Penn’s SNDA Chapter Hosts Annual Black History Month Celebration


Philadelphia – In recognition of Black History Month, Penn Dental Medicine’s Student National Dental Association (SNDA) Chapter hosted its annual Black History Month Celebration. This year’s celebration focused on empowering women in dentistry and honoring black history and culture at Penn Dental Medicine. Historically, SNDA was created to further both the academic and social environment of minority students in the field of dentistry.

The event kicked off with welcome remarks from this year’s President of Penn’s SNDA Chapter, Tanaya Williams (D’25), Menty Bayleyen, Senior Associate Director of Admissions, and Penn Dental Medicine’s Morton Amsterdam Dean, Dr. Mark S. Wolff. “At this celebration, we come together as a community united by our shared vision of a stronger, more united, and equitable dental community that reflects the rich diversity of our society,” says Dean Wolff. “We are also here to recognize the profound impact that Black dentists have had in both dentistry and the overall healthcare landscape.”

The highlighted speaker for this year was Dr. Brigitte White Zinkovic, a native of Philadelphia and an alumna of Penn Dental Medicine (CGS’04, D’07). Dr. White provided insights into the importance of recognizing that every student at Penn Dental, irrespective of their background or skin color, holds significance, belongs, and deserves to be part of the community.

Dr. Brigitte White Zinkovic (CGS’04, D’07)

As both a cosmetic and restorative dentist based in Virginia, Dr. White has long promoted mentorship and support for fellow Black dentists, providing guidance, resources, and encouragement for Black dental students. In addition, she also serves on the Penn Dental Medicine Alumni Society Executive Board and has served as a part-time Clinical Associate in the Department of Preventive & Restorative Sciences. Dr. White is also extremely active on social media, using her skills and knowledge to connect with patients, promote oral hygiene, and advocate for marginalized communities.

“This event holds profound significance for me, SNDA, and the entire PDM Community as it represents the enduring legacy we’re building together, extending beyond our academic years,” says Tanaya Williams, the President of SNDA’s Penn Chapter. “SNDA’s role in community-building resonates deeply with me, providing a platform to create lasting connections that transcend graduation.”

From left to right, Mauritania Pol Nuris, Paul Espiritu, & Tiffany Knight-Lynch

The event also recognized Dr. Beverley Crawford, Javita Lee, and Isis Williams, three members of the Penn Dental Medicine community for excellence in student engagement and meaningful contributions to the School and surrounding community. Paul Espiritu (D’24), Tiffany Knight-Lynch (D’24), and Mauritania Pol Nuris (D’24) were also recognized for fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community at Penn Dental Medicine. The three were presented their awards by Dr. Beverly Crawford, Director of Diversity and Inclusion and Associate Professor of Clinical Dentistry.

This event also featured Black History Jeopardy, an art exhibition that was a creative reflection on the unique and diverse population of the School, raffle giveaways, and a dinner and reception to follow. “I’m very proud of the members of SNDA for executing a celebratory and informative Black History Month event,” says Bayleyen. “This event is a testimony that our students are acting as agents of change, mentors, and leaders in the community.”

To learn more about events at Penn Dental Medicine, visit and keep up with Penn SNDA by following them on Instagram. More photos from the event are available on Facebook. View the full gallery by clicking here.