Friday, March 22, 2013

Day 198: ASDA Annual Session 2013

From March 6-8, 2013, I had the distinct privilege of representing my school at the 2013 ASDA Annual Session in Atlanta, Georgia. Otherwise known as "Best Week Ever", Annual Session was jam-packed with events. There were events such as House of Delegates Meeting, free product samples at the vendor fair, informative workshops, networking events, sponsored dinners, award ceremonies, and executive board elections. 

Our first meal in Atlanta - southern styled baby back ribs! 
The week started on an inspirational note with a moving speech from keynote speaker Kyle Maynard. Kyle is a congenital quadruple amputee – meaning he was born without arms or legs below his elbows and knees. Despite his apparent disabilities, he made a name for himself as an award-winning mixed martial arts athlete. In addition, he became the first quadruple amputee to reach the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro without assistance. “No excuses,” he stated as he recounted his 19,340 feet crawl up to the summit of Kilimanjaro. Everyone has a disability. Some are more apparent than others. Kyle Maynard challenged us with a powerful question – “what is one excuse you have that is keeping you from reaching your highest human potential?”  

An important component of Annual Session is the election of your new ASDA Executive Board. After many rounds of speeches and stringent interviews, During Annual Session, we elected the members of the 2013 – 2014 ASDA Executive Board. Congratulations to president Jiwon Lee (Columbia ’14), vice-presidents Tyler Rumple (Washington ’14) and Martin Smallidge (Pittsburgh ’14), and speaker of the house Gabriel Holdwich (Detroit Mercy ’14)! In addition, we also elected our new District 11 Trustee – Kris Mendoza (UCLA ’15). These elected representatives will be working tirelessly during the upcoming year to serve as the a voice of for dental students on a national level.

My friends from the Western University ASDA Chapter won the "Rookie Chapter of the Year" award!

Annual Session also gave me a glimpse of democracy in action. During the House of Delegates meetings, we debated for hours on end about important policies pertaining to ASDA. In these sessions, we also voted on and set association policies. Important policies that were adopted during Annual Session include:
  • Establishment of three new ASDA chapters: AT-Still University (Missouri), University of New England, and University of Utah.
  • Amendment to ASDA’s L1 Licensure Pathway policy, which supports the creation of a universal non-patient based licensure examination.
  • A $5 increase in ASDA annual membership dues to be implemented in 2015.
  • Policy encouraging all US CODA-accredited dental schools to provide instruction on effective dental assistant utilization.
Voting on resolutions at the House of Delegates meeting
The University of Southern California ASDA delegation.

With over 400 dental students from 62 dental schools across the nation in attendance, Annual Session provided an amazing opportunity to expand our network. I met a variety of diverse dental students from all over the country. I also got to spend quality time with many of the dental students from District 11. The highlight of the week was definitely the President’s Gala, which was held on our last night in Atlanta. The gala honored our ASDA immediate-past president, Colleen Greene (Harvard ’13), for her work on behalf of ASDA throughout the past year.

Hanging out with awesome friends from Pacific. 
Then there were the intangibles - the unique experiences that made annual session so amazing. Meeting a variety of amazing friends from across the country. Watching an Atlanta Hawks basketball game from the lower level for only $15 (this DOESN'T HAPPEN at the Staples Center). Walking through "Underground Atlanta" with a bunch of dental students and stumbling upon a gold grillz shop. Sitting by the hotel pool and eating gyros at 4am in the morning with new friends from dental schools across California. Dancing the night away at the President's Gala on our last night in Atlanta. 

I won a new high speed hand piece courtesy of Patterson Dental.
District 11 dinner at Der Biergarten
Strolling through Atlanta at night with friends from UCLA, Pacific, and Loma Linda. Some random girl (the one in the front) popped into our picture. 
Saw a ton of Cinderella carriages in Atlanta. Is this supposed to be a thing in Atlanta? 

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