Mouthing Off had the opportunity host a Q&A session with ASDA President Corywn Hopke, a 3rd year dental student at Columbia University. Many relevant and interesting topics were covered. Please read the May issue of ASDA News coming out in a few weeks to see the following questions answered.
Mouthing Off: How did you first become involved in ASDA?
Corwyn Hopke: I ran for first year class ASDA rep against two classmates, Nima Rohani and Marvin Abarca, who were involved in their predental chapters. I didn’t expect to win; I was primarily trying to increase my visibility to later apply for the legislative liaison position. Some unsubstantiated rumors spread that Nima hated puppies and Marvin hated kittens and I ended up winning. I am proud to say that during my entire tenure with Columbia ASDA, no puppies or kittens were harmed.
My first national involvement came at Annual Session in Scottsdale, Arizona. For various reasons unrelated to my penchant for talking about rules of order, I frequently found myself separated from the rest of the Columbia delegation. The delegation from the Medical College of Georgia, quickly joined by the rest of Districts 4 and 5, took me under their wing and ensured that I always felt welcome. That was my first exposure to the virus that causes ASDA Fever.
MO: What do you foresee as being the toughest task as ASDA president?
CH: My toughest task will be convincing the director of senior clinic that I’m still a dental student. The second toughest task is maintaining year-long momentum. Energy levels are always very high after Annual Session and the Regional Meetings. This year, regional meeting attendees will find ready-made projects and tools to bring home to their chapters while they are still in the acute phase of ASDA Fever.
MO: What is ASDA doing right? What is ASDA’s strongest attribute?
CH: After reviewing the budget, ASDA can’t afford enough pages to list all the things we’re doing right. How’s that for a political answer? I’m also not going to discuss the strongest attribute since the answer is obvious (our membership) and too corny. Our strongest attribute that is often ignored, though, are the unelected folks without cushy sounding titles. There are a lot of them who work very hard just because they believe in the Association. I was very privileged to work with eleven of them in Baltimore. As Speaker and a candidate for President, I was very visible and got a lot of credit for my work. Most delegates, however, barely saw the efforts of the eleven delegate reviewers assisting me. They didn’t get funded, didn’t get any perks. But, they still showed up enthusiastically every morning of Annual Session to make sure the meeting ran well. Their only reward was the satisfaction of a job well done and the undying gratitude of the Speaker. The most inspiring thing about ASDA is that every single national leader has their own, barely overlapping list of amazing volunteers.
The list of unsung ASDA heroes also must include all the staff. The time stamps on my emails would frighten most employees. The only statement I typed more than “thank you” was “why are you still awake at this hour?!” Nobody ever understands “ASDA Fever” until they attend a national meeting and the reason is simple: the level of passion, drive and commitment shown by our staff and volunteers is simply unheard of nowadays.
MO: Being the only Professional Registered Parliamentarian in dental school, how did you become interested in the profession of dentistry?
CH: My entrance to the field of dentistry was unrelated to my studies as a parliamentarian. It’s also not as interesting as you might expect from a story that long. I can instead regale you with some of the similarities between dentistry and parliamentary procedure. Both are perceived to be painful but in reality relieve pain. Both use a great amount of creativity to generate order. And, finally, both involve the use of tools that can also be used as weapons. Surprisingly, when used properly, a Gracey 13/14 is cleaner than a gavel.
MO: If you had to choose the presidential dinner/dance theme right now for Best Week Ever 2011 (ASDA Annual Session in Anaheim), what would it be?
CH: I really want to see (Meetings Manager and avid Patriots fan) Linda Cooper wearing a green Curtis Martin jersey, so for now I’m going to have to say a New York Jets theme. That theme is subject to change pending her counter threat.