New Program Introduces College Students from Diverse Backgrounds to Careers in Dentistry

Nineteen incoming college sophomores and juniors, representing 11 colleges, had a chance to learn about careers in dentistry at the 2008 Summer Dental School Experience. The five-day program to encourage students from diverse backgrounds to consider dental careers and the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry as their dental school of choice was held July 21-25, 2008.

This is the first time the School of Dentistry has sponsored this recruitment event. Among the 19 attendees were two American Indians, nine African/African Americans, two Latinos, two from rural backgrounds, three Hmong, and one Chinese; 68% were first-generation college students.

Attendees were able to participate in:

  • Career planning and development discussions;
  • Experiences in dental clinics;
  • Workshops designed to improve problem-solving, communications, and writing skills;
  • Training sessions designed to increase understanding of the dental profession and dental school admissions;
  • Preclinical laboratory exercises including taking impressions, waxing, and cavity preparation using the DentSim;
  • Mentoring and peer-networking activities;
  • Sessions addressing the financing of dental school, including how to apply for scholarships and other assistance, and;
  • Exciting social events.

The responses from the students were overwhelming:

"In the one week of attending the program I felt that I have learned so much and can now say that I truly want to be a dentist." --Christopher S. Reed

"You showed me the compassionate side of dentistry and to consider underserved people too besides myself."--Iman Mohamed

"Thank you for identifying the need for minorities in the field making sure it changes the best of everyone." --Ariana Sanchez

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  • Last modified on July 30, 2012