The American Dental Education Association’s (ADEA) mission is to lead the dental education community to address contemporary issues influencing education, research and the delivery of oral health care for the overall health and safety of the public.
At the beginning of 2021, ADEA released a series of YouTube videos highlighting students across the country, interviewing them about starting dental school during a pandemic. Among those who participated in the series is The Dental College of Georgia’s first-year student, Miles Woodard.
“I was approached about participating in this by the Admissions, Alumni, and Student Affairs Office after ADEA contacted them in search of a first-year student to participate in the video series,” Woodard said. “We actually shot the video in late August, so there was a good amount of time between the interview and its release date.”
Woodard has known about DCG since he was a freshman at Lincoln County High School in Lincolnton, Georgia. He said when he started considering a career in dentistry, DCG was the first school to come up on his radar because it was only an hour from his hometown and it was the only dental school in the state.
“DCG stayed at the forefront of my mind going forward because all the dentists that I shadowed were DCG graduates and always spoke really highly of the school,” Woodard said. “My initial reaction to getting into DCG was just relief. … I was actually caught in a snowstorm in upstate New York with not so great cell phone coverage, so I missed the original call from the school.
“The afternoon of the initial decision day rolled around, and I started to think that I had not gotten in since they start making the calls in the morning. It wasn’t until I had enough cell service that I saw that I had an email from the school asking me to call them back, and that’s when I learned that I had been accepted.”
One of the questions the ADEA staff asked during Woodard’s video was, has your family and others in your circle had any concerns about you starting dental school during a pandemic?
“I think generally that all of my family and friends were supportive of my decision to continue to go into dental school,” he said in the video. “Many of them have been on this journey with me … and so the excitement that I had about being able to finally go into dental school was something that they could definitely see.”
Woodard said the general reaction to the video has been positive, stating that the comments he’s received from his classmates and the faculty and staff have been positive overall.
So far, Woodard has enjoyed his time at DCG even “in the midst of all the craziness of the pandemic.”
“I feel like we have a really great class that is really focused on being there for one another, which definitely helps to alleviate some of the stress that comes with navigating through our first year of dental school,” he said. “I think the faculty and staff have also been a big help in making this year as good as it can be.”
He acknowledged the online school arrangement is not the most ideal situation for learning or teaching, but said he feels like the faculty are trying their best to make their online learning process as engaging as possible and are still showing how much they care about students and the education they receive from this college.
“At the end of the day, nothing is going to be perfect, especially during these times, but we’re all trying to stay flexible and understanding, which makes things a little better,” Woodard said.
And the college’s leadership is proud to have Woodard serving as an ambassador.
“We are extremely proud of Miles. He is a wonderful ambassador for The Dental College of Georgia. I am also grateful to the DCG family who have come together during the pandemic to continue to provide an excellent education to our students and excellent care to our patients,” Dean Carol Lefebvre said.