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Award supports student during difficult time

Posted by Alison DeLory on January 8, 2021 in News

Dalhousie Dentistry Student Society president Rebecca Marr (DDS’22) was “ecstatic” to receive a financial award that supported her dentistry studies and helped offset lost earnings because of the pandemic.

“I was in the SIM lab practising cavity preparations and placing restoration (fillings) when I received an email saying that I had won,” Marr says, adding that winning the $1,000 F. A. Godsoe Award, awarded by the New Brunswick Dental Society to the student demonstrating greatest proficiency in Patient Care 1, came as a complete surprise.

The prize is extra special to her in that it recognizes achievement in a course focused on diverse topics that together teach students how to provide patients with the highest standard of care. “(Patient Care 1) moves away from the scientific and technical aspects of dentistry and teaches us to see patients as a whole, beyond their mouth and teeth,” Marr says. It’s an important aspect of dentistry Marr believes can make a huge difference to a patient’s experience during dental care visits.  

“Winning this award has motivated me to continue to educate myself about various populations that we will treat as dentists and the hardships or the barriers they may face in accessing dental care.” 

Marr is grateful for scholarships and bursaries that help pay for dental school and says financial support is especially important to her at this point in her studies. Her third-year course load, she explains, makes having a part-time job unfeasible. “An award like this can really make a difference. It may allow a student to apply to a post-graduate program, to write an admissions test, to pay off the remainder of their tuition…I know that I would not be where I am today without financial support from donors.”

A year cut short

When COVID-19 struck last spring, Dalhousie’s dental clinics closed and students returned home in March. It meant Marr’s hands-on training was cut short and she was unable to complete her second year in April.

Marr moved back to her native New Brunswick and, once dental clinics there were allowed to re-open in mid-May with COVID-19 safety protocols in place, Marr was re-hired by a clinic where she’d worked in high school.

Dalhousie worked to get dentistry students back on schedule, calling Marr and her classmates to campus in August to finish their previous academic year and start their third- year studies in September. It meant Marr had to leave her job early, but thankfully, her award helped counteract lost earnings.

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