2020 Senior Awards
May 28, 2020
Eighty-five awards and honors were presented to the School of Dentistry’s Class of 2020 on Monday, May 18, 2020. The annual Senior Awards Convocation Ceremony was held for the first time ever on a virtual platform to protect the health and safety of the 112 Doctor of Dental Surgery students.
Stefanie Seitz, D.D.S., assistant dean for students, served as master of ceremonies by describing each award while advancing through a PowerPoint presentation which announced this year’s honorees, such as Kelsey Reyes, D.D.S., who was honored with Delta Dental’s new Delta Dental Community Care Foundation Student Leadership Award. The $10,000 award was given to honor a student who has proven outstanding leadership skills, a strong public service commitment, and outstanding service in the field of dentistry.
The Senior Clinic Award for Excellence in Clinical Dentistry is presented annually to one senior student from each of the eight group practices. The award recognizes their outstanding clinical skills, patient management, and leadership. This year, the honor was presented to:
•Group 1: Marcus Worden, D.D.S.
•Group 2: Stephen Donoghue, D.D.S.
•Group 3: Kyle Gopffarth, D.D.S.
•Group 4: Aamna Zaidi, D.D.S.
•Group 5: Zachary Landgraf, D.D.S.
•Group 6: Shanna Rafford, D.D.S.
•Group 7: Brandon Key, D.D.S.
•Group 8: Samantha Whitten, D.D.S.
Twenty-nine dental students were recognized for their accomplishments in graduating with a Distinction in Dental Education for having completed six or more courses in the Teaching Honors curriculum. Ten dental students likewise were acknowledged for having completed a rigorous elective program in research that will enable them to graduate with a Distinction in Research.
The Class of 2020 bestowed honors of their own to faculty and staff they wished to recognize for their commitment and dedication to their education. The Appreciation of Consistently Superior Performance & Recommendation Award was presented to John D. Cavazos, dental dispensing assistant – intermediate, by Zeki Abdulaali, D.D.S, senior class president. Dr. Abdulaali described Mr. Cavazos as extremely competent and always available to help he and his classmates., showing empathy towards students and always at the right place at the right time.
Dr. Abdulaali, also on behalf of the Class of 2020, presented the Professor of the Year Award to Joseph P. Connor, D.D.S., associate professor in the department of comprehensive dentistry. Dr. Abdulaali described Dr. Connor as a "very creative and innovative teacher in the way of inspiring and motivating students". "Honestly, I envy the students that are close by and work under his supervision in their general practice groups", he says.
The Assistant Marshals the Class of 2020 selected as an expression of their deepest appreciation for the impact they have had on their dental school experience were:
•GPG 1, Dr. Kevin Gureckis & Dr. Barry Holleron
•GPG 2, Dr. Arthur Shaw & Dr. Karen Troendle
•GPG 3, Dr. Bill Rose & Dr. Concepcion Barboza
•GPG 4, Dr. Fred Philips & Dr. Marwan Fattouhi
•GPG 5, Dr. Mark LittleStar & Dr. George Knight
•GPG 6, Dr. Erica Oliveira & Dr. Elena Riccio-Leach
•GPG 7, Dr. Jon Dossett & Dr. Adriana Vargas-Green
•GPG 8, Dr. David Cox & Dr. Jeffery Thompson
The entire presentation of the 2020 Senior Awards Convocation Ceremony is available for viewing HERE