Buttoning up a new tradition

For the first time, White Coat Ceremony includes D1s
November 19th, 2019

The D1 class, including president Yara Qubti (third from left), received their white coats earlier than any other class.

Donning the prestigious white coat is a rite of passage for dental students. This year, however, the school’s new accelerated clinic curriculum added a twist. On Friday, Nov. 8, D1s pulled on the prestigious threads a year earlier than usual.

“Their excitement was palpable at the event,” says Dr. Steve Griffin, associate dean for clinical affairs.

Yara Qubti, D1 class president, says getting the white coats was special because “it signified the start of our career and all the hard work it took to get here. During the ceremony, we recited the dentistry pledge, which really embodied the purpose and the goal we are working toward: getting to treat patients and help our community.”

Qubti, a University of Texas at Austin graduate, says the ceremony was especially meaningful because her family traveled in from Lubbock.

For D1 Timanisha Holbert, a Dallas native and Tarleton State University graduate, the white coat ceremony signified perseverance and triumph over setbacks she experienced on her journey to dental school, including major health and family issues.

“It also signifies the future and what’s to come. I can’t believe God is giving me the opportunity to be able to serve people in my community through dentistry,” she says.

Since school started in August, the D1s have already experienced clinic scenarios previously reserved for D2s and up.

“I am pleased that we are able to provide some earlier clinic experiences for the D1 students,” Griffin says.

That early, hands-on advantage hasn’t been lost on first-year students. Jumping right in has only added to the excitement, as well as expanded their professional toolbox early on.

“We’ve gotten to learn a little about dental assisting, how to interview patients, basic protocols and safety, as well as ergonomics,” Qubti says.

Holbert adds that the change has already broadened her clinic insight. She says D1s have gained teachable moments through their mistakes so they can “improve on the next project or practical, which has been remarkable in the amount of growth I’ve achieved in such a small time, as well as how much more growing I have to do.”


For more photos from the ceremony, click on this photo.

— Kathleen Green Pothier