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As I booked my travel for Annual Session 2017 it suddenly hit me! My term as Vice President was quickly coming to a close. The year has been booked with countless meetings, phone calls, and travel opportunities. The thought of it actually coming to an end never really crossed my mind. Serving as a member of the Executive Committee has added an extremely unique layer to my dental education. Prior to dental school I would have never considered myself a politically savvy person, or even someone with a strong awareness for policy. But now I had a reason. I wanted to make sure that if I desired to be a leader for students, I would be well informed with a strong voice.
This year, the Executive Committee continued to advocate for alternative pathways to licensure. We engaged with leaders from many different professional groups. While differing views continue to exist, we are seeing progress in acceptance of a better system. We also represented student concerns for the newly introduced ADAT exam in 2016. With an ever-changing landscape in education and the profession, it has been encouraging to know that student voices have a seat at the table!
This experience has not been limited to policy change and advocacy though. Having the opportunity to travel to district meetings and various dental schools throughout the country has perhaps, been my favorite part. I’ve met so many impressive dental students who care deeply about this profession. I was recently talking to a fellow ASDA leader about the friendships we are so fortunate to make as members of ASDA. We may see one another only a handful of times each year, but the common bond we share allows us to build such a meaningful connection. This year, we increased the size of our community by welcoming a new dental school to our family. I had the chance to meet with this chapter, and it was eye-opening to see the opportunities and challenges that come with a fresh start!
As Vice President, I had the honor of chairing the Council on Sessions, which is responsible for planning Annual Session. This year Annual Session will be held in Orlando, Florida with the theme of, “Believe in the Magic.” Annual Session is a time for all members of ASDA to get together, vote for new leaders, and make decisions that help direct the association for the coming year. We want our chosen theme to symbolize the intangible benefits of leadership development, networking and advocacy. We’re also introducing our first-ever 5k race during the conference to answer to our rapidly growing wellness initiative. Get ready for neon colors, leg warmers, and sweat bands because our “80s Glow-in-the-Dark” themed run should have ASDA members up and moving.
I am so thankful to those who elected me to this role. I’ve learned so much and I hope I’ve been able to give back at least a fraction of what I’ve taken away.
~Jordan Telin, ASDA vice president