Student Leslie Pence receives 2017 Dental Trade Alliance Foundation scholarship

Leslie Pence, third-year student at the ECU School of Dental Medicine, has been selected as a 2017 Dental Trade Alliance Foundation scholarship winner.

The Dental Trade Alliance Foundation is awarding $5,000 scholarships this year to rising third and fourth-year dental students who have demonstrated academic excellence in dentistry and have an established commitment to community service.

Leslie, who is originally from Cleveland, N.C., in Rowan County, graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2015 with a major in environmental studies with a concentration in health and the environment and a minor in Spanish for medical professions.

Third-year student Leslie Pence has received a 2017 Dental Trade Alliance Foundation scholarship. She is pictured with Dr. Greg Chadwick, dean of the ECU School of Dental Medicine, and Dr. Margaret Wilson, vice dean and associate dean for Student Affairs.

As an officer of the ECU Student Chapter of the Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Leslie has assisted in coordinating several community service projects for children, including oral health screenings, oral hygiene instruction, and academic mentoring programs.

She and fellow dental students also travel distances to provide instruction in oral hygiene and nutrition for elementary school children in Green County, N.C.

“My passion for working with children is what drives my desire to pursue pediatric dentistry after graduation,” said Leslie. “I believe community service is an integral part of dentistry because it allows dentists to build relationships within their communities and better understand the specific needs of those they serve.”

Leslie’s goal is to become a pediatric dentist and mentor, advocate, and role model for children in an underserved area of North Carolina.

“We congratulate Leslie on receiving this award. Her selection recognizes her commitment to caring for underserved children and further promotes the mission of the ECU School of Dental Medicine,”said Dr. Margaret Wilson, vice dean of the dental school.

As a third-year dental student, Leslie serves dental patients under the supervision of dental faculty in Ledyard E. Ross Hall, the school’s teaching and clinical facility at ECU. During her fourth year, she and her classmates will complete rotations at the school’s community service learning centers in eight rural and underserved communities across North Carolina, a unique opportunity among dental schools.

According to its website, the Dental Trade Alliance (DTA) is an association of companies that provide dental equipment, supplies, materials and services to dentists and other oral care professionals. The purpose of the DTA Foundation is to broaden awareness of oral health’s impact on overall health and increase access to oral health care.