Each year, IUPUI honors 50 graduate and professional students who demonstrate excellence beyond the classroom in areas such as campus leadership, scholarly work, and community engagement. IUPUI will recognize these exceptional students at a virtual awards ceremony at 6 pm, April 6, 2021.
Five IUSD students are among the university’s Elite 50 graduate and professional students: Youstina Beshay (D3), Dr.Molly Sanders (DDS’19, second-year Pediatric Dentistry resident), Rebecca Shembarger (D4), Brett Turek (D4), and Sydney Twiggs (D4). Four out of five students are conducting research at IUSD. Congratulations to these remarkable students!
Youstina Beshay is a third-year dental student. Her nominator noted she is a responsible, dedicated, and motivated student with an inquisitive nature and passion for research. Her research investigates the effects of antimicrobial agents and techniques on dental carries and streptococcus mutans biofilm formation. Beshay served as vice president and president of the IUPUI Pre-Dental Club. She was recognized as one of IUPUI’s Top 100 students in 2017, where majored in biology and chemistry minor.
Dr. Molly Sanders (DDS’19) is a second-year MSD student in Pediatric Dentistry. According to her nominator, Dr. Sanders is a dedicated dental professional with a passion and curiosity for dental research. Her experiences with investigating the effects of antimicrobial agents and techniques on dental caries led her to develop a study on the efficacy of a titanium dioxide toothbrush on oral biofilm. She presented data from her research at the 2019 International Association for Dental Research annual meeting and at IUSD’s Research Day in 2019 and 2020. Dr. Sanders has received four awards for her research, including Dr. Arthur I. Klein Pediatric Dentistry Research Initiative Award and the King Saud University Award for Excellence in Preventive Oral Health Care. Along with her commitment to research, Dr. Sanders is devoted to community service. She volunteered at IUSD’s Give Kids a Smile and cared for underserved patients through Global Service Learning in Zacatlán, Mexico.
Rebecca Shembarger is a 2021 DDS candidate. Shembarger engages in self-directed learning to deepen her intellectual curiosity. She has conducted two research projects that engaged experts from IUSD and Ohio State University School of Dentistry. She has been a two-time recipient of the prestigious IUSD Student Research Group Fellowship award. Shembarger also was a 2020 recipient of the IUPUI Women’s Student leadership Award. In 2020, she made the Dean’s List for attaining a semester GPA in the top 10% of the class. She is the Class of 2021 student representative of the IUSD’s Clinical Affairs Committee and serves as a peer mentor through IUSD’s Student Wellness Coalition. She will be returning home to Michigan to begin a six-year oral maxillofacial residency at the University of Michigan.
Brett Turek is president of the DDS Class 2021. His nominator commended his leadership skills, which include collaborating with peers and school administrators to tackle issues and encourage change in dental education. Turek’s self-reflective nature is a manifestation of his growth, adaptability, and willingness to respond to hurdles. He has served as a leader on the IUSD Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, Indianapolis District Dental Society Board of Directors, IUSD Alumni Association Board of Directors, IUSD Clinical Affairs Advisory Committee, Curriculum and Assessment Committee, and many other organizations. Turek also serves in multiple volunteer roles in the IUSD Student Outreach Clinic, IUSD Kid’s Club, and ADEA. Along with his studies, Turek is a teaching assistant in removable prosthodontics. After graduation, he is moving to Chicago for a General Practice Residency at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center.
Sydney Twiggs is a 2021 DDS candidate. Twiggs also has been honored as one of the Premier 10 out of IUSD’s Elite 50 graduate students. Faculty, staff, and peers alike recognize her commitment to leadership and community service. Twiggs’ fluency in Spanish is a wonderful asset to Spanish-speaking patients in the pre-doctoral dental clinic. She has served as president of the American Association of Women Dentists IUSD chapter and IUSD Kid’s Club. Twiggs has helped coordinate events for the Orthodontic Interest Group and has developed numerous community partnerships through her philanthropic efforts in ASDA. During her years at IUSD, she has served as a mentor to a high school student through the Starfish Initiative. Twiggs also is a student employee in the graduate orthodontics lab and an instructor for operative courses for first-year dental students. She was awarded the Student Research Group Fellowship in 2020 to continue working on her project assessing dentoalveolar changes in Class II Division 2 patients undergoing orthodontic treatment. After graduation she will be staying in Indianapolis to begin an orthodontics residency at IUSD.