High School Students Explore Dentistry through Summer Program


Philadelphia – Penn Dental Medicine welcomed 12 high school students to the School this month as part of the Provost Summer Mentorship Program (SMP), which ran July 7 through 31. Through this four-week, college-career immersion program, participants learn about career opportunities within dentistry and are introduced to the dental school environment.

The program includes hands-on experiences, with participants experiencing what it is like to drill a tooth through activities in the School’s advanced simulation virtual reality lab, and learning how to place a tooth restoration. Participants also attend lectures presented by Penn Dental Medicine faculty and observe clinical care by shadowing third- and fourth-year dental students in the clinic.

The Penn Dental Medicine SMP is run through the School’s Office of Diversity Affairs and overseen by Dr. Beverley Crawford, Director of Diversity Affairs. Penn Dental Medicine students coordinate the daily program of activities for the participants and serve as instructors for the hands-on components.

“The SMP provides great leadership opportunity for rising second-year dental students who work as SMP Coordinators,” says Dr. Crawford. This yea, Maya Thompson, D’18, and Vincent Boyle, D’18, served as the SMP Coordinators.

The SMP, a component of Penn’s University Equity and Access pre-college initiatives, involves five of Penn’s professional schools. In addition, to Penn Dental Medicine, high school students can also apply to Penn’s School of Engineering & Applied Sciences, School of Law, Perelman School of Medicine, and School of Nursing. The participants gain first-hand exposure to an academic discipline of their choice and a variety of career opportunities connected to that field. Since its founding in 2006, approximately 500 local high school students have participated in the program. Since getting involved in the program, Penn Dental Medicine has hosted over 80 young scholars.

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