A gift from students, for students

October 29th, 2014

Left to right: Dr. Stephen Griffin, Dr. Benjamin Curitis ’14 and Dean Lawrence Wolinsky on Oct. 3.

The Class of 2014 contributes funds for the purchase of a new X-ray unit.

Licensing board exams are among the most challenging experiences for any dental student. The culmination of four years of study and patient care comes down to a two-and-a-half day exam, and every minute counts.

During the exam process, senior dental students in Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry’s Class of 2014 recognized a way to make this nerve-racking experience easier for classes that come after them.

“We saw a need for an extra X-ray capture station in the Simulation Laboratory,” says Dr. Benjamin Curtis ’14, now a resident in the college’s pediatric dentistry program. “Currently there are four, but adding just one extra really decreases the amount of time you have to wait to use the X-ray unit during that timed exam. If you’re waiting in line for five minutes that feels like an eternity.”

Before they stepped foot across the stage at graduation, the fourth-year students took action, pledging $3,000 toward the purchase of the new X-ray station, used for endodontic simulation exercises during board and competency exams. In October, Curtis presented a ceremonial check on behalf of the Class of 2014 to Dean Lawrence Wolinsky and Dr. Stephen Griffin, executive director of clinics at TAMBCD. Plans are for the new unit to be available to students in the spring.

“This was donated to students, by students,” says Curtis. “As our time at the dental school was wrapping up, we were trying to see how we could be a part of effecting a positive change, and we wanted to be able to use it for something to benefit not just the school but particularly the students.”

After class members took a vote approving the contribution, they contacted Griffin to see if TAMBCD might be willing to contribute funds toward the purchase of the new digital capture station. Dental school administrators were quick to support the effort.

“It is exciting to see a graduating class take interest in making it better for those that follow them,” Griffin says. “They identified a need that would have benefited them as a class and then made a contribution to help make it happen.”

The dean would like to see a senior class gift become an annual tradition. Curtis supports the idea.

“I hope that future classes will take this as a challenge or an opportunity to be able to do the same,” he says, “to make a contribution toward making the lives of the future students here at the school better, to find a way in which they can help make a positive impact.”

— Jennifer Fuentes