Posts tagged NLC 2014
Perspective from a Pre-dental Student

The mentorship program at the National Leadership Conference. No matter how much outside research I read about ASDA’s National Leadership Conference (NLC), I still had my doubts. Will this conference help me as a pre-dental student? Will I walk away from it feeling more energized about dentistry? I read that there were personal development opportunities available (but then again, that’s what my Bridezilla sister told me about being her Maid of Honor!)

I didn’t exactly know what to expect at NLC, but I had a general idea. I expected the conference to be full of informative breakout sessions and like-minded people passionate about dentistry. However, I didn’t expect to meet people who were sincerely interested in my journey to dental school. I didn't expect to be on the edge of my seat during the presentations and to develop a drive to be more engaged in ASDA. NLC went beyond the scope of my expectations and truly provided many unique opportunities for pre-dental students.  Here are three unique opportunities NLC can offer for pre-dental students:

1) Connect you with a mentor. There are no dentists in my family and few dentists in my life, so it’s hard to find someone who understands the journey to dental school. That’s one reason why the NLC mentorship program can be so valuable. Pre-dental students had the opportunity to be paired with a dental student from schools you want to apply to. It was extremely reassuring to share my challenges and triumphs with someone with prior experience. My mentors allowed me to pick their brains about their schools, gave me great advice on applying, and connected me with other leaders. Yet, I quickly learned that I didn’t have to go through the mentorship program to connect with leaders at the conference. The ASDA leaders, alumni and dental students were all very encouraging and had unique insights into the breadth of dentistry. Connecting with dental students is a great opportunity for pre-dental students to access a supportive community and to be involved in a strong network.

2) Prepare you to become a well-rounded professional. I was truly impressed by the variety of topics and lessons among the four education tracks offered at NLC. In the Business and Financial Leadership track, I learned how to build my personal brand. This skill is not only important for business professionals, but also for pre-dental students. We should be able to communicate what makes us unique from other applicants. In addition, the pre-dental workshop was one of the best comprehensive resources I have ever seen. The workshop highlighted how to enhance your application and how to be innovative in order to stand out. The wide collection of topics and workshops provide a unique training opportunity for pre-dental students and prepare you to become an outstanding applicant and health professional.

3) Engage you in issues related to dentistry. Sometimes as pre-dental students, we can become overly consumed with the details of applying to dental school. With the stress of submitting the perfect application, it’s hard to look past dental school and easy to forget current issues that dentists face. Dr. Shenkin’s presentation on how dentistry's hot topics impact your future quickly energized me and kept me on the edge of my seat. As aspiring dentists, we need to be aware of the dental landscape we will eventually work in. The presentation shed light into the growing number highly indebted dental students but a decline in adult utilization of dental services. Another challenge dentists are confronting is the increase in adult Medicaid dental benefits but stagnant government funding.

The advocacy breakout sessions at NLC allowed me to go beyond dental school basics and dive into policy issues regarding our future profession. As pre-dental students, we can be engaged in organized dentistry now and being an ASDA member is a great way to start. I never truly understood the magnitude of my ASDA membership and the unique opportunities it offers for pre-dental students until attending the National Leadership Conference. Though I walked into the conference with worries and doubts, I left feeling confident in my future career and in myself. I encourage other pre-dental students to join ASDA and to take your involvement further by attending national events.

~Lynn Doan, Pre-Dental ASDA Member

Curriculum Vitae: Your Course of Life

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As some of you know, I’m one of the older guys here. I have a long history of applying for school positions and jobs. When I attended the ASDA NLC in Chicago, I thought it was important to brush up on my CV writing skills, especially since the CV format may be different than in my native country of Germany. Colleen Greene’s CV writing lecture taught me a few new things. Although there is no exact way to write one, Dr. Greene gave some useful tips and tricks to mastering the CV.

Think about the situation: You apply for a residency, and you know your application will be one of hundreds of others - that your paperwork is in a huge pile of other applications. How will you be the ONE that stands out? Do you think your great GPA alone will get you there? It might, but what happens when your CV looks like a lame pizza flyer… one that you transfer directly out of your mailbox into the trash can without reading?

A good CV should have a structure with clear categories. Why not give the category names a different color? This will give your CV a nice touch, and it will look more interesting than other applications.

The CV begins with your name and address in the header. Include your email address, but be careful. Don’t use your “supertoothdoc” or “cutemolarmouse” Gmail address that you created as a student. You need a “professional” email! If you don’t already have one, create one.

Next, list your EDUCATION clearly. Include the name and location of each school, the dates attended, what you studied, and your grade point average. Leave some space between the information to make things more readable.

The second block should be about your RESEARCH/EXPERIENCE. Tailor this section to the program for which you are applying (residency, associateship, GPR, etc.). List your projects, presentations, and teaching experiences here. Did you receive any awards in your school life? This is the perfect place to write them down.

Do you have any LEADERSHIP or COMMUNITY SERVICE? This information should come next on your CV. Use concrete details about your leadership, specifically your responsibilities...this will make your achievements stand out. If you helped coordinate a service event, include the details.

If you have any existing PUBLICATIONS & PRESENTATIONS, put them in a separate section by journal, title, and year. If you’re submitting your CV electronically consider including links in your publication list, and only write down the important ones. A lengthy list looks like a scrapbook and will expand your CV unnecessarily.

Next, place PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS, such as memberships of ASDA, ADA, etc.  To what extent were you involved with these organizations?

OPTIONAL SECTIONS can be placed now. These may include things like military service, conferences/meetings you have attended, and personal interests. Here is your chance to discuss your hobbies like home brewing, outdoor activities, or painting. Remember that you want your CV to be clean and concise. Introduce these activities in the CV, but expand on them in your interview.   Don’t forget other SKILLS like speaking, reading, or writing fluently in another language. Be honest, and never overstate your abilities. You never know when your interviewer speaks the same language fluently and may test your skills!

Finally, you may give a PERSONAL STATEMENT. I would personally skip this part in a CV and put it on a separate page, but some people like to include it in the CV. This should be a short statement that clearly states your career or school goals. Use action verbs and power words. Make this an interesting reflection of yourself. You want the reader to recognize that you stand out among the other candidates.

If you use some of these little hints in your next CV, you may be the ONE in the huge pile of applications! Most importantly, treat your CV with great care. You have accomplished many things in your life, so shine! Also, please proofread carefully for misspelled words and incorrect grammar.

You can find more information on, or simply send me an email. I am more than happy to help you with additional resources on how to write an effective CV.

~Michael Nery Schulte, ISP 2015, Colorado ASDA ISP Representative

ASDA and Advocacy—Highlights From ASDA's National Leadership Conference

Becky Lauren Natalie This past October, I attended the ASDA National Leadership Conference.  Having recently been elected the ASDA Alternate Delegate for my class, I was sincerely excited and curious about this conference.  I knew I would be surrounded by others who shared my same enthusiasm about ASDA and my commitment to enhancing our dental school experience and future profession. Given my legal background, I am particularly interested in ASDA’s and the ADA’s role in legislative and legal issues regarding dental school education and the dental profession.  While I thought I had a good grasp of the issues regarding the profession, at the conference, I learned so much more about the various nuances within the law that affect dentists. I was thoroughly impressed by the commitment of ASDA and ADA to advocate on our behalf. For this blog post, I wanted to highlight three areas regarding the law and dentistry that were large topics of discussion at the conference.

1)  Pending U.S. Supreme Court Case about Dental Boards and Anti-Trust

Recently, the United States heard oral arguments for North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission.  This case hinges upon whether the NC Board of Dental Examiners has the authority to send warning letters to non-dentists who offer dental services, such as teeth whitening.  For this case, the FTC is concerned that the Board is engaging in antitrust behavior.  The pivotal issue in this case is whether the Board of Dental Examiners is considered “private", as anti-trust laws only apply to private entities. While the NC Board of Dental Examiners is considered a public entity, the FTC argues that it is comprised of dentists who primarily make their living as private dentists, and thus, they are also affected by the market that they are attempting to regulate. The ADA submitted an Amicus Curiae brief to the Supreme Court for this case.  An Amicus Curiae brief is essentially an opinion of a third party that is not directly involved in the case but has a substantial interest in the outcome.  The final decision should be issued sometime in 2015. You can view the ADA’s brief here.

2)  Student Loans

The accumulation of significant student loans is a large source of stress for dental students.  While the rising costs of tuition are often unavoidable, ASDA and the ADA are advocating for students and recent graduates from a tax standpoint.  Currently, most dentists’ incomes are too high to have a student loan interest deduction on their taxes.  The ADA is actively lobbying the federal legislature to completely eliminate this income cap.  This way, interest on federal student loans can be considered a tax deduction, which can potentially save dentists up to thousands of dollars each year. To take action on Student Loans through ASDA's Action Site, Engage, CLICK HERE.

3)  Dental Mid-Level Providers

Unlike Colorado, other states in the country are allowing “mid-level” providers to provide some basic, yet irreversible dental procedures in order to increase access to dental care.  ASDA and the ADA are very concerned about this, as it allows individuals with less than four years of dental training to perform procedures that can permanently affect a patient’s tooth.  Additionally, the addition of mid-level providers dilutes the dental profession in these states, which can have a substantial impact on the quality of dental services and the salaries for dentists. ASDA seeks to ensure that only dentists provide irreversible dental procedures to patients.

These three issues are just some highlights of the myriad of issues and work that ASDA and the ADA do on our behalf.  In addition to attending the legislative sessions, I attended marketing, financial, and other sessions which my colleagues have already highlighted. This conference confirmed to me that ASDA is really looking out for us. I certainly caught the “ASDA fever”!

Marketing at the National Leadership Conference

NLC Group Attending ASDA's National Leadership Conference for the second time, I knew what to expect - a great learning experience, a chance to make new friendships & connections, and most importantly, renewing my excitement about dentistry. In dental school, we're often thrown into books and typodont work, making it challenging to see the future as a dentist. The speakers at the conference presented many topics that allowed us to connect the dots between our studies and the seemingly far away future. One topic, presented by Dr. Mike Meru, was marketing a dental practice successfully on a budget. Learning the details of marketing kept me excited about how dentistry functions in a dynamic environment, yet taught me that additional effort is required in order to stand out.


According to Dr. Meru, in order to begin marketing you must create a brand - the symbol, title, or image that will embody your work.  He also claimed that you can start working on your brand TODAY!  The key is creating a logo that is recognizable and distinct, which can be both easy and inexpensive. If choosing this route, however, it is important to note that you get what you pay for – that the quality of a service is often correlated with the amount of money paid for it. In essence, shop around – and keep in mind that many companies such as 99 designs, crowdSPRING, DesignCrowd, and offer a superior product at a conservative price that can compete with the quality of expensive graphic designers.


Now, armed with a great brand and logo, you can move on and present your practice to the public. According to Dr. Meru, when starting a new practice it is worth investing in search engine optimization, so that your business appears on different searches, becoming visible to the masses. From there, begin advertising in local publications, at community gathering sites, and on social media to see how your business grows. However, be sure to keep in mind that social trends are constantly evolving (i.e. Facebook vs. Instagram), and use this to your advantage – these resources are typically free and a great way to spread awareness of your practice. Using hashtags, QR codes, and giving away merchandise are other ways of advertising on a budget.


All of this thinking about adverting got me in the mindset of private practice, and how close I actually am to becoming a dentist. Since returning from my trip, I’ve been able to put more energy into my lab work and focus on my books, as my interest in dentistry has been reignited. I know that in just two years I will be combining my work with my interaction in the community – and I can do all of this through the benefits of marketing.


~Natalie Lesinski, Class of 2017, Colorado ASDA 2nd Legislative Liaison  
Making the Right Connections

iStock_000005218304Small-2 There is one question that will, undoubtedly, be asked at least once by every dental student in Colorado: “What is ASDA?”

The quickest and most unsatisfying answer will most certainly follow: “ASDA is whatever you want it to be.”

While visiting Chicago for ASDA’s National Leadership Conference I stumbled upon the same realization. ASDA is an extraordinarily powerful group of dental students, and by that token, ASDA is a great place to get things done.

ASDA provides opportunities to make connections with other dental students who have a similar passion, the great part is using that drive to follow through on important initiatives. Some ASDA members are driven by advocacy and lobbying efforts, some are driven by community outreach or social activities, and still, many others have a wide range of other interests. ASDA is an organization that can help you achieve what is most important to you. Here in Colorado, we describe ASDA with four words: Activities, Service, Dentistry, and Advocacy.

The key to making ASDA an effective tool is in making connections with other dental students and alumni. One of the presentations in Chicago dealt with this very topic, “How to Make the Right Connections” by Dr. Richard Bauer. This presentation gave a few useful guidelines regarding networking events. Dr. Bauer presented five ways to network effectively.


1 - Look presentable

This is fairly basic for most people, some outfits were meant for professional engagements and some outfits were meant for the club... remember how to differentiate between the two.


2 - Force yourself to get a few points across to your audience, ensure you control the conversation enough to be remembered.

This is incredibly important to remember. Try to craft words that carry value and impact. Your passion will differentiate you from the mob. Develop your 30-second elevator speech: speak in a way that will promote others to define you as unique. Take interest in the people you meet, allowing them to relay their own interests, share control of the conversation, but do not let the conversation spiral entirely out of your control.


3 - Don't try to work the room. It is not the quantity but the quality.

Sometimes we define an effective person as someone, who has a lot of connections, we may want to reconsider that definition as someone who has the right connections. Hurrying around a room acting as a business card collector may not get us any closer to our goal, and may actually backfire. Attempting to meet too many people in one night may serve to create an impression that is arrogant, disingenuous, and worst of all, forgettable. Choosing one or two of the right people, and developing a meaningful conversation, will likely lead to valued relationships and opportunities in the future.


4. Don't limit yourself to networking events.

Create opportunities to ask questions and learn about other people. This can happen on any given day in class or clinic, you may be surprised by what you find.


5. Prepare to stay in touch. Follow up. Make a point of contacting people whom you met within a day or two either by phone or email.

This is the final and critical step in the process, and the easiest step to drop the ball. Use social media as your tool rather than simply your entertainment. Connect with people and send them a note on Facebook or email, and for the times you wish to make a more genuine impact, call them and engage in a short conversation or send an actual note in the mail.


So, how is ASDA “whatever you want it to be”? ASDA connects people, and connection with others is truly the first step to following your passion. Having the right people in your corner will mean increased success. Whether your goal is service, advocacy, specialization, or other professional development, ASDA can help get you there.


Too access Dr. Bauer's full presentation as well as many other great presentation from 2014 NLC just click here.


~Benjamin Toliver Matthews, Class of 2018, Colorado ASDA Member

Learning to Focus on the Future Goal

NLC 2014 D9 I had the opportunity to attend ASDA's National Leadership Conference over Halloween weekend and I found the experience so rewarding. Through the course of my dental school career I lost sight of the ultimate goal. I was constantly focusing on always getting great grades and I struggled through every dental class. This conference reminded me that no matter how draining dental school is, I believe that I am going to be a great dentist in the future. During the conference, I met a variety of dental students from across the country and I received advice from them that I will forever be grateful for. For instance, I have almost no confidence when I see a patient for a simple cleaning. I also happen to be a very emotional person and the first patient I ever saw was a complete disaster. Kevin, a third year at Midwestern in Arizona, shared the experiences that he has had with his patients. It turns out that I am not the only one who has had the same trouble communicating with patients. While in school I am so focused with learning how to make a denture that I forget about the future that is ahead once I graduate. I attended lectures that included training on how to lead a dental team in a private practice setting and on how to manage inevitable financial debt. During the conference I learned how to be a better leader. I gathered with students from other ASDA chapters and we shared ideas on how to improve chapter activities and fundraising. I walked into the conference with a limited sense of what ASDA actually is and I learned that ASDA is the voice of the student dental community. I left the conference with ASDA fever to say the least and I can't wait to become even more involved.

~Lauren Llorente, Class of 2017, Orientation Coordinator for Colorado ASDA