My initial thoughts after being accepted to dental school were filled with uncertainty regarding the type of experience awaiting me, the connections I would make, and the opportunities destined for a minority student amidst a cohort of 140 classmates. A profound sense of reassurance washed over me after learning that Midwestern CDMI was initiating its inaugural SNDA chapter during my first year. For me, SNDA embodies a sanctuary, a platform for service, a realm of advocacy, a hub for networking, and so much more. This organization has brought about substantial positive change for individuals who share our backgrounds, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to contribute to its enduring legacy.
It is hard to encapsulate what SNDA exactly means to me by using only a few words. During my dental school journey, SNDA has not only helped to make me a better scholar, but it has provided me with the resources and opportunities to make all my dreams into a reality. Through the support of SNDA, I was able to establish the first USNDA chapter on the campus of Michigan State University that provided social, leadership, academic, and volunteer opportunities to its members. I was able to attend the SNDA national conference where I got to make connections, meet fellow colleagues who look like me, and become more enthralled with this career path that I have chosen. SNDA to me is about building lifelong relationships with individuals who become like family. It is about supporting one another to achieve any goals you may have. It is about a community built on the principles of diversity, equality, and inclusion. Lastly, SNDA has helped mold me into the thought-provoking student clinician that I try to be today. I have been able to see first-hand where SNDA has taken me so far and I can only imagine where it will take me during the pursuit of my future aspirations.
Being a part of SNDA has been a pivotal part of my dental school experience. During my first year of dental school I was nervous about starting this journey miles away from home, but SNDA evolved into my home away from home. Through SNDA I found community, unwavering support, invaluable mentorship, growth through leadership, and lifelong friendships. For these reasons and more, I’ll always be grateful for SNDA and my SNDA family!
SNDA has done wonders for me throughout my dental career. It’s given me lifelong connections and a strong foundation of people I can truly call family. Amongst the grind and beast that is dental school, SNDA keeps me grounded and connected to those that look like me within dentistry. This organization has given me the space to be myself and has introduced me to a welcoming and professional community. Its emphasis on mentorship and its cultivation of such a supportive culture and environment has been incredibly fulfilling to me. As a young African American man in this discipline, SNDA has given me an immeasurable network and memories that I’ll take with me everywhere.