Class of 2024 Receives Awards

Rutgers School of Dental Medicine’s (RSDM) annual award ceremony brought together the school community and families on May 9 to celebrate the achievements of the graduating class.

Soliman and Fairfield with Dr. Fenesy
George Soliman (left) and Maria Nina Fairfield (right) with Vice Dean Kim Fenesy (center)

“This class started in the middle of the COVID pandemic, and so not only did they survive the program, but they really thrived, and they figured out how to do exceptional things during exceptional times,” said Dean Cecile A. Feldman in her welcome remarks. “I think that today is especially celebratory and significant given what everyone has gone through, yet they have done incredible things while they were at school.”

Forty-one students received various awards. In addition to department awards, students received prizes from the United States Public Health Services Award, the New Jersey Dental Association, and the Indian Student Dental Association. For the first time, the Endodontics Department awarded its inaugural American Association of Endodontists award, created by the organization’s immediate-past president and RSDM Endodontics Department Chair Craig Hirschberg.

Chang with Dr. Lota
Joy Jinyoung Chang (right) with Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs Nathalie Scarpa-Lota (left)

Two students, Maria Nina Fairfield and George Soliman, shared the prize for student with the highest GPA; for the first time in its history, RSDM had two graduating students with perfect 4.0 GPA over four years.

Eleven fourth-year students have been inducted into the Omega Omega Chapter of Omicron Kappa Upsilon (OKU), the national dental honor society. One of those inductees, Joy Chang, received an additional eight awards for her academic excellence as well as contributions as a student leader.

Congratulations to all the awardees! (*Denotes multiple awards)

Mariah Anne Adler  Daria Klemick*       
Priyanka Agarwal Julia Lazzara*
Iqra Idrees Ahmed Olga Lorenzo*
Mustafa Aldabbagh Lily Leah Madeb
Parker Lewis Aldredge* Aaisha Mapkar
Thomas Julius Aloe Hamzah Matalkah
George Jesus Alvarez Noreen Rafik Mavrakis
Claudia Barros Chaviano Patrick James McDermott
Abigail Victoria Bodeker Matthew Collier Muniz*
Jeremy Joseph Bowen* Andre Allen Paper
Joy Jinyoung Chang* Shane Park
Joseph Elias Choukair* Frank Perez
Fabiola R. Cuba Valencia* Michael A. Pignataro*
John William Dadouris* Alireza Poursayah
Maria Nina Fairfield* Maria Amged Salib*
Arya N. Ghandeharizadeh Gabrielle Marissa Sheehan*
Shimon Goldstein Kubra Sizar*
Anupama Gupta* George Soliman*
Victoria Isabella Hain Natalie Youssef
Karen Hanna Nichole Zapata*
Faraz Kahn  

OKU Omega Omega Chapter

Thomas Julius Aloe       Daria Klemick*
Jeremy Joseph Bowen* Julia Lazzaro*
Joy Jinyoung Chang* Michael A. Pignataro*
Joseph Elias Choukair* George Soliman*
Maria Nina Fairfield* Nichole Zapata*
Shimon Goldstein  
2024 OKU Inductees
The OKU inductees. Front L-R: Nichole Zapata, Maria Fairfield, Julia Lazzara, Daria Klemick. Back L-R: Jeremy Bowen, Thomas Aloe, Michael Pignataro, George Soliman, Joseph Choukair, Shimon Goldstein. Not pictured: Joy Chang