The School of Dental Medicine Celebrates the Class of 2022

The School of Dental Medicine said farewell to the Class of 2022 and celebrated the student’s accomplishments during their four years in dental school before walking the stage for UConn Health’s 51st Commencement.

The celebrations kicked off with the annual farewell and awards ceremony, a School of Dental Medicine tradition that typically occurs several days before commencement. The ceremony includes well-wishes from faculty, an announcement of faculty and student awards, and the opportunity for the students to gather and socialize with their classmates before heading to their residency placements.

Dr. Steven Lepowsky, dean, opened the ceremony with congratulatory remarks for the graduating class.

“On behalf of the entire School of Dental Medicine community, I congratulate each of our soon to be new graduates for completing, arguably, the most challenging and rigorous dental education program anywhere,” Lepowsky said. “In doing so, we are confident that you are prepared to enter the profession as exceptionally well trained and competent beginning practitioners — and you are exceptionally well poised to face the challenges of the next phase of your professional careers.”

Lepowsky also noted that this year marks the 50th anniversary of the graduation of the first class, reminding the students that they will be “carrying on a tradition of excellence that makes us who we are as a school.”

Alumni Dr. Bruce Cha, the Connecticut State Dental Association liaison to the School, and Dr. Jonny Feldman, a member of the board of the Alumni Association, also offered remarks to help recognize the Class of 2022.

“The Connecticut State Dental Association and Foundation share this joy with you as they have been a small but important part of your learning experience at UConn,” said Cha.

Dr. Sarita Arteaga, associate dean for students, kicked off the awards portion of the ceremony applauding the students for their hard work and achievements.

“We are here to recognize and applaud you,” said Arteaga. “You have been resilient and now ready for many of your future challenges.”

Before announcing every student and their residency placements, Arteaga remarked, “today we get to celebrate in the accomplishments with all of the students before they receive that D.M.D. degree and be officially called a doctor.”

Students Cameron Christiansen, Kathryn Forth, Sarah Feltz, and the 2022 commencement speaker Robert Violette announced the faculty awards. Arteaga received the South Park Inn Homeless Shelter Award for her outstanding service to the community. Dr. Martin Freilich, professor in prosthodontics, received the Kaiser Permanente Faculty Award for excellence in teaching in the clinical sciences. UConn Certified Dental Assistants Michelle Fernandez and Angela Hummell both received the Dr. Goupil Award for their demonstrated interest in professional development and student well-being.

The student awards were selected by the senior awards committee, a committee made up of a diverse group of faculty, with nominations from faculty from each of the School’s disciplines. The full list of awards and award winners is below.

ENDODONTICS

American Association of Endodontists Student Achievement Award
Demonstrates a skill level in endodontics that is above average
Gabriella Blazquez

GENERAL DENTISTRY

Academy of General Dentistry Senior Student Dental Award
Student who exhibits potential for becoming an outstanding General Dentist
Tyler Guido

Academy of Operative Dentistry Award
Exemplifies outstanding achievement in operative dentistry
Sarah Feltz

American Academy of Esthetic Dentistry Student Award of Merit
Student who has demonstrated the highest level of clinical proficiency and greatest interest in esthetic dentistry
Nanette Rivera Panzardi

The Quintessence Award for Clinical Achievement in Restorative Dentistry
Presented to a student for achievement in Restorative Dentistry
Brenna Frechette

Olmstead Prize in Geriatrics
To recognize outstanding achievement in Geriatric Dentistry
Dimitri Adamidis

Society for Color and Appearance in Dentistry (SCAD)
Awarded to a dental student who demonstrates the highest level of clinical proficiency with a great interest in color and appearance, either through esthetic clinical dentistry or research
Rebecca Salustri

OMF PATHOLOGY

American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology Dental Student Award
Demonstrates exemplary aptitude and achievement in Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
Mikayla Moynahan & Nanette Rivera Panzardi

OMF RADIOLOGY

Allan B. Reiskin Award
For outstanding achievement in Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology
Madison Cohen

ORAL MEDICINE

American Academy of Oral Medicine Award
For developing and maintaining high standards for excellence, interest and achievement in oral medicine
Kathryn Forth

OMFS

American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Dental Student Award
To recognize a dental student who has shown outstanding performance in the area of dental implant placement
Paul Nwojeki

American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Dental Implant Award 
To recognize a dental student with high academic standing for outstanding performance in undergraduate student and clinical training in the area of oral and maxillofacial surgery and anesthesiology
Cameron Christiansen

American College of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Award (2021)
For outstanding achievement in Oral Surgery
Breanna Irizarry

Connecticut Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Award
To a student who has excelled in activities at the SDM related to Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Breanna Irizarry

HEALTH CAREERS OPPORTUNITY PROGRAM

Health Careers Mentorship Award
Serves with distinction as a mentor
Paul Nwojeki

Health Careers Mentorship Award
Serves with distinction as a mentor in the Bridge to the Future Science Mentoring Program
Joshua Kwolek

ORTHODONTICS

American Association of Orthodontists Award
Demonstrates exceptional interest in the development of the Oro-Facial Complex
Alexandra McKenna

Dr. Surender Nanda Memorial Award
For exceptional interest in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
Lauren Cardarelli

PEDIATRIC DENTISTRY

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Certificate of Merit
For outstanding promise in the field of Pediatric Dentistry
Rachel Patenaude

Special Care Dentistry Association/Academy of Dentistry for Persons with Disabilities Award
For Outstanding contributions in the delivery of oral health care to patients with special health care needs
Michaela Matos

PERIODONTOLOGY

American Academy of Periodontology Award
For outstanding achievement in Periodontics
Chloe Broquet

Northeastern Society of Periodontists Award
Excellence in the field of periodontics
Vlad Kiveliyk

The Quintessence Award for Clinical Achievement in Periodontics
Achievement in Clinical Periodontics
Mikayla Moynahan

ASDA

2021 ASDA Award of Excellence
Student who honors the spirit of volunteerism and recognizes student participation or leadership in service to their school or local community
Alexandra McKenna

PROSTHODONTICS

American College of Prosthodontists Achievement Award
To a student who excelled in Prosthodontics
Kathryn Forth

American Prosthodontic Society Award
Awarded to a student with the highest level of clinic proficiency and greatest interest in prosthodontic dentistry
Tyler Guido

Hanautm Best of the Best Prosthodontic Award
To a student who has demonstrated excellence in Prosthodontics
Victor Munoz

Kohrman Award
To a student who has demonstrated excellence in removable Prosthodontics
Mikayla Moynahan

IMPLANT DENTISTRY

American Academy of Implant Dentistry Student Award
For outstanding achievement, academically and clinically, in implant dentistry
Diana Keder

Academy of Osseointegration Outstanding Dental Student in Implant Dentistry
Given to a student to support and expand their interests, education and research in dental implants
Tyler Guido

International Congress of Oral Implantologists/Dentsply Student Achievement Award
Student who has demonstrated the most interest in and enthusiasm for dental implantology
Vishaben Patel

SENIOR AWARDS COMMITTEE AWARDS

American College of Dentists Outstanding Student Leadership Award (Yankee Dental Congress)
To a student who has demonstrated leadership and outstanding scholastic performance
Mikayla Moynahan

Dr. Robert G. Levine Award
Presented to an outstanding student continuing in an Advanced Education in General Dentistry or General Practice Residency program
Brenna Frechette

Dr. Richard G. Topazian Prize
Awarded to a student who demonstrates volunteerism and service to Humanity
Gabriella Blazquez

The Dr. Loeb Prize
Awarded to a student who is a resident of Connecticut and has been selected for qualities of leadership
Robert Violette

Friends of the School of Dental Medicine – Fox Award
Awarded to the student judged to the best all-around in the class
Mikayla Moynahan and Tyler Guido

International College of Dentists Student Humanitarian Award
Awarded to a graduating student who has demonstrated exemplary character traits when participating in humanitarian service or projects
Paul Nwokeji

International College of Dentists Student Leadership Award
Awarded to a graduating student who has demonstrated significant leadership traits when participating in humanitarian service or projects
Gabriella Blazquez

The Brian D. Stone Student Memorial Award
Presented to an outstanding senior dental student who embodies the mission of Dental Lifeline Network by demonstrating exceptional volunteer service or care for patients with special needs
Sarah Feltz

The Pierre Fauchard Academy Award
Presented to an outstanding and deserving student who has exhibited leadership and
whose accomplishments have demonstrated dedication to the advancement of the dental
profession and literature
Madisen Cohen

The Quintessence Award for Research Achievement
Presented to a student for research achievement
Michelle Spoto

University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine Professional Development Award
To a senior student who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in professional development over the four years of the curriculum
Robert Dubois

Academic Achievement Award 2022 Sponsored by the Provost’s Commission on the Status of Women, the UConn Alumni Association, and the Women’s Center
Excelled academically and demonstrated high achievement in research and service to the University community
Gabriella Blazquez

American Association of Women Dentists Eleanor J. Bushee Senior Dental Student Award
The recipient of this award should demonstrate enthusiasm in her career in dentistry
and in her life as a colleague, friend and mentor
Courtney Regan

The Alumni Relations Award
Appreciation of student leadership and commitment to the UConn School of Dental Medicine
Alumni Advisory Board
Diana Keder

The South Park Inn Homeless Shelter Award
For long standing service to the South Park Inn Homeless Shelter Dental Clinic
Lauren Cardarelli

The Dr. Jeanne Craig Sinkford Student Leadership Award sponsored by ADEA
Given to a student who demonstrates leadership, advocacy for diversity, equity and inclusion and a commitment to community service
Paul Nwokeji

Phi Chi Chapter of Omicron Kappa Upsilon 2022 Inductees
Inducted into the Phi Chi Chapter of OKU National Honor Dental Society with a focus on scholarship and character
Gabriella Blazquez, Tyler Guido, Mikayla Moynahan, Paul Nwokeji

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