Dental students develop leadership skills at ASDA Conference
In November, 15 students from the School of Dentistry attended the American Student Dental Association’s The Summit leadership conference in Washington, D.C., to connect with other students and conquer challenging topics presented in the field of dentistry.
Third-year dental student Lyndsey Holan believes that attending conferences like The Summit allows students to broaden their skill set and knowledge outside of the classroom and clinic setting.
“Going to the conference exposes us to different topics that we don’t fully get in dental school. One of the biggest things I learned my first year was that you need to take part of your education into your own hands because there’s just no way you can learn everything you need to know in school,” Holan says.
Students attend various sessions, choosing from a variety of topics in diversity, equity and inclusion, emotional intelligence, unconscious bias, working in a practice, leadership in a practice, techniques in dental photography and more.
“Students learn more about leadership skills and also really start to develop networking skills, not only between students, because we met students from other schools, but also with other dentists and vendors who attend the conference as well,” Holan says.
While most of the students that attended were sophomores and juniors, freshman Tess Reardon, BA’21, also made the trip to D.C., highlighting the school’s commitment to investing in future leaders.
“This conference gave me the opportunity to learn not only from the renowned speakers, but also from the other students from schools across the country,” Reardon says. “Hearing each person’s unique experiences and ideas reminded me that there will always be more to dentistry than just what I know and experience.”
Reardon’s favorite session was “Resiliency Required: Navigating a Career in Dentistry,” which focused on the stressors and hardships that can potentially lead to burnout throughout a dental career and how to combat them.
“As a D1, I really appreciated hearing this perspective because I found that many personal struggles that dentists tend to face, such as work-life balance and heavy workload, are things that my peers and I also face in dental school. After attending the session, I now feel more prepared to identify and address these problems both throughout my educational career and my future dental career to have a happy and healthy life.”