News for members of the American Student Dental Association
January 2013
In the Loupe  



Teaching good habits to last a lifetime      


By Erin Kato  

member relations specialist  




There's this part of January I have a complicated relationship with. It's the space between the first guilt-free day of neglecting my hastily-created resolutions and the appearance of the groundhog. The days are short and overcast. My Vitamin D level has reduced myself to believing that warming up in front of my radiators must have some calorie-burning effect. There's a typical pattern to my behavior: wake up, work, complete a chore (maybe) and cuddle up for bed. My yearly viewing of Groundhog's Day offers me some validation.

Those that know me know my love of neurology. The fact that a simple change in routine can begin to override the neural pathway of a lifelong habit fascinates me. Our brains are wired to create and reinforce patterns. Learning 101 tells us that our implicit memories are, foremost, filed experiences that exist to guide us in future familiar situations. (Think about when you go to reach for that light switch to illuminate your way only to brush the smooth wall of your newly-renovated flat.) But what if we don't like those lessons we've burned into our cerebral cortex? What if they no longer work for us?

All of this brain talk brings me to lessons I learn from two of the greatest minds of our time. Bias aside, my twin 22-month-old nieces keep me in awe with their information-absorbing selves. What's more is their awareness to what they're learning. Although Maddie has taken to zoning out on Animal Planet at times, you can just see their little wheels turning. They're already asking "why" before they understand how to use the word. The world is new and repetition is just practice.    

A perfect example is their bedtime. My sister first asks them if they want to go to bed. They answer "no" because they're almost two. Then, mom and dad both move to the staircase. The girls respectively gather Bunny and Dog Dog and it's time for the family crawl up the stairs. Without missing a beat, the girls take turns on the step stool in front of the full length mirror to "broosh teef." They giggle at their foamy faces and show their stuffed animals their new skill. They love their bedtime. Their good habits are being reinforced and will reward them throughout their lives. Unlike, the unfortunate reinforcement of Julia flicking ice water across a crowded restaurant with a straw because Aunt Erin couldn't contain her laughter.

My girls have taught me that no matter how ingrained my actions (or inaction) may be, I am free to push myself onto another track if I wish. They show me how to dig down deep, kick the rocks out of my own stuck wheels and set my sights in any entirely new direction. Then, they smile because I'm smiling. And, suddenly, I've been encouraged to keep going.

Member and faculty/administration spotlight 
Meet this month's student and faculty members to learn their unique hobbies, reasons for pursuing dentistry and more. For their full profile, click here.

Wade Banner
Western '14
Plans after graduation: Soon after graduation, I would like to start a solo practice followed by two other practices lead by two quality associates. I also have a strong love for the special needs population and I currently volunteer closely with the San Gabriel Pomona Regional Center. I will continue working with this population as well as participate in a multitude of other philanthropic activities.
Darlene Pays Brunet, RDH, Med
Director of student affairs
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center

How does ASDA benefit your students? When our ASDA student representatives attend meetings, they return telling me how much they learned. It encourages them to share what they learned and begin new projects. They also tell me about the lifelong friendships they make with dental students around the country.
Meet the candidates running for ASDA national office  

At Annual Session in Atlanta (March 6-9), the House of Delegates will elect new officers to guide the association for the 2013-14 year. Elections will be held to select the president, two vice presidents and speaker of the House. Each chapter is given two votes for each election. Read more about each of the candidates. Note: there will also be district trustee elections onsite during caucuses.

National Dental Student Lobby Day registration opens tomorrow        

National Dental Student Lobby Day is April 15-16 in Washington, D.C. Registration will open Friday, Feb. 1. If you are interested in attending, talk to your chapter leaders. For more information, visit Contact Andrew Smith, governance and advocacy manager, at if you have questions.

Attend Feb. 2 virtual career fair for dental students       

Register today for the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) virtual career fair for dental students taking place online on Saturday, Feb. 2. This free event will offer information on various career transition topics including: specialties and advanced education programs, applying to residencies, practice options, managing your loans after graduation, military and academic careers, and more. ASDA President Colleen Greene will be presenting "How to build an ideal dental student résumé/CV" at 2:30 p.m. EST. Also, ASDA will have a booth at this fair and we encourage you to stop by to drop off your CV for review. ASDA will e-mail you a formal review of your CV with suggestions and comments. Visit the registration site to learn more about specific presentations and booths represented at this live event. For questions, contact

Interruption to testing services

The ADA and the Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations will be moving to a new software platform in late January/early February 2013. The following will be unavailable during the transfer:

  • DENTPIN® updates/retrievals/requests
  • Application processing
  • Score processing/reporting

To avoid delays, please submit requests to the Department of Testing Services as soon as possible. Contact Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations with questions at 800-232-1694 or Additional information is available on the webpage for each examination program:

NBDE study tools      
ASDA's 2012-13 Council on Communications has developed a list of resources - free and for purchase - that are available to help you study for NBDE Part I & II. ASDA does not endorse any product other than the released examinations for sale in the online store. Members receive a discount on items highlighted in red in this list.
AACD APEX student scholarship applications due Feb. 3
The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry APEX scholarship will send select dental students to the AACD Annual Scientific Session, April 23-27 in Seattle. Students will get the opportunity to learn from the cosmetic dental world's finest educators. For details, click here.
APHA Oral Health Section abstracts due Feb. 5
The American Public Health Association (APHA) Oral Health Section calls for abstracts for individual paper presentations and poster sessions for its 2013 Annual Meeting to be held from Nov. 2-6, 2013 in Boston. The theme of this meeting is Think Global, Act Local: Best Practices Around the World. For details, click here.
ASDA benefit of the month: GEICO insurance

ASDA members could receive a special discount of up to 8 percent off GEICO Auto Insurance rates. Click here or call 800-368-2734 for a free, no-obligation rate quote and see how much more you could save today. GEICO offers low rates and exceptional 24-hour sales and support nationwide. GEICO can also help you with homeowners, renters, condo insurance and more. Click here or call 800-841-3005 to start your free quote today. Not available for international members.  

Upcoming Events
March 6-9, 2013
Annual Session
Atlanta, Ga.
April 15-16, 2013
National Dental Student Lobby Day
Washington, D.C.
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Quote of the Month

"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life."

-Muhammad Ali



Erin Kato, member relations specialist | 312-440-2640
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