School News

Posted on: Friday, 06/24/2016

Congratulations to the Class of 2016

On Sunday, June 5, the School of Dentistry bid farewell to the Class of 2016 at the 49th Commencement Ceremony, which took place at Royce Hall where 107 students received their D.D.S. degrees, 16 trainees received their M.S in Oral Biology degree and five trainees received their Ph.D. in Oral Biology degree. The graduates, their guests, and faculty members heard UCLA Chancellor Gene Block give a heartfelt commencement speech. Class President, Eric Chen ‘16, addressed the students and wished them well in their future endeavors. At the ceremony, the dental school also recognized this year’s Distinguished Faculty Member of the Year, Dr. Paulo Camargo.

This commencement ceremony was especially significant to Dean No-Hee Park, who will step down as dean at the end of the ’15-’16 fiscal year. This was the last ceremony he will oversee as the standing dean.

On behalf of the UCLA School of Dentistry, we would like to congratulate all the newly minted graduates on their achievements and wish them well in their future careers.

First, Second & Honorable Mention for UCLA Dental Students

In Anaheim, Calif. at this past spring’s annual CDA Presents session, three of our dental students placed in the Table Clinic and Research Poster competition. The competition gives dental and auxiliary students, residents and military dentists an opportunity to exhibit their innovative ideas and talents in the field of dentistry.

The winners included:

  • Eric Chen '16, 1st place in the Clinic Category Table Clinic
  • Grant Nishimura '18, 2nd place in the Scientific Category Table Clinic
  • Edwin Eshaghzadeh '18, honorable mention in the Scientific Category Table Clinic

For a complete overview of the competition, please refer to the following article.

Building Leadership Qualities

The 2016 Dean’s Leadership Institute culminated this past April after three months of weekly evening sessions. Thirteen third- and fourth-year dental students participated in the annual professional development program, which creates an intimate learning environment for students who have exhibited leadership qualities throughout their dental school training. This year, students had the opportunity to hear from a retired judge, a media consultant, a financial expert, and other leaders of industry. The following students are commended for their participation in the institute and are pictured below.

Back row, left to right: John Sun, Krishna Desai, Josh Vert, Amir Tadros, Ouzhan Kalantari, Steve Kelson, Danny Hadaya, Shyam Indrakanti, and Jean Kang.
Front row, left to right: Ogo Olele, Diana Wang, Dr. Ron Mito, Dean No-Hee Park, Ashley Ingram, and Sara Ehsani.

Steven Petritz Receives Delta Dental Award

Recent D.D.S. graduate, Steven C. Petritz '16, received a Delta Dental student leadership award – an award established in 1977 that recognizes graduating dental students who demonstrate outstanding leadership qualities. While at UCLA, Steven held multiple leadership roles in the UCLA chapter of the American Student Dental Association. He also participated in the aforementioned Dean’s Leadership Institute as well as the Asahi-UCLA-Meikai student exchange program.

Steven was one of six California dental students to be awarded $20,000 and one of 60 students to be recognized nationwide. In the fall, Steven will start his postgraduate training in orthodontics at the Virginia Commonwealth University at Richmond. He plans to use the award money to help defray costs during his residency program as well as starting a savings account for his 11-month old daughter.

 “I am very honored to be recognized by the UCLA School of Dentistry and Delta Dental for such a prestigious award. The UCLA faculty have been exceptional these past four years and I cannot thank them enough for all of their encouragement and support,” Steven stated.

Steven, pictured at center, receiving the Delta Dental Award. From left to right: John Yamamoto, D.D.S., M.P.H., Vice President of Professional Services at Delta Dental of California; Steven C. Petritz; and Ronald S. Mito, D.D.S., F.D.S R.C.S.Ed., Executive Associate Dean for Academic Programs and Personnel and Professor of Clinical Dentistry at the UCLA School of Dentistry.

Operation Bruin Smiles Surpasses Campaign Goal

The D.D.S. students, who run Operation Bruin Smiles, blew past their goal to raise $10,000 in 30 days through the UCLA crowdfunding tool, UCLA Spark. In fact, they raised a total of $22,635, which will help offset the costs of quality dental care for UCLA student veterans and/or former foster youth. The program also provides an opportunity for students in these historically underrepresented populations to learn more about pursuing a career in the field of dentistry. 

Cofounders of the program, Brian Lehigh ‘16 and Tigon Abalos ’16, along with Michelle Lin ‘18, kicked off the campaign on April 17, and successfully hit their UCLA Spark campaign goal of $10,000 in their allotted 30-day timeframe. Gifts from donors such Bien-Air, Inc., the Westwood Village Rotary Club, and a matching gift from Dean No-Hee Park helped put the dental students over their goal.

On behalf of the UCLA School of Dentistry, congratulations to Operation Bruin Smiles on hitting their campaign goal and thank you to all the donors who helped contribute to their successes.