Fourth-year student Bianca Adams is directing plans for the SNDA’s upcoming national conference.

Bianca Kristina Adams, a fourth-year student at the ECU School of Dental Medicine, will test her leadership skills in the next few months as vice president of the Student National Dental Association (SNDA).

Adams is heading up plans for the organization’s annual conference in Washington, DC, in July 2019. The conference will draw approximately 350 students from dental schools across the country, and Adams wants the three-day experience to exceed students’ expectations.

As vice president of the Student National Dental Association, fourth-year student Bianca Adams is planning the organization’s upcoming national meeting.

As vice president of the Student National Dental Association, fourth-year student Bianca Adams is planning the organization’s upcoming national meeting.

The SNDA was established 40 years ago to promote, aid and support the academic and social environment of minority dental students. The SNDA is the student branch of the National Dental Association (NDA) for dental professionals. Both organizations promote oral health equity among people of color, and they hold their annual meetings jointly each July.

This is Adams’s third year on the national SNDA conference planning committee but her first year in charge. She finds herself regularly marshalling phone calls, email, group chats and in-person planning sessions with committee chairs.

“Teamwork makes the dream work,” said Adams of her committee. “SNDA is like a big family, so I can rely on others for support. I really wanted to make sure everyone’s voice is heard. We all come to the table with a different perspective but everyone’s perspective is important.”

Along with continuing education sessions highlighting the latest in treatment planning, dental photography, inter-oral scanning, and cosmetic dentistry, Adams is excited to offer opportunities for pre-dental students, dental students and dental professionals to mingle at the conference.

“Mentorship is a very important part of the SNDA and the NDA,” said Adams. “There are many first-generation college students among our ranks, so the support of other students and dentists will be an important part of their professional development. We are planning a mentorship breakfast, and I’m sure it will be very popular.”

The SNDA has figured prominently in Adams’s dental education. She says the organization has taught her to work within a team, to lead with confidence, to fend off intimidation, and to be resilient.

“We are so proud of the work that Bianca is doing as a student and as a leader in the Student National Dental Association,” said Dr. Maggie Wilson, vice dean of the ECU School of Dental Medicine. “She already understands the importance of professional organizations in advancing dentistry and dental professionals.”

Adams’s SNDA duties come amid her final year of dental school in which she and her classmates are completing 27 weeks of intensive clinical experience at the school’s community service learning centers in underserved areas across North Carolina. Her rotations have taken her to centers in Robeson County and Elizabeth City. She now treats at least five patients a day at the Brunswick County center.

Adams comes from a U.S. Army family. She was born in Toledo, Ohio, and graduated from high school in Atlanta, Georgia. Her family is now settled in Fayetteville, N.C. She graduated from East Carolina University in 2011 with a bachelor of science in public health studies, and she completed a dental post-baccalaureate program at University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco, California.

In dental school, Adams has served on the Humanistic Environment Committee and the Diversity and Inclusion Community. She has also served as president and vice president of ECU’s SNDA chapter and was the national SNDA representative to the National Dental Association Foundation. She has been a contributing author for the American Student Dental Association’sContour magazine.

Though planning the conference is time consuming and a little stressful, Adams is confident that the outcome will be worth the investment. She’ll do all she can to make sure other dental students feel the support of the SNDA and National Dental Association.

“It is an honor to plan the SNDA conference for dental students from across the United States. I’ve met some of my closest friends and some wonderful mentors through the SNDA. I’m really excited about the conference and about sharing my enthusiasm for the organization that has been an integral part of my pre-dental and dental school journey,” said Adams.

Adams plans to pursue a general practice residency (hospital dentistry) after graduation and then seek further education or join a dental practice in North Carolina.