The RCSEd & Dentsply Sirona National Student Dental Skills Competition - What it Means to be a Winner

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30 Mar 2020

The College was proud to once again deliver the Grand Final of the RCSEd & Dentsply Sirona National Dental Skills Student Competition 2019-20.

After competing against their fellow students in the challenging regional heats across the nation, 17 finalists were invited to compete in the grand final in Edinburgh on Thursday 4th March 2020. After an exciting yet intense day of competition, there could only be one winner and Emma Louisa Smith took 1st place representing the University of Leeds. She won a trip to Chicago to attend the Chicago Dental Society Conference in winter 2021 and a Digital SLR Camera, generously supported by Dr Tom Bereznicki. 

We caught up with Emma to hear about her experience of entering the competition, how it feels to be the winner and what this will mean for her future career.

What inspired you to take a degree in dentistry?
"I was really interested in biology at school and have always liked interacting with people and meeting those from all different backgrounds. I wanted a career that was positive and could make a difference and I felt with dentistry I could do this. Work experience at dental practices showed me the impact that dentists could have on people’s lives and I wanted to be part of this. My dentist in particular was a very inspiring young female dentist who had a very caring approach to dentistry and was always interested in her patients. I looked up to her".

How would you describe your experience as the winner of the RCSEd & Dentsply Sirona National Student Dental Skills Competition and how do you feel this will impact your future career?

"The whole competition was such an enjoyable experience even without winning. I took the day as an opportunity to meet lots of other dental students and members of the college and didn’t expect to win at all! However, winning was amazing, I was completely overwhelmed (the photo of me says it all). I was congratulated by so many incredible people who were genuinely lovely and extremely complimentary. It has boosted my confidence in my abilities as a dentist and has introduced me to the college and its amazing members, which I will hopefully stay in contact with, presenting many opportunities for my career". 

What advice would you give to upcoming 5th year dental students who are thinking of entering the competition?

"I would say definitely enter! Even if you don’t think you’re the best at crown preps, I never expected to win even the Leeds Heat let alone the final, so who knows what might happen! Take it as an incredible opportunity to meet members of the college, see how the college works, practice skills you don’t get the opportunity to normally and make friends in other dental schools that you’ll keep in contact with for a long time".

What are the next steps for you now that you have completed your undergraduate degree?

"I am hoping to obtain a job as a DFT and further develop my dental skills. My aim is to gain lots of experience in different areas, allowing me to gain insight into what I am most interested in with a view to perhaps doing DCT and specialising".

Go to this page to learn more about the RCSEd & Dentsply Sirona National Student Dental Skills Competition and past participants. 

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