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UMSOD Is Back in Session

Written by Adam Zewe

The ground floor buzzes with activity during the first morning of new student orientation on Aug. 10. Laughter echoes through the hallway as the 130 members of the class of 2015 meet and mingle for the first time. The school seems a little overwhelming to new student Christine Hoang, of Towson, but she is looking forward to learning dentistry. "I'm really excited for the hands-on part, in the simulation lab and the clinic. I like to make people smile," she states.

New student Vlad Damian, of Fells Point, shakes hands with a classmate. Originally a computer science major, Damian chose dentistry because he has a passion for working with people. "I'm eager to start a challenging profession. Plus, it will be rewarding to be able to help others," Damian states.

"I'm excited to have another 130 bright and talented students entering this institution to become the best dentists they can possibly be," comments Dean Christian S. Stohler, DMD, DrMedDent.

Returning students are also gearing up for the new academic year. Fourth-year student Dan Paulus sits in an empty lecture hall, flipping through a stack of flash cards. He finds it challenging to return to an academic mindset after a month-long break. "I'm looking forward to spending a lot of time working with patients in the clinic this year. It will be nice to see that I'm making a difference," Paulus says.

Dental school admissions continue to be very competitive, explains Dr. Patricia Meehan, assistant dean of admissions. The class of 2015 was drawn from 2,862 applicants, the largest applicant pool the school has ever seen. Thirty-eight students graduated from undergraduate programs with honors and 19 have earned master's degrees. "I am always excited to see how the class gels as a group and how the class collectively gains confidence as they progress through the first year," remarks Dr. Meehan.

While the new students sip coffee and introduce themselves, Dr. Andrea Morgan, dental recruitment coordinator, chats with small groups. Her goal is to instill a sense of community service in the class of 2015. "I advise students that school is a marathon, not a sprint. The best thing to do is remember how to learn. If you know the learning style that fits you best, then you can do well in any class," she explains.

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