AAWD at the University of Florida
President: Michelle Thomas, Class of 2017
University of Florida AAWD Women at our Annual Initiation Dinner 

It has been an incredibly productive school year thus far for the ladies of the University of  Florida Chapter of AAWD full of socials, community service, networking, fundraising, recognition, and travel.

Our initiation dinner was the largest it has ever been to date, resulting in the doubling of our membership for 2016. Our increase in membership has made our organization one of the strongest and most well known on the UF Dental campus and we couldn’t be more excited about our progress. Despite the increase, we are so thankful to have been able to continue working with Patterson Dental who sponsors our Pearls of Wisdom Dinner where all members were welcomed to partake in a delicious 3-course meal while learning about aspects of dentistry we don’t typically touch on in the classroom. During the dinner we were given the opportunity to pick the brain of a local woman dentist as well. This year we also worked with Patterson to begin a new upper- classman study club to further delve into topics of business, associateships, and more.

For the second year, we hosted our Girl Scout Patch program developed last year by current president, Michelle Thomas, for the local girl scouts of our area. During the program, members work with girl scouts to help them learn about proper oral hygiene, what to expect from a trip to the dentist, basic tooth anatomy, and nutrition all while earning a fun dental health patch. The program is a blast for all involved and we are excited not only to continue this in the future but to share the program with other chapters very soon.

In order to recognize the dental achievements met this year by all of our members, we started a new initiative called “milestone gifts.” We identified major milestones met each year by our members: the first operative psycho- motor for the D1s, Boards Part 1 for D2s, White Coat for D3s, and Graduation for D4s. Upon each milestone, the members are given a small gift. For example, D2s were given good luck “boards bows” – a hair bow to be worn for good luck, where as D3s were given wire hangers that spelled white coat to commemorate the achievement. As dental students, we all know the level of hard work required and believe these small tokens not only further unify us as an
organization, but keep us smiling during some of the harder times in dental school.

Finally, for the first time ever UF AAWD was able to send members to this year’s AAWD Annual Meeting which took place in Washington D.C.. We sent 4 women – Michelle Thomas, our president, Annie Siassipour, our vice president, Rosa Wu, our historian, and Gina Nicoloso, a general member. We feel so fortunate to have been welcomed not only to the student portion of the meeting but to the dental portion as well, teeming with CE and networking opportunities. We had a blast meeting student leaders from other school chapters as well as some very strong and inspiring female dentists. In addition to the AAWD events we were all able to attend some ADA CE, the New Dentist reception, and explore our Nation’s Capital. We can not thank AAWD and the University of Florida College of Dentistry enough for opening up this opportunity to us and we are looking forward to making this a long-standing tradition.

As a growing chapter, we are so excited to have been able to uphold old traditions while creating new ones along the way and can’t wait for what the second half of the school year will bring!