Judith Naziri: Immediate Past Executive Chair

 
Get to know Judy, our all-star Immediate Past Executive Chair. Judy’s position requires her to be stuck on our board for two years, but lucky for us she loves SPEA so much, she couldn’t think of anything better! Be sure to say hi to Judy tomorrow when Annual Session starts!
 
BIO:
 
Judy is from southern California and attending dental school at USC. She graduated this past spring and began her orthodontic residency program shortly after at USC. She is currently killing it by the way in her residency program. To say that Judy is passionate about SPEA is an understatement. The desire she has for encouraging proper ethics is unreal! Judy is passionate about helping others especially those with limited access to care.
 
Biggest pet peeve: When patients have tongues that don’t sit still! I call these “Nosy tongues” because they always want to touch and feel whats going on. Luckily the rubber dam fixes this!
 
Spirit animal: A sea lion
 
Biggest fear: I’ve had so many dreams that I’ve fallen down waterfalls… this is definitely a fear of mine
 
Favorite season and why: Summer is my favorite! Everyone seems happy every day and there are so many activities you can do when the suns out
 
Favorite thing about dental school: My favorite thing about ortho is that you start out with a case and you know where you want to end up but there are so many ways to treat the case. It give you the opportunity to be creative and you can see/ show the patient their progress along the way.
 
Least favorite thing about dental school: My least favorite thing about ortho is when patients have bad hygiene. Not fun when plaque stuck on an o-tie flicks on you 🙁
 
 
Above is a picture of Judy having a competition to see who can have cleaner teeth with some sweet kids in Panama! Not sure if Judy won, but I heard through the grapevine that it was a close competition between her and the girl in the pink shirt! We hope Judy continues to stay connected with SPEA even as she goes on to accomplish bigger and better things!

Elyssa Schlossberg: Vice-Chair

Put your hands together for the enforcer of ethics, the baller of basketball, the queen of SoCal, and our vehement Vice-Chair, Elyssa Schlossberg! With a smile prettier than the Mona Lisa you can’t help but to want to instantly be friends with her. Some of the official duties of the Vice-Chair include spokesperson for the association at the request of the Executive Chair, Speaker of the House; Chairperson of House of Delegates; Chair of Council on Membership, Education, Governance, and Events including Annual Session; Parliamentarian; coordinates regent affairs and reviews association governance documents. Wow, what a mouthful. Those are a lot of duties if you ask me and Elyssa has done an amazing job juggling and fulfilling all of those duties. Be sure to get to know Elyssa better at Annual Session this coming weekend.
BIO:
I’m in my 4th year of dental school at USC (of SoCal, not South Carolina), and have lived in Los Angeles my whole life. When not fixing teeth I like to get active outside with hikes and sports– I have a pickup basketball crew and am on a kickball team, play strategy board games and do escape rooms, and if I’m being really honest watch a healthy amount of Netflix.
Biggest pet peeve: When two cars drive next to each other at the exact same speed so you can’t pass
Spirit Animal: Duck
Biggest fear: Bees!
Most embarrassing moment: freshman year of college discovering that, despite being on a campus with tens of thousands of students, I had a reputation as the girl who could be seen chasing after her skateboard (I was learning!)
Favorite season and why: summer- long sunny days, warm nights, there’s a happy energy and will to go out and do things, and I’ll take sweltering heat over cold rainy days every time.
Favorite thing about dental school: All the amazing people I have befriended and get to see and work with everyday! Also, the relationships I get to make with my patients and the impact I get to have on their lives.
Least favorite thing about dental school: the slow pace of working within the bureaucracy
My favorite part about SPEA is the way it brings together passionate dental students who all have in common the desire to become the most upstanding members of our profession, and helps us all create the toolkit we need to navigate what can sometimes be ethically murky waters. The energy at annual session is truly incredible, and I love getting to meet and befriend my fellow dental students from around the country!
Some of Elyssa’s favorite things to do include going on adventures and trying to get incredibly close to ducks without actually touching them or making them angry. That is a talent that I envy a little bit. Elyssa is articulate, deep thinking, and fun to be around. She has been a great asset to the National Board of SPEA this past year.

Nive Ramesh: Regent for Regency 6

Drumroll please for the wonderful, fierce, talented, all-around amazing Nivedhitha (Nive) Ramesh (good luck trying to correctly pronounce her first name), our Rad Regent for Regency 6. Give Nive any job and she will not only get it done but exceed your expectations. Lucky for us she finds ethics interesting and fun because she has been dedicated to this organization and put in a lot of work; from designing a Game of Thrones themed SPEA t-shirt, to helping some chapters get up and going in her regency. Come meet Nive in San Francisco this weekend!
BIO:
I’m Nive, I’m from Massachusetts, I’m a double Jumbo (go Tufts!). I’m in dental school because I wanted a way to be involved in healthcare and also get to use my hands every day, and dentistry makes a huge difference in people’s lives!
Biggest pet peeve: Slow walkers on the side walk… I’m always late and speed walking!
Spirit Animal: Definitely a dog! Probably an Aussie like my furbaby 🙂 Too much energy, obsessive about my hobbies (like reading).
Biggest fear: That I’ll never finish writing this novel I’ve been working on for years
Most embarrassing moment: Oh gosh, there are too many. But my family’s favorite one is when I had my dance debut and didn’t make a single mistake until I tripped off stage after my bow. In front of 600 people.
Favorite season and why: Fall! Sweaters and boots and scarves oh my. I love the crisp air and the wind and the colors! I’m a New Englander all the way.
Favorite thing about dental school: Challenging myself to get better with my hands – I love learning a new skill and getting to put it into practice
Least favorite thing about dental school: When patients cancel after I’ve set up 🙁
Nive loves exploring new places. The picture above is of her in Vancouver.  She not only loves adventuring but also loves representing dentistry in any way possible. I mean, not only does she look way good in that picture but you can’t help but admire her 3M bag. Gotta represent everywhere you go. A cool fact about Nive is that her favorite brand is Neutrogena. She loves all thing Neutrogena, and can’t get enough of it. Another cool fact is that she has a beautiful Australian Shepherd that is super cuddly and friendly. I’ve never actually met her dog but from the pictures on Facebook, it looks like he would be super cuddly and friendly.
Be sure to say hi to Nive in San Francisco, but just make sure you never walk in front of her especially if you are a slow walker and just wanna soak in the beautiful San Francisco skyline.

Tim Jung: Regent for Regency 1

Let us introduce Tim Jung, our raffish regent for Regency 1! Tim kills it wearing a bowtie, has an amazing and outgoing personality, and can pretty much talk to you about anything. He loves San Francisco and knows all the hot spots to hit, so stick with him at Annual Session and he’ll show you everything there is to love about San Fran.

BIO:

I’m a 4th year dental student at University of California, San Francisco. I’m originally from Korea but I have been in the Bay Area for awhile. I love trying different types of food and going on a hike on weekends! I absolutely love being in the city because you can truly embrace equality, diversity, and inclusion! You can also enjoy many types of activities such as street fairs, different types of cuisines and nature! I’m very excited that the SPEA 9th annual is at San Francisco and I encourage everyone to explore the city while you are here!

Pet peeves: talking during the movies

Sprit animal: dogs
Biggest fear: falling off a cliff
Most embarrassing moment: when I was learning English, someone told me I’m gullible and I thought he called me I’m global because I came from Korea…..
Favorite season: winter because there are holiday drinks, chocolates and food! Also you can enjoy the snow and enjoy the holidays!
Favorite thing about dental school: working with the patient and educating them about their oral health and seeing the improvement
Least favorite thing about dental school: doing admin work and looking for the right case for your CEs.
Tim is adventurous, and has developed a love for all things outdoors. I know that it is hard to concentrate on anything other than his large biceps in the above picture, but if you take your focus off his arms, you will see that he is a world-class skipper. He also loves the indoors as well, and boy let me tell you that indoor Tim is just as fun to be around as outdoor Tim. Come see for ourself at Annual Session next Friday and Saturday in San Francisco.
Tim has dedicated so much time to this great organization and has done an excellent job in spreading the SPEA fire to other schools in region 1. He has been a major contributor in helping plan the details of our Annual Session this year. Without Tim, our organization wouldn’t be where it is at Today.

Josh Bussard: Executive Chair

It’s time to get to know the Spartan of ethics, the Duke of professionalism, the King of SPEA, our Fearless Leader Josh Bussard. Josh seriously is a jack of all trades. Not only is he insanely talented, but he is well organized, easy to talk to, and always willing to listen to your opinion and input. Many changes have happened in SPEA this year that have been for the better because our leader Josh got the ball rolling. He is one person you will want to be sure to meet and talk to at Annual Session.

BIO:

From Minot, North Dakota, Josh is currently in his 4th and final year at Indiana University School of Dentistry. His claim to fame is that he knew about Dots pretzel before they were cool (if you don’t know what those are, you are seriously missing out). Aside from dentistry, Josh’s biggest passion is ethics. He loves this association and loves helping others learn to be as passionate about ethics and professionalism as he is.

Why did you choose to become involved with SPEA: SPEA’s focus on developing future leaders of our profession through situational ethics and professionalism is something that I’m passionate about. One of my favorite parts about SPEA is that we strive to collaborate with other organizations and are inviting of all students to become members in some capacity. I’ve enjoyed meeting and collaborating with dental students across the U.S. and Canada during my time on SPEA’s National Board.

What is your advice to new students who would like to become involved with SPEA? Where do they start: Jump in! Attend Annual Session! Also, attend your local callout meetings, visit with upperclassmen, and consider running for positions locally as well as nationally. My involvement with SPEA has created some of my fondest memories and reminded why I chose to pursue dentistry.

What would other students be surprised to find out about you: I grew up playing soccer and was captain of my varsity soccer team in high school.

What gets you out of bed in the morning: As a proud North Dakotan would say, Coffee!

What non-dental accomplishment are you most proud of: My Undergraduate Senior Violin Recital. As a double major in Biology and Music Performance, one of my music requirements was to prepare over an hour’s worth of music celebrating my accomplishments.

What was your favorite class in Dental School: Fixed Prosthodontics. What dental student doesn’t love a challenge? Although a challenging IUSD course, it helped prepare me for clinic the most.

What advice would you give to other dental students: Don’t fake your understanding and focus on improving areas that challenge you. Ask questions!

What is your spirit animal: Owl.

If you could be a cartoon character, who would it be: Garfield hands down! He’s lazy, but I love his humor and he’s not afraid to bust a move.

Josh is a world traveler, a grade-A friend, a Vivaldi level violinist, an outdoor enthusiast, and a rockstar sibling. A long kept secret that Josh has, is that at SPEA Annual Sessions, underneath the fancy shirt, jacket, and tie, he always wears a t-shirt of Garfield. He’s always gotta rep his favortie cartoon character! Come see if you can spot his Garfield t-shirt at Annual Session. Annual Session this year will be held in the lovely city of San Francisco from Sept. 6-7. It is coming up soon! If you haven’t registered already time is running short. Hop on over to speadental.org/register-now to register.

Diana Boodram: Regent for Regency 7

Did you guys know that SPEA goes all the way up into Canada? Well, it does and Diana Boodram, the Radiant Regent for Regency 7, is one of the main reasons that SPEA is growing in Canada. According to Google, there are ten accredited dental schools in Canada, 4 of which have SPEA chapters. Diana has done an amazing job reaching out to the schools in Canada and helping spread SPEA up north! She is seriously holding down the fort for an entire country, so needless to say Diana has contributed so much this year. Get to know her a little better!
 
BIO:
 
Diana was born and raised in Toronto, Canada and currently attends the University of Toronto Faculty of Dentistry. In addition to ethics and professionalism, she is interested in access to care issues in dentistry. Diana chose to pursue dental school because she enjoys the small-scale, detailed work; she also enjoys dismantling common misconceptions about dentists. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, spending time outdoors, and catching up with friends.
 
Biggest pet peeve: ppl who post excessively on social media… 🤳🏽
Spirit animal: owls 🦉
Biggest fear: the ramifications of climate change 😬
Most embarrassing moment: mass e-mailing my entire school by accident… whoops 🤦🏽‍♀️
Favorite season and why: spring. 🌷 spring showers & fresh flowers–a chance for a fresh start
Favorite thing about dental school: getting my hands dirty 🧤
Least favorite thing about dental school: calling patient to book & confirm appointments 📞🗓✍🏽
 
 
In addition to being super smart, amazing at dentistry, and very hard working, Diana is also an amazing artist. Just take a moment to appreciate her painting! She is definitely not a person you want to miss meeting at Annual Session, although you may hear her say “Go Raptors” more than you’ll want to, but hey…”Go Raptors!” Just don’t bring up the whole Kawhi thing or she may not talk to you. Diana is as sweet as a princess on a throne while at the same time getting things done and making sure that they are done right. We love having her insight and ideas when it comes to helping SPEA become more widespread in the US and Canada. 
 
If you haven’t registered for Annual Session yet, the deadline is quickly approaching. Head on over to speadental.org under the Annual Session tab for more info regarding the conference and to register. Hope to see you there!

Kate Sumerfield: Regent for Regency 2

Get to know the beautiful Kate Sumerfield! Our very Regal Regent for Regency 2. Some cool things about Kate: She totally rocks that pair of glasses, has hair almost as blond as Daenerys Targaryan, loves cats (which she has been known to call herself the Mother of Cats), and her favorite dessert is spicy cake. Come get to know Kate better at Annual Session held in San Francisco this year from Sept. 6-7th. It’s still not too late to register and apply for chapter awards! Follow the link for more info.

 

BIO:
I was born in Illinois but raised in Colorado, where I have been fortunate enough to stay for all of my education so far! I went to the University of Denver before I started dental school at the University of Colorado. I love that I have been able to stay in state because it has given me the opportunity to do all of the activities that I love while I’m attending school. I love hiking, running outdoors and being on the water. If I’m not outside, I love to watch movies…I can quote almost every movie that I have seen. My best friend (who is also in dental school) and I started a rollerblading club at a local park in Denver! The reason that I wanted to become a dentist is because I love that it gives me the opportunity to make an impact of patient’s lives in a way that is both medical and emotional, and who doesn’t love the feeling of clean teeth!

 

My biggest pet peeve: is people who enter the highway going slower than the speed limit
My spirit animal: is probably an otter
My biggest fear: is disappointing others
My most embarrassing moment: was when I accidentally called my male professor grandma
My favorite season: is Colorado winter when there is snow on the ground but it is still a blue sky with the sun shining
My favorite thing about dental school: is getting to go through it all with such great people
My least favorite thing about dental school: is all of the lab work
 
 
Being from Colorado, Kate loves and appreciates everything about the outdoors. If she is not fixing teeth, she’s up in the mountains hiking or just breathing the fresh Colorado air. Her dream is to start a dental practice in the mountains above 9000 feet. Well, maybe not but I wouldn’t be surprised if she did. Kate never stops working and brightens up SPEA so much. We love having her on our team. Don’t miss an awesome opportunity to meet the beautiful Kate, and all the other amazing people on SPEA, at Annual Session!

Maria Contreras: Regent for Regency 4

This time around we would like to highlight Maria Veronica Contreras Mantilla (or for short, Maria Contreras), our Rambunctious Regent for Regency 4.  Maria keeps herself insanely busy, yet finds time to dedicate to the growth of this organization. Get to know a bit about Maria, and be sure to find her at Annual Session held in San Francisco from September 6-7th. Registration is free and takes less than 2 minutes. Follow the link for more info and to register.

 

BIO:
I am Maria Contreras, a D4 dental student from Indiana University School of Dentistry. I am originally from Venezuela and moved to the United States when I was 15 years old. I am in dental school because I love being able to redesign smiles and make people feel more comfortable.

 

Biggest pet peeve: People not using their turning lights when they are going to turn.
Spirit Animal: Dog
Biggest fear: Disappointing my parents
Most embarrassing moment: I was playing a tennis doubles match, and I was at the net. I lost balance when the ball came towards me and fell on my butt.
Favorite season and why: Fall, amazing weather and all the colors. Also deer hunting!
Favorite thing about dental school: Getting to treat the patients and seeing how happy they get when you make their smile better.
Least favorite thing about dental school: Axium and getting all the swipes.
 
 
Maria is super kind (only if you use your turn signals though) and will talk to you like she is your best friend. Maria will make you feel like the most important person in the world when she is talking to you. This attribute and many others have really been a strength while having her involved in SPEA on a national level. The picture above is of Maria with a couple of her really close friends in Guatemala. She had the opportunity to do a mission trip to Guatemala to help those with little access to care. Maria says that she loves exploring new places with friends and providing dental care to those who need it the most! We are so lucky to have you on our team, Maria!

Taylor Bolland: Regent for Regency 3

It is our pleasure to introduce Taylor Bolland, the Ragin’ Regent for Regency 3. From Mississippi and still living in Mississippi, Taylor is all things southern. He bleeds Ole Miss blue and red, and I’m pretty sure his diet consists mainly of crawfish and steak. Enjoy getting to know Taylor!
 
BIO:
My name is Taylor Bolland, and I’m from Jackson, MS, and I currently go to UMMC SOD here in Jackson. I decided to attend dental school because the whole astronaut thing just wasn’t working out. I’m still hopefully in the running for Space-Dentist, but Elon Musk hasn’t been returning any of my emails as of yet. I’m cautiously optimistic.
 
Pet Peeve: People using the word “effect” instead of “affect” and vice versa
Spirit Animal: Mike Meru
Biggest Fear: It’s not the heights that scare me, it’s the falling
Most Embarrassing Moment: I haven’t crown prepped the wrong tooth yet, so I feel good
Favorite Season: Spring, because Game of Thrones changed my mind on Winter
Favorite thing about Dental School: My patients
Least favorite thing about Dental School: The Perio clinic and everything within 50 yards of it.
 
 
Taylor love bonfires, friends, and rockin’ Aloha shirts better than a lot of retired dentists I’ve seen. Fun fact about Taylor: He loves toothbrushes so much and is so adamant about oral hygiene that he has been given the nickname Taylor the Toothbrush. When you see Taylor at Annual Session don’t pass up the amazing opportunity to experience one the coolest southern accents around. Have him say, “Go on now, get!” and it will probably make your day. Our organization, especially Region 3, has grown immensely since Taylor has been on our team. When talking to Taylor about SPEA, you can truly see how passionate he is about ethics and about this association. He gets fired up about ethics and has been working hard to help others get fired up about it too. 
 
Annual Session is getting nearer, but you can still head on over to https://speadental.org/register-now/ and register! On that same page, you can find more information about running for a national SPEA position and applying for SPEA chapter awards. See in you San Fran!

Andrea Fenton: Co-Director

Time to highlight our very own Courageous Co-Director, Andrea Fenton. Andrea graduated this Summer for UAB, but we were lucky enough to convince her to stay involved with SPEA even though she has moved on to bigger and better things!

BIO:

I’m from Atlanta, Georgia and graduated from UAB School of Dentistry in June 2019. I’m currently in a GPR program at the UAB Hospital and planning to attend an endodontics residency next year. The second picture is me with my current co-residents. I’ve been a member of SPEA since my D1 year of dental school and I am excited to have recently returned as a member of the staff! One of my favorite adventures that SPEA has taken me on was going skydiving at our conference last year in Hawaii.

Biggest pet peeve: gum smacking and drivers who don’t give a “thank you” wave

Spirit Animal: my cockapoo pup

Biggest fear: 

Most embarrassing moment: 

Favorite season and why: summer! Being at the beach in the heat is my favorite thing!

Favorite thing about dental school: Making amazing friends

Least favorite thing about dental school: Cadaver lab

Andrea is adventurous, daring, and never afraid to jump into the unknown  (or out of airplanes). Apparently, Andrea is not afraid of anything and chooses to live her life without ever getting embarrassed, which is something I envy about her. Some would describe her as a Sweet Pea with a smile brighter than amethyst. Although she is very busy with her GPR program she still makes time to serve in this wonderful organization, proving that SPEA can go well beyond dental school. Cool fact about Andrea, she has the best southern twang around!

Be sure to say hi to Andrea at Annual Session. She wants you there! Head on over to our website speadental.org or follow the link to go and register for Annual Session held in San Francisco from Sept. 6-7.