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The Class of 2013 Joins the Professional Ranks

Written by Adam Zewe

The Class of 2013 officially joined the professions of dentistry and dental hygiene at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry Honors Convocation on May 17. During the ceremony, 124 dental students were hooded and 36 hygiene students received pins, acknowledging their future careers as oral health care professionals.

Dean Christian S. Stohler, DMD, DrMedDent, congratulated the students for their outstanding achievements and, on behalf of the faculty, expressed confidence that they will excel in their careers. "We are proud to celebrate this day with you," he remarks.

Alumni Association President Ngoc Chu, DDS '88, encouraged the graduates to remember their professional family members as they advance in their careers. John Patterson, DDS '64, chairman of the Board of Visitors, had this simple advice to share with the Class of 2013: "Take a chance," he says. Juheon Seung, DDS '13, president of the Student Dental Association, acknowledged committed family members who supported students during their academic journey. "To our parents and friends, I'd like to say that I'm sorry it has taken us so long to get a real job," he jokes.

Also during the ceremony, Dean Stohler granted the status of professor emeritus to Professor Norman Capra, PhD, and Professor Elaine Romberg, PhD. In addition, The Frank J. Sinnreich Jr. Excellence in Teaching Award was presented to Professor Howard Strassler, DMD. Dean Stohler also honored Stanley Block, DDS '58, with the 2013 Dean's Achievement Award. Dr. Block is a dedicated volunteer on the Dean's Faculty, former president of the Alumni Association and current member of the UMSOD Board of Visitors. "With this award, we recognize your dedication to our school and our students," remarks Dean Stohler.

He took the opportunity to honor the life of dental student Matthew Austin, who passed away in March. Dean Stohler presented Matthew's hood to his parents, Kim Fink and Brett Austin, in remembrance of their son.

The ceremony was bittersweet for Alexandra Biga, DDS '13, who says she will miss the close friendships she built with classmates and faculty members. This fall, Biga will begin a general practice residency program at Harvard Cambridge Health Alliance in Boston, Mass. "I'm looking forward to contributing to society through my career as a dentist," she states.

For Brett Kingma, DDS '13, the future beyond graduation looks very bright. He is looking forward to completing a pediatric residency program at Children's Hospital in Aurora, Colo. "This day feels surreal. It was a long time coming. While dental school has been the most awesome four years that I've had, I never want to do them again," remarks Kingma.

Tammy Reavis, RDH '13, is ready to begin her career as a hygienist in eastern Maryland. "I'm going to miss the security of school and the knowledge that there's always someone there to help me, but I'm very excited for what my future holds," she says.

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