Faculty, Staff an Students Honored at Annual Student Council Awards Ceremony

On April 16, multiple faculty, staff and students received accolades for their remarkable achievements, dedication and commitment to the school.

Claire Feng, Student Council Committee member, said, “Every year, each Dental Hygiene and Dental Classes elect and vote for who they want to be recognized as Student, Faculty, Clinical Faculty, and Staff of the year. This is a great way to show recognition to the students and staff here at school for their dedication, selflessness, service, those that go above and beyond.”

Dean Steven Haas welcomed attendees, emphasizing the honor of recognizing our dental school community and paying tribute to the, “countless hours spent in the pursuit of knowledge, the tireless dedication to clinical excellence, and the compassionate care bestowed upon every patient.” He continued, “You have excelled in academic endeavors, countless hours passing on knowledge, but have also displayed remarkable leadership, professionalism, and a genuine commitment to serving others.”

Awards were given by each class for categories of Lecture Faculty of the Year, Clinical Faculty of the Year, Staff of the Year, Student of the Year, Team Leaders of the Year and more.

See the winners below:

Dental Hygiene Class of 2025
Lecture Faculty of the Year: Dr. Michelle Briner
Clinical Faculty of the Year: Prof. Katie Mills
Faculty of the Year: Prof. Ashley Hobbs
Student of the Year: Lauren Bailey

Dental Hygiene Class of 2024
Lecture Faculty of the Year: Dr. Jordan M. Rowe
Clinical Faculty of the Year: Prof. Whitney Zamora
Staff of the Year: Emily Koesterer
Student of the Year: Tessa Travelute

DDS Class of 2027
Lecture Faculty of the Year: Dr. Gerald Wyckoff
Clinical Faculty of the Year: Dr. John Kiesendahl
Staff of the Year: Richie Bigham
Student of the Year: Colton Barnett

DDS Class of 2026
Lecture Faculty of the Year: Dr. Luke Wezeman
Clinical Faculty of the Year: Dr. Luke Wezeman
Staff of the Year: Claire Tira
Student of the Year: Michael Luong

DDS Class of 2025
Team 1 Clinical Faculty of the Year: Dr. Harlan Hassen
Team 2 Clinical Faculty of the Year: Dr. Wendy Weimer
Team 3 Clinical Faculty of the Year: Dr. Susan Kessler
Rotation Faculty of the Year: Dr. Niko Liberty, Dr. Berdj Odabachian
Staff of the Year: Cheryl Littlejohn
Student of the Year: Michael Gimotty III

DDS Class of 2024
Team 1 Clinical Faculty of the Year: Dr. Harlan Hassen
Team 2 Clinical Faculty of the Year: Dr. Wendy Weimer
Team 3 Clinical Faculty of the Year: Dr. Douglas Pearson
Rotation Faculty of the Year: Dr. Solon Kao
Staff of the Year: Cheryl Littlejohn
Student of the Year: Lauren Wilson

Dr. John Killip Student Leadership Award
Shonte Reed

View photos from the event here.

Midwest Dental Conference Wraps

The final day of the conference led with the annual Dental Alumni Trustees’ and Alumni Past President’s Breakfast, followed by the last round of scientific sessions. After a fun, education and celebration-filled weekend attended by more than 2,500 dental professionals, the conference closed on a high note. The UMKC Dental Alumni and Dental Hygienists’ Associations extend their thanks for making the conference another success! Save the date for next year’s #UMKCMDC April 3 – 6, 2025.

See photos from the event, here.

Sessions and Celebrations Continue at the Midwest Dental Conference

The Sheraton and Westin Crown Center hotels were buzzing on Saturday, kicking off with a complimentary coffee bar sponsored by the UMKC Dental Hygienists’ Alumni Association, followed by the start of lectures and hands-on workshops that lasted throughout the day. The Rinehart Foundation and UMKC Dental Alumni Association hosted a Gratitude Luncheon, recognizing our generous donors and supporters of the school for all they do. A special highlight was hearing from and seeing our Hawaiian alumni who have a long legacy at the dental school. Many of the reunion classes celebrated being back together again after years apart, through dinners out on the town and get togethers at the hotel. SNDA/HSDA held an alumni and friends reception at the Sheraton with plenty of food and fun.

See photos from the event, here.

A Friday of Fun at the Midwest Dental Conference

The Midwest Dental Conference started day two with more than 2,000 attendees and exhibitors at the Sheraton and Westin hotels for a day of learning, viewing exhibits and gathering with friends and colleagues. The Exhibit Hall opened to attendees for a full day of displaying the latest and greatest in dental technology and trends. Students presented their research posters in a public viewing for attendees, and there was no shortage of ways to connect with the Exhibit Hall happy hour followed by the all-attendee Welcome Party.

See photos from the event, here.

A Gala for Good: Pouring from the Heart 2024

The Ballroom of the Westin Crown Center Hotel filled with hundreds of guests gathering to party with a purpose on Thursday, April 11.

Now in its 24th year, this philanthropic gala aims to support students and patients of the UMKC School of Dentistry.

This year, funds raised through ticket sales, raffles, live and silent auction items went towards patient care vouchers that are given to our students to allow them to receive the necessary experiences to graduate, while also making sure our Kansas City community can receive the crucial care they need.

Guests enjoyed delectable food and wine pairings and heard from UMKC leadership and students before bidding on some of the exciting items, with everything from autographed Chiefs memorabilia to a “Ferrari Fantasy” trip to Italy.

See photos from the event, here.

Midwest Dental Conference 2024 Kicks Off

The UMKC Dental and Dental Hygienists’ Alumni Associations welcomed hundreds of attendees on Thursday, April 11 in anticipation of four days of scientific sessions, reunions, workshops and exhibits at the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel and Westin Hotel at Crown Center for the 2024 Midwest Dental Conference!

Thursday kicked off with specialty lectures for pediatrics, prosthodontics, periodontics and oral surgery from renowned speakers, Mary Billings, Dr. Robert Levine, Dr. Miles Cone and Dr. Jasjit Dillon.

See photos from the event, here.

Omicron Kappa Upsilon 2024 Inductees Honored

UMKC Omicron Kappa Upsilon (OKU), Rho Chapter inductees and scholarship recipients were honored April 10, at a joint dinner and induction ceremony, an annual school tradition, at the Grand Street Cafe in Kansas City. OKU President, Dr. Ken Frick, presided.

Rho Chapter Officers, 2023-2024
President: Dr. Ken Frick
President Elect: Dr. Shara Dunlap
Vice-President: Dr. Linda Seabaugh
Vice-President Elect: Dr. Eric Gottman
Secretary-Treasurer: Dr. David Thein

* Scholarship Awards *
William S. Kramer Award Recipient
Seth Hofheins

Richard J. Ackerman OKU Scholarship Award Recipients
Megan Dart
Michael Gimotty, III
Christopher Johnson
Riley Pereles
Matthew Rodrigues
Adam Sattler
Claire Waugh
Edward Wun

* Initiates *
Ali Ali
Bethany Castro
Chandler Hill
Anh Nguyen
Zach Ortinau
Grant Powderly
Tanner Robert
Katie Roe-Blythe
Suegol Sadrie
Jacob Trammell
Matthew Wahle

* Faculty Initiates *
Dr. Gustavo Leal
Dr. Solon Kao

See photos from the event, here.

The Dental School Welcomes the Dental Hygiene Class of 2026

This April, the Office of Student Programs hosted a Welcome Reception for incoming dental hygiene students. Members of the Dental Hygiene Class of 2026 and their guests came together to celebrate the students’ acceptance to the UMKC School of Dentistry. It’s at this event that students are able to connect with their future classmates and learn about the journey that lies ahead for them at the dental school. They met with faculty, leadership, fellow students and staff and had an opportunity to tour the building. We look forward to having this impressive group of future dental hygienists with us and can’t wait to see what they achieve!

View photos from the event here.

See an overview of this ambitious class below:

97 Total completed Applications
54 Missouri Applicants
34 Kansas Applicants
78 Students Interviewed
1 Reserved Admissions
30 Total Class
30 Female
3 Asian
2 Black
3 Bi-Racial
3 Hispanic
19 White
6 Rural
11 First Generation
13 from Kansas
15 from Missouri
1 from Indiana
1 from Oklahoma
Science GPA: 3.62
Cumulative GPA: 3.58

Dental School Researchers Attend the 2024 IADR/AADOCR/CADR General Session and Exhibition

The International Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research hosted its 102nd General Session & Exhibition this March in New Orleans, LA.

The event featured oral and poster presentations, hands-on workshops, lunch and learning sessions, keynote addresses, and symposia presented by experts from around the globe.

Many of our dental school researchers, faculty and staff made a splash at the event, presenting their outstanding posters, garnering interest in the dental school in the exhibit hall and connecting with top-tier researchers in the field from around the world.

To view photos, click here.

Thank you to all who contributed their photos from the event, including Dr. Erin Bumann, Claire Houchen, Prof. Emma Kaz Frick and Dr. Rose Wang.

“New Beginnings, Endless Opportunities” at ADEA Annual Meeting

The 2024 ADEA Annual Session & Exhibition took place this March in New Orleans, LA.

Dr. Megan Wendland presenting “Women in Dental Education & Their Desire to Lead”

Their theme, “New Beginnings, Endless Opportunities”, was illuminated by the vast array of presenters, research and hundreds of dental professionals, all focusing on access, innovation, representation, empowerment and leadership.

ADEA Radiology Section, including Dr. Michelle Briner

Many members of the School of Dentistry attended, held leadership roles and presented, including:

Richie Bigham
Councilor – Section for Dental Admissions Officer
Presentation: Public and Corporate Partners Join Together to Change HURE Representation in Dentistry

Melanie Simmer-Beck  
Board Member-Legislative Advisory Committee
Presentation: Public and Corporate Partners Join Together to Change HURE Representation in Dentistry

Liz Kaz  
Academic Affairs Section Chair-Elect
Presentations: What does a Successful Dental Student Look Like and Academic Affairs Administration

Michelle Briner
Chair of the Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology Section
Presentations: Road to Residency National Event and Diagnostic Case Presentations for the Organization of Teachers of Oral Diagnosis (OTOD)

Tanya Gibson
Councilor – Section on Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
Presentation: Charting a Path to Diagnostic Excellence in Oral Health

Eric Gottman
UMKC Representative on the ADEA Council of Faculties
ADEA Reference Committee on Association Administrative Affairs Committee Member

Lance Godley
Alternate Delegate in the House of Delegates

Meghan Wendland
Presentation: Women in Dental Education & Their Desire to Lead

Rebeca Weisleder
Chair of the Endodontic Section
Presentation: Endless Opportunities Utilizing Digital Dentistry: Preparing Students for Licensure Exams