Students gain leadership roles at Atlanta NDA Convention

For over 40 years, the Student National Dental Association (SNDA) has promoted and supported the academic and social environment of minority students.

The ECU School of Dental Medicine’s SNDA chapter continues to advance the work of the national organization and the school’s mission of leadership and service.

The chapter gained three national leadership positions during the 103rd National Dental Association (NDA) Annual Convention in Atlanta in July. The chapter also won the SNDA National Website of the Year award, and members were able to serve the greater Atlanta community at a health fair.

SNDA Conference Students

Fourth-year students (left to right) Daria Clegg, Johnique Fonville, Terrence Campbell, and Janay Braxton were among the many members of the ECU Student National Dental Association who attended the National Dental Association Annual Convention in Atlanta this summer. The chapter gained three national leadership positions at the convention.

Johnique Fonville ‘17 was voted vice president of the national SNDA; Bianca Adams ‘19 became a representative to the National Dental Association Foundation (NDAF); and Terrence Campbell ’17 became regional coordinator of the South Atlantic Region of SNDA.

As national vice president, Johnique will carry out duties assigned by the SNDA executive board and help plan next year’s SNDA/NDA national convention.

As NDA Foundation representative, Bianca Adams will act as the liaison amongst the SNDA, NDA, and NDAF to ensure and increase scholarship, education, and research opportunities for minority pre-dental, pre-doctoral, and post-doctoral students.

Bianca said, “I am still learning the ropes of my new role with the Foundation, but my goal for the year is to increase the number of scholarship applications the Foundation receives while continuing to nurture relationship with our very generous donors.”

ECU SNDA Chapter president Daria Clegg ‘17 and community service chair Kiersten Bethea ‘19 represented the ECU chapter at a host of business meetings during the convention, and Jessica Shamberger ’19 participated in the convention’s Poster Day with her research on emergency dental care.

Kierstan Bethea said, “What an organization is able to do for its community is a measure of its success. This year, we have numerous service projects planned, and we look forward to serving as a positive change agent at our school and in our community. Being actively involved at the SNDA National Convention was a phenomenal experience; I was able to network and share ideas with members of other SNDA chapters. I am very much looking forward to implementing some of those fresh ideas here at ECU.”

Fourth-year students Janay Braxton and Terrence Campbell gave of their time at the convention to instruct pre-dental college students in suturing, indirect vision, and applying to dental school.

“Spending time with pre-doctoral students is a great reminder of the excitement and anticipation I felt prior to dental school,” said Janay. “Their enthusiasm to know more and glean information from a dental student rekindled the spark in me and was a reflection of how much I have grown these three years. These undergraduate SNDA members are our future colleague, and I believe the bridges we build now will carry us far into the future.”

Also at the convention, ECU SNDA members partnered with NDA members to serve the greater Atlanta community at a community dental health fair with representatives from 30 other SNDA chapters at universities across the country.

Bianca Adams, who will also serve as chapter vice presidents this year, said, “Over half of our executive board attended the NDA Annual Convention, and it gave us a chance to network with schools that have very established chapters and receive guidance to propel our chapter forward and gain a larger presence within our school and community.”

Faculty advisors for the chapter are Dr. Loren Alves, clinical associate professor of pediatric dentistry, and Dr. Kimberley Gise, director of the School of Dental Medicine’s Emergency Care Clinic.

Dr. Alves said, “Forty years ago when I attended the NDA/SNDA meeting in Los Angeles, there was no student involvement other than the president of SNDA speaking on behalf of a handful of us. The Atlanta meeting of several hundred students this summer was testimonial to the National Dental Association’s recognition of the significance of the SNDA’s mission to carry on the legacy of fostering active participation, new ideas and new members of underrepresented students.”

For more information on the ECU SNDA, please visit the chapter’s award winning website at or email the chapter at