I am ecstatic to share my research experiences and lessons with you! To start, I am corn fed Midwestern, born and raised in Kansas, moved to Missouri for my undergraduate degree, and headed west for a goldmine of knowledge in San Francisco at UCSF to pursue my DDS. Currently, I live in Bethesda, Maryland. “Why?” I have taken a year between my clinical training years at UCSF to do research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Specifically, I am apart of the NIH Medical Research Scholars Program (MRSP) and am doing research at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.
My name is Lydia Lancaster, a third year student at The Ohio State University College of Dentistry and the humbled recipient of the ASDA Ryan Turner Memorial Scholarship. I write to tell you today that anyone can be a leader. Yes, including you.
My path to organized dentistry is a winding one. Born and raised in a farming community in Southeast Missouri, I was a small-town girl with big dreams of pursuing a career in health care. After high school, I moved to Memphis, Tenn., where I attended Rhodes College, a small liberal arts college. Those four years taught me to be a lifelong learner and a contributing citizen of the world, especially in the form of service.
The dental degree in Nigeria is a bachelor of dental surgery (BDS) degree. It’s a 6-year program that doesn’t require an undergraduate degree. A school year starts in January and ends in December with only one break during Christmas. During the first four years, basic medical science subjects are taught. We attend lectures with our medical school colleagues during our second through fourth years. Anatomy (where we dissect cadavers), biochemistry, physiology pathology, hematology, microbiology, oral biology, pharmacology and epidemiology are some of the classes that we take.
In the second part of the fourth year we have a junior operative technique course, which involves an introduction to prosthetic and conservative dentistry. We have to make a complete denture and prepare Class I and II cavity preps. For a class of 49 pupils there are only five working phantom heads available for practice of cavity preparation and one slow hand piece shared between five students. Read more to see how I faced a day in dental school…
Like many dental students, I studied biology in college and did research and worked in a lab. Once dental school starts though, getting involved in an entirely new arena of research can be daunting and can stop students from doing it. Despite that, I still wanted to be involved. I believe that research is the foundation of all disciplines. Our field has been able to advance thanks to new innovations inspired by dentists, and dental scientists who dared to ask questions and pursued the answers. I wanted to be apart of that.
Beauty pageants aren’t my thing, but scholarship pageants are. As a 22 year-old dental student, you might wonder why I would be involved with the Miss America Organization and how I juggle my ASDA commitments and studies. Nine times out of 10, I believe that living in the present and following passions is more valuable than sticking to a rigid schedule. I picked up this mentality from the Miss America Organization.