Insights on becoming an ASDA national leader

Are you interested in applying for an ASDA national leadership position? Do you have questions about what council work entails? Here, four national leaders answer questions about what it’s like serving at the national leadership level.

Why did you apply for a national ASDA position? How would you describe the application process?

Joell Chen, Roseman ’21, Council on Professional Issues Associate: I served as the district 10 chair on communications during my D2 year and was inspired to continue my ASDA involvement on the national level. The application process was pretty straightforward. It’s all online and includes a few short answer responses and you have to include your current CV. I also spoke to previous national ASDA leaders at my school to hear what their day-to-day involvement actually looked like.

Janae Momchilovich, Marquette ’21, Council on Advocacy Legislative Coordinator, Districts 6-7: I wanted to apply for a national position because I caught ASDA Fever at my chapter and wanted to make a bigger impact within ASDA. The application process was pretty streamlined. The most difficult part was putting together my CV, but thanks to breakout sessions at NLC, I had some guidance! The application was a great opportunity to showcase my passion for the position I was applying for.

Stephanie Sforza, Ohio State ’20, Council on Membership Chair: I was interested in a national ASDA position after my friend and district trustee suggested I apply. I had served in various roles at the local and district levels in previous years and was excited about using what I gained from my experience in those positions to have an even greater impact. The application process seemed daunting at first, but it was easier than expected once I got started! 

Callista Schulenberg, LECOM ’22, Editorial Board Electronic Editor: I found out about the editorial board and national ASDA leadership positions during NLC in 2018 when I was a first-year. My chapter president introduced me to Kai Huang, who was our district 5 trustee at the time, and we talked about writing and a blog project I have been running in my free time since undergrad. He encouraged me to apply to the ASDA Editorial Board, and the rest was history! 

Why did you choose your specific leadership position?

Joell: The ASDA Council on Professional Issues’ mission statement addresses a number of topics I find the most engaging as a current student. These include community service, ethics, diversity and inclusion. As a council associate, I love helping build initiatives that enrich people’s dental school experiences!

Janae: I chose my specific position because I have always had an interest in advocacy. It’s so important to stay up-to-date on the topics relevant to dentistry that are brought up in the political world. Being part of the ASDA Council on Advocacy allows me to be at the front lines of newly released legislation and to stay active in shaping the future of dentistry.

Stephanie: The ASDA Council on Membership was appealing to me mostly because of the work the executive team and I had done at Ohio State the prior year to ramp up membership and engagement at our non-auto-enroll chapter. I found that I loved sharing my “why ASDA” story and helping other dental students see the value of an ASDA membership.

Callista: I chose to apply to the ASDA Editorial Board because I have loved the written word since I could read and hold a pencil (or I guess it was a crayon!) When I found out about the opportunity to combine my love for dentistry and writing, I knew I had stumbled across something truly special. 

How has your position enriched your life?

Joell: If you ask any national leader, he or she will likely list community as one of the best aspects of leadership. We have a unique opportunity to partner and make connections across the country. Dental school can sometimes make me focus on myself more than I realize, but national ASDA brings me a broader perspective on issues that affect our generation of students. 

Janae: Aside from learning more about advocacy, I have learned about being a leader. Since I am overseeing two districts, I have had to become the contact point for various leaders. Managing the different responsibilities between being a chapter leader, a national leader and a dental student has also helped me manage my time and improve my communication skills. Having a national position also has allowed me to increase my networking circle, thus increasing my ASDA Fever and making me that much more excited to have dentistry as my future career.

Stephanie: The two greatest things I’ve received through this position are the incredible people that I’ve met and the opportunity to stretch myself further as a leader. 

Callista: Being an electronic editor has not only helped me with my own writing and ability to edit professionally, but it has allowed me to learn how the editorial and publication process works for a national organization such as ASDA. Each day, I look forward to working with student authors from all over the country. Reading their stories and learning about their perspectives is truly an honor that I won’t ever take for granted. I love working for ASDA Blog, and this year is one I will remember and look back on fondly for the rest of my life! 

Applications for the 2020-21 national ASDA leadership cycle are now open. Deadline for submissions is Dec. 15.

~Shilpa Kudva, Texas A&M ’21

Shilpa Kudva

Shilpa Kudva, Texas A&M '21, attended Southern Methodist University for her undergraduate studies. She has served as legislative liaison for her ASDA chapter and as an ASDA electronic editor. In her free time, she loves to play her flute, read fiction novels and cycle.

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