The Office of Student Development manages a wide array of pre-dental programs at Texas A&M School of Dentistry to increase awareness of the dental profession, recruit qualified candidates, and retain dental students. Dr. Kerin L. Burdette, clinical assistant professor in pediatric dentistry and director of the school’s Post-Baccalaureate Program, was named the office’s new director, effective Sept. 1.
Student development office’s Bridge to Dentistry Pipeline Programs promote future dentists from pre-K to post- graduate students. The office also provides academic support for current dental and dental hygiene students and encourages students graduating from the dental school to pursue careers in academia.
Burdette has been with the school since 2016. She taught in one of the pipeline programs, Summer Pre-dental Enrichment Program Collegiate II, which focuses on college students who are interested in dentistry.
“This directorship position is one that I hoped for since the beginning,” she says. “I am proud to have finally reached my goal.” Back then, she says, she didn’t possess the background knowledge of the school for the position.
“Now that I have taught in the clinics on the outside and on the main campus, worked on committees, and collaborated with various faculty and administrators, I felt when I was given the offer that it was the right time,” says Burdette.
As director, she has several goals she hopes to accomplish. She wants to find ways to continue and strengthen the pipeline programs. In the future, she hopes Collegiate I Summer Predental Enrichment Program students will shadow dental students in the main clinics to receive the dental student experience. Other goals include adding an annual open house for Office of Student Development and having SPEP 12 (rising 12th graders) shadow in the Simulation Lab.
In addition to being the director of student development, Burdette works with predoctoral D3 and D4 students treating pediatric patients at a community clinic.
Her goals on top of her day-to-day duties will keep her busy. Burdette says that it is nothing that good time management and assistance from the hard-working team in her department can’t handle. All in all, she says she is very excited for her new role and looks forward to helping the school and its students thrive.
“This is my motto as far as teaching,” she says. “To foster growth and confidence in my dental patients and in future dental professionals, to serve my community through volunteerism, and live a life of integrity to make a significant impact on those around me. That is what I try to live by each day.”