From your newly elected District 3 Trustee Rebekkah Merrell

We want to congratulate Rebekkah Merrell D’16 for being elected the new District III Trustee. We are excited to see Penn ASDA’s involvement grow in national ASDA and psyched to see Rebekkah’s work in spreading #ASDAfever this upcoming year. ~Yesle

Some of my classmates ask, “What is ASDA?  Why should I pay to join ASDA?  What benefits do I get from joining?”  They have not yet experienced #ASDAfever as those ASDA faithful like to call it. This is the only way to truly explain that overwhelming emotion you get from sitting in a room of 600 dental students who are equally as passionate as you.

When I first joined ASDA, I never envisioned myself being district Trustee. Within the first few weeks of getting in I thought that I had done everything but sign away my first-born child with all the crazy paperwork.  Somewhere in the plethora of paperwork, I remember deciding to join an organization called ASDA- American Student Dental Association. Little did I know the impact this decision would have on my future.

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We spy, with our eye, Rebekkah Merrell in green.

I want my legacy to be a leader who inspired future leaders to achieve more than I ever could. We have five very accomplished ASDA chapters in our district, and yet I feel like we constantly struggle to get recognized for our successes. I believe we need to be more united. Our district can only be as strong as its foundation and I want to start laying down the groundwork for the future as district trustee.

The new and the old: incoming District III trustee Rebekkah with outgoing Ricardo Fontoura (Temple ’15)

As District Trustee, I want to motivate my colleagues to care about causes for our profession. As 20,000 dental students strong, we can make a difference. We are not alone.  Together we can accomplish great things. Advocacy for the future of our profession starts now!  If we do not take action, our voices will never be heard or when we finally speak up, it may be be too late to make a difference.  As dental students, we get focused on short-term goals like passing pathology and often fail to see the light at the end of the tunnel. By being active in organized dentistry, you have the strength of a strong support network–where we can make a difference.  As Trustee, my goal for the year is to increase advocacy efforts in District III, improve membership engagement, and to provide a District III meeting that will spark #ASDAfever in future leaders.  I think I can make a difference not just for Penn ASDA, but also for Pitt, Temple, Maryland, and Howard by increasing transparency, communication, and support to ALL our chapters.  Someone once told me that “a great leader leads by example, but a truly remarkable leader makes others recognize the leader inside them and inspires them to rise to greatness.”  I hope to inspire you all to be the future leaders of our profession, to make a difference, and to catch that #ASDAfever. ~Rebekkah Merrell D’16, District III Trustee 2015-2016