that there is a path forward, and people and groups out there that support and recognize us!”

The $5,500 award is also a help for Fischer in his ongoing studies and as he prepares for his future. “I signed up to be a student and a trainee for a long time, and for a career that will pay far less than private dental practice,” he said. “Figuring out funding for the entire process is a nuisance, and this really helps!”

Being one of two recipients of the scholarship nationwide was exciting and gratifying.

“I really appreciate the recognition for the work I've accomplished outside of research,” Fischer said. “I deeply care about mentoring others and giving back to societies and groups that I’ve worked with. Receiving recognition for this reinforces that desire.”