student inductees at OKU induction ceremony

Students and Faculty Inducted into OKU

The Columbia University College of Dental Medicine Epsilon Epsilon chapter of Omicron Kappa Upsilon (OKU)—the national dental honor society — inducted 11 CDM students and three members of the faculty members at its annual ceremony on May 9, 2023.

dean and faulty at oku induction

Induction to the society is recognition of student achievement. Inductees are members of the senior class who have demonstrated exemplary scholarship, character, and leadership. Dr. John Grbic, the chapter’s president, noted that the induction was taking place in person for the first time since 2019. “The students being inducted tonight had not yet arrived at CDM the last time we were able to meet in person,” he said.

The 2023 CDM student inductees were Anamaria Carrasco, Jessica Castillo, Renee Eisenberg, Navreet Kaur, Simon Luu, Maura Lynch, Charlotte Martin, Margot Metz, Yvonne O’Neal, Nolan Wendling, and Zeming Zheng.

Faculty inductees, who are inducted based on their “contribution to the art, science or literature of dentistry,” were Mona Boside, DDS, AEGD ’16, ’17, Endo ’11, assistant professor of dental medicine at CUMC Division of Endodontics, and Alison Newgard, DDS, assistant professor of dental medicine at CUMC Division of Operative Dentistry. "I was honored to be inducted into a society that includes such influential and dedicated faculty," said Newgard. “I was equally excited for the students that were inducted. Their hard work in the clinic deserves to be rewarded.”

“I am both honored to join this prestigious society and inspired by my fellow inductees, both faculty and graduating students,” Boside said.

Dr. Grbic and inductee Dr. Newgard

OKU president Dr. Grbic and inductee Dr. Newgard

The honorary inductee was Carol Kunzel, PhD, MA, professor of dental community health and sociomedical sciences at CUMC and director, subdivision of socio-behavioral sciences, Division of Foundational Sciences. Kunzel, who was CDM’s director of research for 12 years before taking on her new role, noted that her induction was an honor that

she shared with the students whose work she guided. “I am forever enriched by my opportunity to know our student researchers,” she said. “To know them and to grow with them through their research endeavors.”

Omicron Kappa Upsilon was established in 1914 at Northwestern University Dental School to recognize students who distinguish themselves by high levels of scholarship. Epsilon Epsilon, the CDM chapter, was founded in 1934 and has more than 500 members in the categories of alumni, honorary, and faculty.