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Dentistry student one of 10 selected for Academic Dental Career fellowship

Mar. 11, 2014

Third-year IU School of Dentistry student Allison Scully could find herself with some interesting career options in the not-too-distant future, thanks to an intriguing honors program from the American Dental Education Association and its ADEAGies Foundation.

“Allison

Allison Scully reviews a version of a poster she plans to present with pediatric dentistry professor Dr. Joan Kowolik later this month at an American Dental Association meeting in San Antonio.

Scully is one of 10 students, residents and fellows attending U.S. and Canadian dental schools and hygiene programs selected for a 2014 ADEAGies Foundation/AADR Academic Dental Careers Fellowship. The foundation tackles oral health care problems by encouraging excellence in dental education, research and patient care.

As part of the fellowship, Scully will work closely with School of Dentistry pediatric dentistry faculty member Dr. Joan Kowolik and other instructors to get an inside view of the day-to-day experiences of faculty members in academic dental institutions.

Dental education is one of the career options that Scully is considering, making feedback from dentists who began teaching early in their careers valuable to her. But she also would like to learn from dentists who began teaching after they established themselves in private practice.

The St. Louis native, who in 2011 earned a bachelor's degree in bioengineering from Rice University in Houston, believes the dental school is preparing her for a variety of career choices.

“The first two years of the program are spent mostly on didactic and preclinical lab coursework,” Scully said. “The third and fourth years are spent mostly treating patients and taking advanced dental courses."

Scully appreciated the support she received from the school in conjunction with the program.

“Faculty members were very encouraging and helpful when I applied for this fellowship,” she said. “It was a real team effort to submit all the required materials by the time I decided to apply.”

She is intrigued by the opportunity to gain insight on the teaching process in her chosen profession.

“I will have the opportunity to work closely with many of School of Dentistry’s faculty members to gain insights into the benefits and drawbacks of a career in academics,” Scully said. “I am interested in how faculty member’s responses are different depending on if they had a career in private practice or are young career academics.”

Scully also has enjoyed the benefits of another IUSD tradition: service learning, a role she has enjoyed as a scholar in IUPUI’s Sam H. Jones Community Service Scholarship Program.

“The program allows me to explore education through the perspective of educating the community about oral health,” Scully said.

As a Sam H. Jones scholar, Scully traveled to Lawrenceburg High School in southern Indiana to help students there start their own chapter of the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation, so they could help educate elementary school students about the importance of oral health.

“All of these experiences have introduced me to various aspects of academia and helped me gain a better understanding of what my future career might be,” Scully noted.

She also has benefitted from the School of Dentistry’s predoctoral research efforts. Scully helped present a study associated with reconstruction of large craniofacial defects at the dental school’s 2013 IUPUI Research Day program.

Her service learning and research have heightened her awareness of the value of teamwork, especially in dental school.

“I have always enjoyed helping other students,” Scully said. “One day I realized that a career in academics would be the perfect combination of dentistry, teaching and research.”

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