Student delegate shares essays about the importance of ADHA

July 25, 2008
Chabot College student wrote two essays to become West Coast delegate during ADHA annual session.

Director's Note: Susan Hopkins from Chabot College submitted the following two winning essays that secured her positions as the District XI Student Delegate and the Student Delegate Voting Member. Congratulations, Suzie. I look forward to publishing more of your articles. You are truly a change maker.

Application Essay

Improved leadership, communication, and networking skills seem to be a natural outcome from active SADHA participation.

In a profession where most of us are independent contractors, understanding (and fighting for) the extent of our practice, who oversees it, and the legislative process involved, is vital to our livelihood. Ignorance and apathy are dangerous. Working with SADHA/ADHA will help me understand the issues surrounding our practice, and initiate involvement in working for the rights and benefits of hygienists at state and national levels.

ADHA's communication with members is excellent; its interaction with its affiliates keeps the organization relevant and useful. The communication remains on the cutting edge of technology with its podcasts, and stays current and significant in the scientific arena with the Journal of Dental Hygiene. As a member of SADHA and a former technical writer, I believe that I can contribute to that communication. What also excites me about the opportunity, however, is the chance to learn how to reach such a wide audience effectively, through a coordinated effort across multiple channels.

Finally, I know that I will hone my networking skills as part of membership. Active participation in any organization creates a variety of contacts. The contacts can become mentors, sources of information, and sources of support With SADHA/ADHA, the benefits of networking assist not only ourselves, but also the communities we serve. I want to learn how to make my connections work for others, be it clients in my direct practice, or the community at large.

Application for Voting Student Delegate
Susan Hopkins (Region XI)

If I were to select a delegate to represent me as Voting Student Delegate, I would select someone who is interested in the political process of the ADHA, who works for consensus within the group, and who has a good level of maturity and leadership experience. I feel that I have all of these qualities, and that I would do an excellent job representing the student hygienists at this year's Annual Forum.

I am very interested in how the ADHA works, and I plan to be an active member after we graduate. In a profession where many of us are independently employed, understanding (and fighting for) the expansion of our scope of our practice, who oversees it, and the legislative process involved, is vital to our livelihood. Ignorance and apathy are dangerous, because it is when we stop paying attention that decisions about our scope of practice are made without our knowledge. I view participating as the Voting Student Delegate as a doorway into future ADHA involvement, working for the rights and benefits of hygienists at state and national levels.

As Voting Student Delegate, I would always work toward consensus as a group. While I might be the one actually voting, I am aware that my role is to represent the students as a whole, regardless of my own personal beliefs. As the vice president of my class, I work to make sure that all voices are heard. I encourage those who are in the minority to speak their mind. I would rather have all viewpoints on the table for discussion, than have people muffle their views and feel resentment later. I encourage and foster civility and respect within our class during meetings, and try to implement a system of order so that people can speak without being interrupted. I have held similar leadership roles while earning my BA degree in social and leadership fraternities (Alpha Omicron Pi and Order of Omega). In each, we used Robert's Rule of Order extensively, and managed to organize and coordinate consensus within large bodies of people.

Finally, as one of the older members in my program, I have had the opportunity to work as a liaison and manager of people and projects in a previous career as a technical writer/communicator. The role of technical writer is similar to a hub on a bicycle tire where all the spokes meet. In a software company, different groups work on their own individual parts, but the parts are connected like puzzle pieces as the technical writer is trying to explain how all the parts work together. It is during this process that miscommunications and gaps between different pieces become apparent. Creating consensus among the groups, and then promoting the agreement, seems similar to the Student Assembly working together to come up with a group voice, and then promoting that voice on the voting floor.

I ask that you vote for me as Voting Student Delegate. I believe that being part of the student delegates is already an honor and very exciting opportunity. I would love to represent all of us.