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Dental Hygiene Alumna, Students Honored

Ann Arbor, MI — May 7, 2015 — The University of Michigan School of Dentistry’s dental hygiene program has bestowed its highest award on an alumna for her more than 30 years of service to the profession and also recognized the academic achievements and contributions of members of the Dental Hygiene Class of 2015.  The honors were presented during the school’s Dental Hygiene Alumni Association luncheon with the Washtenaw District Dental Hygienists’ Association in April. 

Durinda Mattana, Outstanding Alumna

Durinda Mattana, a registered dental hygienist who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1981 and a Master of Science degree in 1987, received the Outstanding Dental Hygiene Alumna Award.

Mattana was nominated for the honor by Wendy Kerschbaum who directed the school’s dental hygiene program from 1988 until she retired in 2012.  In her nomination letter, Kerschbaum wrote that she knew Mattana, first as a dental hygiene student and later as a graduate student.  Mattana, she added, “still stands out as one of the finest people and students I have encountered.”

After earning her master’s degree from U-M, Mattana was a part-time clinical instructor both at U-M and Oakland Community College.  In 1991, she became an assistant professor at the University of Detroit Mercy (UDM), and six years later an associate professor, teaching dental hygiene and dental students.  Mattana also directed UDM’s Institute for Advanced Continuing Dental Education for eight years and has been writing and updating information for a chapter for three editions of a popular textbook, Clinical Practice of Dental Hygiene, by Esther Wilkins.  The textbook is now in its 11th edition.    

During her career Mattana has been active in the American Dental Education Association, the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, the Michigan Dental Hygienists’ Association, the Oakland Dental Hygienists’ Association, and has served as American Dental Hygienist Association Student Chapter advisor at UDM.  She retired in 2010 after teaching full time for 19 years at UDM.

In 2011, Mattana returned to U-M to teach two dental hygiene education courses in the school’s Dental Hygiene Degree Completion E-Learning Program.  She also developed and taught an online graduate course, Practicum in Pre-Clinical/Clinical Teaching.

Honor Society

Three dental hygiene students who graduated in the top 10 percent of their class, and a faculty member, were inducted into the Sigma Phi Alpha (Nu Chapter) of the National Dental Hygiene Honor Society.

Two of the students, Kathryn Kupczyk and Rita Numan,  are students in the bachelor’s degree program.  The third student, Elizabeth Chislea, is a graduate of the Degree Completion Program.  Katherine Yee (RDH, BSDH, MPH), a graduate of the Degree Completion Program in 2009 and a faculty member, was also inducted.  Dr. Michael Britt (DDS 1973, MS periodontics 1976) was inducted as an honorary member.

Student Awards

Fourteen students receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree in Dental Hygiene will wear Ginsberg Center Service Cords at the school’s graduation ceremonies on May 8.  The cords are given in recognition of their community service.

They are:  Stephanie Denn, Margaret Hellner, Lauri Cladera, Sally Ammar, Jamie Bilk, Tabita Filimon, Kathryn Kupczyk, Kristyn Lantz, Rita Numan, Angela Pietrobono, Haley Prevo, Amira Sidahmed-Bakri, Rachel Swanson and Kristin Wilson.

Members of the Dental Hygiene Class of 2015 who received other awards included:

·      Sally Ammar, Pauline Steele Student Leadership Award.  Named for the second director of the School’s dental hygiene program and a nationally renowned leader in dental hygiene, this award recognizes a graduating dental hygiene student who has demonstrated outstanding leadership.

·      Rachel Swanson, the Johnson & Johnson Professional Excellence Award for outstanding clinical expertise in dental hygiene, health promotion and disease prevention education.

·      Jessica Cordell, the Hu-Friedy Golden Scaler Award presented to the student who exemplifies the role of a dental hygienist in all aspects of clinical care.

·      Kristin Wilson, the Colgate Oral Pharmaceuticals Student Total Achievement Recognition (STAR) Award for demonstrating enthusiasm for community service and compassion in patient care.

·      Kathryn Kupczyk, Washtenaw District Dental Hygienists’ Society Professional Involvement Award presented to the student who demonstrates a commitment to professional development by being involved in professional activities and/or community service.

·      Amira Sidahmed-Bakri, the Senior Dental Hygiene Student Award for Special Interest/Achievement in Community Dentistry and Dental Public Health.

Other Awards

Emily Pedersen and Jessica Duell received the Wendy Kerschbaum Emerging Leader Award.  The annual award honors the legacy of Prof. Wendy Kerschbaum who directed the school’s dental hygiene program for 24 years (1988-2012).  A second- or third-year dental hygiene student, who is a member of the U-M Student Chapter of ADHA, receives the award for demonstrating a strong commitment to the dental hygiene profession and leadership in the organization.

Four entry-level dental hygiene students received an Academic Distinction Recognition award for having an overall grade point average of 3.55.  The four are:  Kupczyk, Filimon, Numan and Nada Sckokolada.  Degree Completion student Jessica Troszak also earned this honor.  Another student, Elizabeth Chislea, was recognized with “high distinction” for having an overall grade point average of 3.75.

The Student Chapter of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association also presented Three-Year Student Membership Awards to Ammar, Bilk, Brasseur, Denn, Kupczyk, Numan, Prevo, Swanson and Wilson.