CHICAGO, March 10, 2020—The American Student Dental Association (ASDA) House of Delegates elected its 2020-21 national president, vice presidents and speaker of the house, during its annual meeting in St. Louis on March 7. The national leaders were chosen by delegates representing 65 U.S. dental schools.
Sydney Shapiro, Columbia School of Dentistry ’21, will serve as ASDA’s president. The president chairs the board of trustees which oversees the development and implementation of the association strategic plan and approves the annual budget. As chair of the executive committee, she is also responsible for managing association business between meetings of the Board of Trustees. The two vice presidents serve alongside her as members of the board of trustees and the executive committee.
Shapiro is a former chair of ASDA’s Council of Professional Issues, ASDA consultant to the American Dental Association (ADA) Council on Advocacy for Access and Prevention, and ASDA Delegate to the 2019 ADA House of Delegates. She has held various roles at her Columbia ASDA chapter, including secretary, fundraising committee member and public relations chair. She also served as president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) Columbia University Chapter and the Hispanic Student Dental Association Columbia University Chapter.
Shapiro has taught a community CPR clinic and participated in an aid and mentorship program for individuals with disabilities. She continues to volunteer at local urgent care dental clinics.
“ASDA provides an indispensable platform for dental students to collaborate and advocate for issues they’re passionate about,” noted Shapiro. “As the president of ASDA, I will connect with students to better understand their concerns and vocalize these issues in a professional manner.”
Aditi Desai, Roseman University College of Dental Medicine ’21, and Gerard Scannell III, Louisiana State University School of Dentistry ’21, were elected as ASDA vice presidents.
Desai has served as a member of Roseman’s Advocacy and Community Outreach Committee and as vendor relations chair where she raised more than $80,000 for her ASDA chapter. As ASDA District 10 Trustee, she inspired students to apply for district and national leadership roles for almost all of the national councils and started an annual leadership retreat. Desai is also a member of the Hispanic Dental Association, Special Care Dentistry Association, Academy of General Dentistry, American Dental Association and the American Dental Education Association.
Prior to the election, Scannell served ASDA as District 5 Trustee, and as vice president, then president, of the Louisiana State University ASDA chapter. He volunteers at his dental school as a recycling and sustainability ambassador, as an LSUSD Alumni Association student diplomat and at the Ozanam Homeless Men’s Shelter Clinic. Scannell has written for several dental publications, including the ASDA Blog and AGD Impact Magazine, and presented at district conferences.
Joseph Manzella, Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine ’21, was elected ASDA’s speaker of the house. He has held leadership roles at his dental school including Class of 2021 president, ASDA Stony Brook chapter president and American Association of Public Health Dentistry Club president. Joseph is also a board member for the Suffolk County Dental Society and an ASDA delegate for the New York State Dental Association.
“Equality and representation in communities are values I feel passionately about,” said Manzella. “In past leadership roles, I’ve had the opportunity to stand up for my classmates and advocate for them on the changes they want to see. As Speaker, I believe I’ll be doing similar work.”
The American Student Dental Association is the largest national organization that protects and advances the rights, interests and welfare of dental students and predentals. Representing 86 percent of all dental students, ASDA introduces students to lifelong involvement in organized dentistry and provides services, information, education, representation and advocacy. For more information, visit ASDAnet.org. Connect with ASDA on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.