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UW student receives leadership award named for pioneering dental educator

Awa Seck
Awa Seck

Awa Seck, a fourth-year School of Dentistry student, has received one of the inaugural Dr. Jeanne Craig Sinkford Student Leadership Awards.

The awards, created this year by the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), go to a student at each North American dental school, based on these criteria:

  • Participation in leadership activities
  • Demonstration of effective leadership
  • Advocacy for diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Champion for access to oral health care for underserved and disadvantaged populations
  • Community service-oriented
  • Proclivity to enter dental education or organized dentistry

The award honors Dr. Sinkford, who was the first female and African-American female to become dean at a U.S. dental school. She became dean at Howard University in 1975 and served until 1991. A trailblazer in dental education, she has also been an unwavering supporter of dental research and advocate for diversity and social justice. She is now dean emeritus at the Howard University dental school and senior scholar in residence at ADEA.

Seck, who is president of the UW chapter of the Student National Dental Association (SNDA), has received the Arcora Foundation Dr. Burton H. Goodman Presidential Scholarship and the International College of Dentists Dr. Frank Burns Guthrie Memorial Scholarship. She has been an active volunteer, including serving at a Covid-19 vaccination clinic in the Seattle suburb of Kent last year. Also last year, she led SNDA chapter members who joined members of the American Student Dental Association who provided dental care, information, and oral health supplies in South Seattle during the Juneteenth Freedom Day Festival.