Pritika Patel, a recent UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) graduate, attended the American Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research’s Annual Meeting earlier this year with support from the VP Promise Initiative. The four-day conference hosted in Portland, Oregon, allows industry professionals to network and share their research. Her research focused on visualizing and quantifying the light bean emitted from light-curing units (LCUs).
Patel conducted her research with Dr. Jean-Francois Roulet, Professor and Director of the Center for Dental Biomaterials. She worked in Roulet’s lab for two years before graduating with her bachelor’s degree in microbiology and cell science this past spring. Patel gave her presentation during the Dental Biomaterials Session.
A conference highlight for Patel was the connections she made through networking. From fellow undergraduate students to professors, she met dentistry professionals from around the country. The engaging discussions she participated in allowed Patel to broaden her knowledge of different careers within the industry.
“This networking opportunity allowed me to gain insight into pursuing a career in dentistry and helped me gain a lot of tips for my future career in the field,” said Patel.
Additionally, Patel learned more about how dental colleges function and how coursework differs between schools. She also learned more about the field of dentistry, including how artificial intelligence is utilized in patient care.
Patel, now a student in the University of Florida’s College of Dentistry, plans to continue her research during her graduate program. The conference gave her several idea on how to expand her current research into other areas of dentistry.
“Seeing innovative new research projects is truly inspiring and learning from respected, educated individuals is an experience that was truly beneficial to my academic career,” said Patel.
The VP Promise is an initiative to provide financial assistance for students pursuing experiences in agriculture, life sciences and natural resources. CALS supports student success both inside and outside of the classroom and encourages students to broaden their perspectives through enriching opportunities such as study abroad programs and travel to conferences. For more information on the VP Promise visit the CALS website.