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High Schoolers Can 'Smile' While Exploring Dental Careers at Summer Camp in Maine

Posted on June 20, 2012

A unique camp at the University of New England in Portland, Maine, addresses the region's shortage of dentists by introducing students to dental careers through hands-on activities.

Portland, Maine (PRWEB) June 18, 2012

With the official start of summer this week, many high school students have shifted gears from school studies to summer camp. But not all set their sights on traditional camp activities like swimming, fishing, or arts & crafts. In fact, 20 teenagers in Maine and New Hampshire have chosen to "open wide" to an innovative and interesting alternative -- the University of New England's third annual “Dental Careers Exploration Camp” taking place Sunday, June 24 through Tuesday, June 26, 2012 on UNE's Portland Campus.

Students hail from the Maine towns of Norway, Saco, Ashland, Chebeague Island, Fort Fairfield, Berwick, North Berwick, Lisbon, Wade, Cape Elizabeth, Kennebunk, Holden and Fort Kent, and from New Hampshire's Pelham and Lisbon communities.

On Monday, June 25, the high schoolers will get hands-on exposure to various dental techniques in a clinical setting on a patient simulator, including drilling and filling teeth. On the morning of Tuesday, June 26, students will job shadow at dental offices in the area.

“The need for increased access to dental care in Maine is great,” said James Koelbl, Dean of UNE’sCollege of Dental Medicine, scheduled to open in the fall of 2013. “We hope this camp will inspire our next generation of dentists. Forty-one percent of Maine’s dentists are 55 years or older, and the American Dental Education Association has forecasted that in five years, more dentists will be retiring from the work force than graduating from school.”

Time Warner Cable is among this year’s sponsors as part of the company’s Connect a Million Minds philanthropic initiative to encourage young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

“We share a commitment with UNE to inspire the next generation of scientists, innovators and problem-solvers,” said Paul S. Schonewolf, Time Warner Cable’s area vice president of operations. “UNE’s dental camp is a great way for young people to discover their potential for careers in science and technology as well as help address an issue of critical importance in Maine – the acute shortage of dentists.”

UNE’s Dental Careers Exploration Camp is sponsored by Time Warner Cable, TD Bank and the Maine AHEC Network.

About University of New England

The University of New England is an innovative health sciences university grounded in the liberal arts. UNE has internationally recognized scholars in the liberal arts, sciences, health and medicine; offers more than 40 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs; and is home to Maine’s only medical school. Its two distinctive campuses on the coast of southern Maine offer student-centered interprofessional programs in the Westbrook College of Health Professions, College of Osteopathic Medicine, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Pharmacy, and College of Graduate Studies. The College of Dental Medicine will enroll its inaugural class in 2013. For more information, visit http://www.une.edu.