Akeadra Bell receives scholarships

Akeadra Elantra Bell, second-year student at the ECU School of Dental Medicine, has been selected to receive scholarships from two national organizations to help cover her educational needs.

The Scholarship Committee of the National Dental Association Foundation selected Miss Bell to receive a $1,000 Predoctoral Dental Colgate-Palmolive Scholarship.

She has also been selected to receive a $1,000 scholarship from the Alpha Kappa Alpha Educational Advancement Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

Akeadra Bell, Class of 2020

Akeadra Bell, Class of 2020

Miss Bell, who is originally from Elizabeth City, N.C., is a graduate of Elizabeth City State University, where she majored in chemistry.

She serves as vice president of the ECU Chapter of the Student National Dental Association (SNDA) and as corporate roundtable representative for the SNDA at the national level.  She is treasurer of the Student Pediatric Dentistry Club, and she was recently elected pre-dental committee chair of the American Student Dental Association. She also serves as an academic tutor for other dental students.

The lack of dentists in Elizabeth City in the northeastern corner of the state impacted Miss Bell and her family during her formative years. The family experienced long car rides to either Greenville, N.C., or Chesapeake, VA, for dental appointments. But it was the long transformative experience of wearing braces that sparked her interest in the profession.

“It’s hard to describe my feeling when the braces came off and I saw my smile. At that moment, all those years of being a brace-face, wearing a retainer with a fake tooth on it, and all that travel was worth it,” she said. “My bright new smile, my relationship with my orthodontist, and being able to observe the art of dentistry sold me on becoming a dentist.”

Miss Bell’s long-term goal is to return to Elizabeth City and establish her own general dentistry practice. In the shorter term, however, she is working to complete a doctor of dental medicine (DMD) degree in 2020. “After dental school, I would like to complete a one-year residency program to gain further experience,” she said.

“Akeadra has brought her own unique dynamic combination of academic talent, leadership ability and passion for caring for the underserved to the ECU SoDM community. We look forward to her continued contributions as a student, a future alumna, and a member of the dental profession,” said Dr. Margaret Wilson, vice dean of the dental school.

As a second-year dental student, Miss Bell will soon begin treating 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.

The ECU School of Dental Medicine Community Service Learning Center-Elizabeth City was opened in 2013. Miss Bell will have the opportunity to serve patients in her home community at that location during her final year of dental school.