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As the spring sun glanced over the UAB’s tree-lined campus, excitement buzzed. April 19 was a big day for the School of Dentistry Class of 2028 – D1 Welcome Day – the day matriculating dental students take their first steps into a journey that will shape their futures.

Seth Killam with student admissions ambassadorsCarly Timmons McKenzie, Ph.D., assistant dean for admissions, calls Welcome Day an important milestone for incoming students before they begin classes in July.

“The event welcomes our entering D1 class into the SOD family,” she says. “We help acquaint them with our campus, share available resources and opportunities at UAB, and introduce them to our faculty, staff, and students. Welcome Day allows the class to get to know each other and begin to forge lasting bonds.”

A sea of eager faces gathered under the direction of the SOD Office of Admissions and Student Services. With a mix of excitement and nervous chatter, conversations buzzed with introductions and dreams of their futures in dentistry.

As current D1 leaders like Susannah Kendrick, the class secretary with magnetic charisma, led activities to break the ice, they helped quickly dissolve apprehensions. Within moments, strangers became fast friends, and laughter filled the room.

The day's highlights included a student organization fair at the UAB Rec Center and a panel of first-year dental students who shared their ‘tools for success.’ Guided by the SOD Ambassadors, the Class of 2028 embarked on tours that highlighted UAB’s modern, urban campus and its dental school with newly-renovated facilities. The incoming class was also sized for their UAB green scrubs - a highly anticipated activity among new dental students.

These experiences only fueled their excitement. Ready to tackle the challenges ahead, the class realized the day was just the beginning of their journey.

A member of the entering class, Seth Killam called Welcome Day ‘awesome.’ “UAB and the School of Dentistry, the faculty, staff and students, have been really helpful. I am just really excited about getting here and getting to know everybody and just starting a journey. It's a great place and it already feels like home to me, so I'm just so excited.”

Incoming D1 Peyton Cherry agreed.

Peyton Cherry “When I came and interviewed, I knew right away that UAB was a school for me,” she said. “Mainly for the clinical experience that you get early on, but also how they care for their students. I definitely felt like this was my home. UAB is definitely the place for me.”

By the end of the day the newly minted dental students were eager to tackle the challenges ahead knowing they had a network of friends, mentors, and lifelong connections as they pursue their dreams in dentistry.

“Today has been super exciting getting to meet all my classmates,” said Cherry. “Everyone is so nice and that's one thing I'm looking forward to when I get here in July. I have this wonderful community that I already can call my friends right now. UAB has been so great to me already before even being a student. So anything you throw at me, I'm ready for it.”