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Shawndra Cannon, RDH '14, Honored for Community Service

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Written by Adam Zewe

Shawndra Cannon, RDH '14, has received the Patricia Stearns Award. The annual award, which recognizes a senior dental hygiene student for academic achievement and commitment to community service, includes a $3,000 scholarship. "It is an honor to receive this award and be recognized for helping others," states Cannon.

"Shawndra reflects the qualities of professionalism, service and dedication to the profession exemplified by Ms. Stearns, the first director of the Division of Dental Hygiene at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry," states Marion Manski, RDH, MS, director of the dental hygiene program.

Cannon, who serves as president of the dental hygiene Class of 2014, has made community service her priority. One of her most rewarding volunteer experiences was serving as co-coordinator for a team of hygiene students who volunteered each month at the Ronald McDonald House in Baltimore. "That was a great opportunity to talk to people in the community and provide a meal and a support system for people in need," states Cannon.

By volunteering, Cannon has also developed stronger dental hygiene skills. During Sealant Saturday, an annual outreach event at the UMSOD Perryville Clinic, Cannon learned how to communicate with kids to ease their fears about dental treatments. She also sharpened her hygiene skills while volunteering at Mission of Mercy, a two-day event where dental care providers offer free treatments to underserved patients in western Maryland. "It was great to be able to give back with the skills that I have. Sometimes, we take our abilities for granted. Our skills may not seem like a big deal to us, but they could mean the difference between life and death for some people," Cannon says.

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