Five Students Assume National Leadership Roles in ASDA


Philadelphia — Five Penn Dental Medicine students will be serving in national leadership roles in the American Student Dental Association (ASDA) for the 2019-20 academic year, including the group’s top post. This is the second year in a row for a Penn Dental Medicine student to be chosen to lead this national organization — the first time since 1979-1980 that there have been back-to-back ASDA presidents from the same school. Second-year student Craig McKenzie (D’21) succeeds Roopali Kulkarni (D’19) as President, who will also continue to serve on the Board of Trustees. In addition, Leslie Tay (D’20) was appointed to Council on Communications Chair; Nasim Levin (D’20) was appointed Advanced Standing/International Dental Student Advisory Committee Member; and Julia Cheung (D’21) was elected District 3 Trustee.

The nation’s largest dental student organization, ASDA aims to protect and advance the rights, interests, and welfare of dental students and represents 24,000 members nationwide.

“I’m extremely proud that these Penn Dental Medicine students will have a hand in advocating for their fellow dental students across the nation in these capacities,” says Morton Amsterdam Dean Mark Wolff. “As they take on these leadership positions, I look forward to seeing how these students—the future leaders in our field—work with their peers to improve and expand opportunities in dental education.”

McKenzie, who recently held the role of Trustee to the national ASDA Board, was elected President by ASDA’s House of Delegates – representing all 66 U.S. dental schools – during ASDA’s annual meeting in Pittsburgh, Pa., March 2. This is the first time in recent history that a second-year student to be elected to this leadership role. He has also served as a national predental consultant and chapter development chair for ASDA District 3, and founded and led the ASDA predental chapter at Virginia Tech University as an undergraduate. McKenzie is completing a dual degree at Penn Dental Medicine, working toward a Master of Science in Education alongside his dental degree.

Chosen from a competitive field of highly qualified national candidates by the ASDA Board of Trustees, Tay and Levin will play key roles in achieving the association’s goals for the coming year. Tay has been active in ASDA, serving on the chapter (as Secretary), district (as Chapter Liaison) and national levels (as Council on Communications Associate) in the 2018-2019 term and as Social Media Chair on the district level during the 2017-2018 term. Levin previously served as International Student Program representative for District 3.

In addition, Julia Cheung takes on the national trustee position, building on previous experiences as Treasurer and Social Committee Chair for Penn Dental Medicine’s ASDA chapter and as Co-Content Coordinator on the Meetings Committee at the district level. In her role as District 3 Trustee, Cheung will represent the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, Howard University, University of Maryland, and University of Pittsburgh on a national level. As one of 11 trustees, she also serves on the Board of Trustees as well as the Council of Professional Issues.

Kulkarni, who served as President of ASDA national for the 2018-2019 academic year, will continue on the Board of Trustees as immediate past president.

Penn Dental Medicine was well represented at this year’s annual meeting of ASDA, with 20 students in attendance—more than any other school.

ASDA represents 92 percent of all dental students, introducing members to lifelong involvement in organized dentistry and provides services, information, education, representation, and advocacy.