A Day of Discovery

Photo Credit: Jim Thomas, School of Dentistry

 UMKC Dental Explorer Post Hosts Students

The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry’s practice labs recently hosted 85 high school students interested in the profession, providing an opportunity for them to experience dentistry up close and personal.

The UMKC Dental Research Explorer Post on Feb. 8 hosted students through organizations including Children’s Mercy Medical Explorer Post, Latinos of Tomorrow, Avanzando Scholars, the Learning Institute Pipeline Program, University Academy, UMKC Admission Enhancement Program, Prep Kansas City and Kuwait Pre-Dentistry Program.

The would-be dentists participated in hands-on activities that exposed them to real-world dentistry. About 20 members of the U.S. Naval Reserves were on hand to mentor the participants as they practiced IV insertion on mannequins and suturing (on chicken breasts). Also, UMKC dental students who are members of the Student National Dental Association/Hispanic Student Dental Association (SNDA/HSDA) instructed the participants as they practiced drilling and filling teeth and making dental impressions — all on plastic models.

The event was organized by John Cottrell, director of Minority and Special Programs at the School of Dentistry. Cottrell has served as adviser to the Dental Research Explorer Post for the past 23 years of the Post’s 32-year history. Two members of the U.S. Naval Reserves assisted Cottrell in planning the event:  Derek Williams, DDS, MS, an associate professor of Restorative Dentistry as the School of Dentistry; and Obie Austin, RN, MSN, BC, ANP, a clinical instructor at the School of Nursing and Health Studies.

The UMKC Dental Explorer Post hosts participants from throughout the Kansas City area five or six Saturdays during the academic year and explores all aspects of the dental profession. The two-hour sessions feature a presentation by a dental faculty member or a graduate student, followed by hands-on experiences in the preclinical laboratory directed by SNDA/HSDA members. The next meeting will be March 8.

The Post enables participants to:

  • Gain first-hand knowledge about dentistry from dental students and dental professionals.
  • Understand the requirements and application process for admission into college and dental school.
  • Get to know the faculty, staff and students at the UMKC School of Dentistry so they can get to know Post members personally as potential dental students.
  • Interface with peers as well as current dental students and faculty.
  • Experience the depth and breadth of the dental profession by performing hands-on preclinical laboratory projects.
  • Learn from former Dental Research Explorer Post members who have become dental students at the UMKC School of Dentistry.

For more information about the UMKC Dental Research Explorer Post, contact John Cottrell at (816) 235-2085.

Photo Credit: Jim Thomas, School of Dentistry

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