Five graduate from 2023 post-baccalaureate program

June 23rd, 2023

Five students completed the 2022-2023 Post-Baccalaureate Program June 21. They are now qualified to join the school again in August as D1 students.

It’s not always the swift who win the race, Dr. Kerin L. Burdette said, but it’s those who keep enduring. This was demonstrated June 21 with a graduation ceremony for five members of the 2022-2023 Post-Baccalaureate Program.

“I’m so proud of them; they worked so hard,” she said. “They are what others should emulate. They’ve been an example.”

Burdette, clinical assistant professor and director of the Office of Student Development, said the post-bac program has been in place for 11 years. It offers college graduates an opportunity to build a solid foundation in dental knowledge and automatic admission to Texas A&M School of Dentistry upon successful completion of the program. The curriculum includes two semesters of classes at the University of Texas at Dallas and two summer sessions with Texas A&M School of Dentistry. However, getting into the post-bac program is no easy feat.

“You have to have certain test scores, an excellent transcript, an interview process, community work, the whole nine yards,” Burdette said. “We’re looking for a well-rounded person. This program is supposed to help them get a good foundation for D1 and for the rest of dental school and their career.”

The five graduates of the program are:

  • Dante Soria, Texas A&M Kingsville, biomedical science
  • Marco Garcia, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, biology
  • Aimee Diaz, Texas A&M University, nutrition
  • Amber Dreyer, Texas A&M University, biology
  • Brianna Hervey, University of Oklahoma, biology

Soria, Garcia and Hervey previously attended Texas A&M School of Dentistry as part of the school’s Summer Pre-Dental Enrichment Program, where high school and college-age students can learn more about the dentistry field and get an idea of what dental school is like. Diaz and Dreyer did not take part in SPEP, but they were part of the Texas A&M University System.

All five students said they are incredibly thankful for the program and are excited to come back to school as D1s.

“Everybody in the Office of Student Development has been so instrumental,” Hervey said.

Soria added that he’s enjoyed the environment and interactions with faculty and staff. “All the staff here are very friendly, very professional, very courteous. It’s left a good impression,” he said.

The graduation ceremony was held on the 6th floor of the main building, where the students completed their program just prior to receiving their certificates by giving their final presentation on mental health and dental health in underserved populations. The five graduates will be returning as D1 students in August.

— Caleb Vierkant

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