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Omicron Kappa Upsilon inducts nine new members

National dental honor society recognizes Class of 2020 members


​The Pi Rho chapter of Omicron Kappa Upsilon (OKU) has invited nine students from the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine's DDS Class of 2020 to become members. OKU, the national dental honor society, invites new members who are graduating academically at the top of their class. 

The 2020 inductees are Kara Arceneaux, Evan Entze, Kyra Garrison, Jordan Henke, Crispin Herrick, Sam Lynass, Matthew Melcher, Matthew Michelotti and Jennifer Terrio. Communications Manager John Brunelli asked each of them about their experience at CU Dental. 

Kara Arceneaux 

Hometown: Algonquin, Illinois

B.S., Morehead State University


Why did you choose CU Dental to study dentistry? 


CU School of Dental Medicine has an excellent reputation. I was impressed with the ACTS program, the robust number of specialists at the school, and the beauty of the Anschutz Medical campus. 


What are some of your proudest accomplishments while at CU Dental? 


Without a doubt, my proudest accomplishments at CUSDM revolve around the relationships I have made. I have some of the most incredible human beings in my class. They have been a consistent source of encouragement, inspiration, and humor. Our faculty at CU are some of the most intelligent and caring people I know. I was proud and humbled when faculty chose me to receive the Oral Health Foundation Student Scholarship Award. 


What advice would you give to the cohort(s) of dental students behind you? 


Go to the optional lectures. Go to Sutton’s Study Club. Sign up for volunteer and recreational events. If time allows, stick around in clinic to pick the brains of the covering doctors. Assist a classmate when you don’t have to. You may not remember all of the information you gather, but you will form relationships that will be as valuable as your education. Each day will present new challenges, and it is normal to want to shy away from things you are not comfortable doing. Resist that urge to shy away and find comfort in being uncomfortable - you are growing. If you can lean into the discomfort and keep saying yes, you will get the most out of your short time at CU. 


Any lighthearted moments or experiences that you’d like to share? 


I may set the record for keeping a faculty member late in clinic. From clinical complications to material failure, everything that could go wrong went wrong right at 4:30 p.m. We diligently worked and tried everything we could until we got the result we needed. Dr. Kakar never uttered a word of anger and showed an amount of grace that I didn’t know was possible. Due to her kindness, compassion, and patience, the patient left smiling, and I left so thankful for her tutelage. 


The first time I had to give an injection in clinic, my hand was shaking so badly that I couldn’t even get the needle in the patient’s mouth. After two or three attempts of trying to get the needle close to where I wanted it to go, I realized that the shaking was getting worse. I got up from my chair to catch my breath and shot a look of sheer panic at my classmate, who was assisting me, Will Brown. Instead of hanging me out to dry, he stepped up and bravely gave the injection. Will wins the contest for 'Best Perio lab and T-clinic Partner.’


Evan Entze

Hometown: Beulah, North Dakota

B.A., University of Jamestown


What are some of your proudest accomplishments while at CU Dental?

 

I missed some time in 2019 due to an injury and set a goal of graduating on time with completion of a board exam. That would have been my proudest accomplishment, but achieving that goal has been delayed.

 

What advice would you give to the cohort(s) of dental students behind you?

 

Be prepared for anything, and do your best to stay positive, even when it gets really challenging due to unexpected circumstances.

 

Any lighthearted experience you’d like to share? I learned the hard way wax is difficult to clean out of scrub pants.

 

Why did you choose CU Dental to pursue your dental degree? 

 

I spent a year in Denver many years ago and wanted to return to the area.

 


Kyra Garrison

Hometown: Farmington, New Mexico

B.S., Adams State University

 

Why did you choose CU dental? 

 

I love Colorado. Having grown up in the four corners area and going to school in Alamosa, I knew I wanted to stay close to home. I participated in multiple pre-dental seminars offered by dental schools. The pre-dental day that CU provides insight into their program, the ability to speak with current students and faculty. I highly recommend going to pre-dental seminars offered by dental schools because this first-hand experience and communication solidified my decision to choose CU.  

 

What are some of your most memorable moments?

 

One of the most memorable moments during my time at CU was being able to go to Guatemala with the Trifinio project to provide dental care. I was able to build life-long friendships with my classmates. I feel as though we were able to make a difference in the lives of the patients we treated by providing dental services and oral hygiene instructions. This experience gave me a stronger appreciation and awareness of the importance of oral health literacy and the need to create a pathway for our patients to better understand their oral health. Immersing yourself in a new culture is always a life-changing and memorable experience. 

 

Advice to students behind me?

 

Consider joining groups like Delta Sig, Alpha Omega, or study groups, in general, to stay connected with students and help you study in a less stressful environment. Remember, dental school is just one part of your life, and it is important to take breaks and enjoy life.   


Jordan Henke

Hometown: Billings, Montana

B.S., University of Mary 

 

Describe some of your most memorable moments at CU Dental.


Witnessing those individual professors and faculty who went the extra mile, often unnoticed, to ensure that students continue to have excellent opportunities to develop as clinicians. Connecting with my patients, who invested a great deal of time and resources to follow through with completing their care and getting to hear their life stories along the way. Being offered heartfelt thankfulness after helping patients who had nowhere else to turn.


What are some of your proudest accomplishments while at CU Dental?


Helping to pilot an advanced standing program in the GPR clinic, where students can work with the Endo department to treat more challenging cases that cannot be seen in the undergraduate endodontic rotation. Providing quality and timely, comprehensive patient care in an atmosphere that makes this a challenge. Acting as a tutor and mentor to the next graduating classes of students and carrying on the medical tradition of “see one, do one, teach one.”  


What advice would you give to the cohort(s) of dental students behind you?


It’s a marathon, so figure out how to stay hyper-organized and find ways to become as efficient as possible. Enjoy the little accomplishments along the way and do your best to filter out the stuff vs. fluff of dental school. 


Any lighthearted experience you’d like to share?


When setting denture teeth late at night, make sure the vacuum/suction in the tech lab is turned down, or you will spend a great deal of time improvising a way to retrieve said tooth with no one around to help. 


Why did you choose CU Dental to pursue your dental degree?


The ACTS program and the opportunity to enjoy the Colorado outdoors and weather. 


Crispin Herrick

Hometown: Lake Arrowhead, California

B.A., University of California, Berkeley


Describe some of your most memorable moments at CU Dental.


There is nothing as rewarding as getting a patient out of severe dental pain after they present in tears. It is amazing to see someone change into a completely different person once the local anesthetic kicks in, and they can be themself.


What are some of your proudest accomplishments while at CU Dental?


Placing first in ASDA’s Spikeball tournament, every time Dr. Carey responded, “that is correct” during anatomy quizzes.


What advice would you give to the cohort(s) of dental students behind you?


  • Focus and apply yourself, but always make time for friends and family. 
  • Never be complacent; always strive for better.
  • Learn to play Spikeball. 



Sam Lynass

Hometown: Burke, South Dakota

B.S., Colorado State University 


Memorable moments at CU Dental:

During my second year, I was the race director for the Inaugural Beat Tooth Decay 5k and raised $5,500 for the Dental Lifeline Network. 

  • Lobbying for our profession in Washington, DC, with the ADA and ASDA.
  • Seeing my first patient cry tears of joy after the completion of her case. 


What are some of your proudest accomplishments while at CU Dental:

  • Seeing all the late nights and long days pay off for myself and my classmates.
  • Being recognized with the Spirit of Anschutz Award in 2019


Any lighthearted experience you’d like to share:

During second-year transition clinic, it took me ten alginate impression attempts on my lab partner Colleen to get an adequate vestibule. I’m pretty sure this was the experience that drove her to pursue perio.


Advice would you give to the cohort(s) of dental students behind you:

Go to a Rockies game with Dr French and don’t forget to get the nachos.


Matthew Melcher

Hometown: Boulder, Colorado 

B.S., University of Nebraska- Lincoln


What are some of your most memorable moments at CU Dental?


This one immediately comes to mind: delivering the final denture for a patient whose maxilla we had completely edentulated due to severe chronic periodontitis. Her right maxillary central incisor demonstrated pathological eruption prior to her extractions. She was overwhelmed when she saw her beautiful new smile and started crying and asked if she could hug me, and of course, I said yes!


What are some of your proudest accomplishments while at CU Dental? 


Besides the story above, graduating in the top-5 of our class and getting accepted into CU's orthodontics residency. 


What advice do you have for future CU Dental students? 


A quote I heard a few years ago: "Work hard, and try not to sweat the small stuff". 


Why did you choose CU Dental? 

 

I was very impressed with the dental school clinic and facilities, as well as the Anschutz campus overall. I also liked being able to go to school in my home state. But most of all, I was won over by all of the people I interacted with during the interview process, especially the admissions team and the faculty members who interviewed me. They made me feel at home from the very beginning. 


Matthew Michelotti

Hometown: Helena, Montana

B.A., Carroll College


What are some of your most memorable moments at CU Dental?

 

Competing in the Shimstock talent show, playing spike ball with friends at lunch, meeting my mentors. 


What are your proudest accomplishments while in dental school? 


Winning the Bubble Soccer Tournament DS1 year, winning “Most Outrageous” Shimstock for an original song, any compliment I could get from Dr. Sutton.


Why did you choose to study dentistry?


I chose dentistry to help people while forming a lifelong and continual relationship. I always wanted to find a profession I would be proud of without sacrificing time with a future family, and I found that in dentistry.


Jennifer Terrio

Steilacoom, Washington

B.AS., Colorado State University  


What are some of your proudest accomplishments while at CU Dental?


Mostly my proudest accomplishments have been little things—seeing improvement in my hand skills over time, doing well on a challenging test, building relationships with patients. I had one patient who came to the school with teeth that were starting to fall out on their own. After over a year of all sorts of dental care and countless appointments, I’ll never forget how thrilled he was when he looked in the mirror with his denture and partial in for the first time. He couldn’t stop smiling and took a selfie to send to his family. That was a proud moment.

I’m also proud of getting into the orthodontic residency at CU and excited to start next fall. 


What advice would you give to the cohort(s) of dental students behind you?


Don’t be too hard on yourself! Dental school is difficult, and every single student faces failure in some form or another. I think it’s important not to dwell on these small failures— learn from them and keep working to be the best provider or student you can be. 


Any lighthearted experience you’d like to share?


When I was in Stab Lab, I was so nervous about giving my first injection. I ended up getting a positive aspiration on my first one. The OS faculty started running around trying to find ice, so my partner wouldn’t get a hematoma since we weren’t using epinephrine. Dr. Delapp then came over and wanted to take a picture of the carpule with blood in it to put in his slides. Talk about a confidence builder! 


Why did you choose CU Dental to pursue your dental degree?


I knew students who attended CU Dental school, and they highly recommended the program. I also wanted to stay in Colorado because I have lived here since I was thirteen.  


By John Brunelli​, communications manager, published May 19, 2020

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