Student Engagement on Display | A Message from the Dean

Presenter speaks on stage at ADEA with five others behind him

One of the proudest moments an educator experiences is seeing their students succeed. Earlier in my career, I had a mentee who would drop in and camp out with endless questions on their mind. Although it momentarily interrupted my work, I didn’t mind. I was fortunate to have mentors in my past who allowed me to do the same thing long ago. Fast forward, and I was amazed to see the mentee grow as they presented at a national meeting.

Dean Mays poses with two students for a photo

As a dean, I am equally proud of the work of our students and faculty and how our students shine on the national stage. Although there are several meetings our students attend, this past March, our students attended the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) and the American Association of Dental and Craniofacial Research (AADCOR). Our students served as leaders, attended leadership conferences, presented posters and oral presentations and engaged with other dental educators and researchers.

Three Students pose at ADEA

I am so proud of these students’ accomplishments as well as the faculty and staff who mentored and helped to prepare them to shine so brightly. I acknowledge our Summer Research Program students: Sofia Park, DDS ‘25 (Student Competition for Advancing Dental Research Application first place winner), Joseph Rahimi, DDS ‘25 and Alexander Tabatabai, DDS ‘25 (co-presenters), Filipa Miranda Dos Santos, DDS ‘25, and Sarah Aitkin, PhD/DDS ‘29.

Students and faculty pose at AADOCR

I also acknowledge our Oral Biology graduate students: Sarah Aitken, PhD/DDS ‘29, Nicholas Fischer, PhD '21, DDS '25,  Kristina Astleford-Hopper, DDS/PhD '26, Flavia Saavedra,PhD '23, Janaki Khot, MS '22, and Ravi Maisuria, MS '23, who all attended and presented at the AADCOR meeting.

The school was also well represented by Ishita Aghi, DDS ‘23, Parandis Kazemi, DDS ‘25, Lanette Wedell, MSDH, Arpun Johal, DDS ‘23 Abdirahim Askar, DDS ‘25 Jessica Lettelier, DDS ‘22, and Neha Sethi, DDS ‘22 at ADEA and the ADEA Student Diversity Leadership section.


Thank you to all the faculty and mentors that made this possible for students and graduate students.