Beyond Dental School: Students Experience Live Learning at Annual Scientific Session in DC
The AACD Awarded several promising dental students the opportunity to attend the 28th Annual Scientific Session in Washington, DC, at no charge. From left: Laura Tulga, Alec Zurek, Kallie Law, and Michael Cheng.
“Eye-opening” was just one of the words this year’s AACD APEX recipients used to describe their experience at this year’s annual scientific session in DC.

For the second year in a row, the AACD awarded several promising dental students tuition, lodging and airfare to the session, and a one-year membership in the AACD, on behalf of the APEX Student Scholarship Award.
This year's winners are: Kallie Law, University of Alabama Birmingham; Michael Cheng, University of Illinois; Alec Zurek, University of Illinois; Laura Tulga, Medical University of South Carolina; Damir Konakovic, Malmo University (Sweden); and Taylor King, University of Tennessee.
Students were awarded the scholarships based on their applications, which required letters of recommendation and an essay about cosmetic dentistry.
Several students shared their experiences at the session with the AACD.

King’s experience in Washington, DC, was so rewarding that he’s already signed up for next year’s session in Seattle.

“It was exciting to see dentistry done at a higher level than I’ve been exposed to in dental school,” said King. “It gives me a higher standard to try to achieve.” King also mentioned that he was impressed by the relationships and camaraderie fostered within the AACD.
Zurek was grateful for the number of people he met while at the conference.
“I was fortunate to meet both great dentists and great people at this recent conference. [Dr. Paul Landman and Dr. Dean Lodding] were very inspiring and encouraging with my early involvement in the AACD, and welcomed me to shadow at their current practices near where I live in the Chicagoland area,” said Alec Zurek, another recipient.  “I was very appreciative of their personal interaction, knowing how instrumental they have proven to be within the AACD and organized dentistry. I also had the opportunity to meet [AACD Immediate Past President] Dr. John Sullivan and [AACD Director of Strategic Partnerships] Jeff Roach, who played a direct role with my receiving of the scholarship. Aside from being both remarkable people, I feel particularly indebted to them for this amazing experience.”

For Law, DC was full of “small world” networking moments.
“I literally bumped into one of my part-timing attendees for my GPR next year standing in line registering for courses,” she said. “While at lunch, on two different days, I met dentists who had children attending college at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. Columbia, South Carolina, is where I'm doing my residency. Both of the dentist's children have interests in dentistry so we swapped email address. Their children will come shadow me next year in my residency!”

For more information about the APEX award, click here.