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Caris Smith, a DMD/PhD student, has been selected for the 2022-23 Gert Quigley Government Affairs Fellowship by the American Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research (AADOCR).

The public policy fellowship is designed to familiarize graduate-level students with the federal legislative process in the context of dental, oral, and craniofacial research and the oral health care delivery system. Students can learn about federal policymaking, work on projects to advance AADOCR policy priorities and meet with members of the scientific research and public health communities in Washington, D.C.

“It is an incredible honor to have been selected for this prestigious student opportunity,” said Smith. “I look forward to serving as a member of the AADOCR Government Affairs Committee and as the government affairs liaison to the organization’s National Student Research Group.”

A dual degree student in the Dental Academic Research Training (DART) Program, Smith has assisted in the Javed, Hassan, and Amm Labs. He has coauthored several original research papers and presented posters at the UAB School of Dentistry Scholars Symposium and the UAB Graduate Biomedical Sciences Symposium, and at several research conference as an undergraduate.

Smith is a member of the IADR/AADOCR, serves as Regional Representative for Southeast A, and has been elected vice president of the National Student Research Group. He is also president of the UAB Student Research Group and serves as a mentor for undergraduates, dental students, and residents in their scientific endeavors. He received the Randall Outstanding Research Award in 2019 and the Outstanding Regional Representative Award in 2021.

Training as both a scientist and a clinician, Smith says that he ultimately hopes to bridge the gap by training students and researchers to understand one another’s work.