Dental Student Honored with Remington R. Williams Award

Congratulations to Diversity In Dentistry Mentorships, Inc Mentee and D4 UMKC School of Dentistry, Shonte Reed, on being awarded the inaugural Remington R. Williams award for outstanding leadership and dedication to service at University of Missouri-Kansas City.

The Board of Curators meeting at the University of Missouri on June 29, 2023.
Photo by Sam O’Keefe/University of Missouri

“Remington R. Williams Award, named in honor of late student leader and UMKC alumnus, recognizes outstanding character and collaborative spirit.

Shonte Reed, a rising fourth-year DDS student at the UMKC School of Dentistry, has been chosen to be the inaugural UMKC recipient of the Remington R. Williams Award.

She will be recognized at the June 29 Board of Curators meeting for maintaining an outstanding academic record while providing exceptional leadership and service.

UMKC alumnus Remington Williams (J.D. ’22), the student representative to the University of Missouri Board of Curators, died in a car accident last year. He was revered as a natural leader and caring human being who accomplished much, driven by a passion for helping others.

“Shonte Reed has demonstrated exceptional leadership and commitment to her classmates, and to her community,” said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. “Her tireless efforts to encourage more young people of color to pursue careers in dentistry and other health professions are a testament to her character, and exemplify the spirit of Remy Williams.”

During her time at UMKC, Reed has served as Student Council vice president of the class of 2024; president of the UMKC Student National Dental Association/Hispanic Student Dental Association; national vice president of the Student National Dental Association; treasurer for the UMKC Dental Anesthesiology Club; and a representative on the School of Dentistry Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council. She established a national network of prospective and current minority dental students through her social media platform and business, Black Dental Students & Pre-Dents, LLC. Faculty and staff turn to her often to counsel prospective students from underrepresented backgrounds as an ambassador for the UMKC School of Dentistry.

She mobilized the organizations she led to participate in recruitment efforts at historically Black colleges and universities; led efforts by the organization to support Black-owned businesses in Kansas City; and organized holiday toy drives for Children’s Mercy Hospital in 2021 and 2022.

Reed also has served as a mentor in the Students Training in Academia, Health, and Research (STAHR) Partnership, a collaborative of the UMKC schools of medicine, dentistry and pharmacy. The program is designed to increase the number of students from disadvantaged backgrounds entering health care programs and better prepare them for success academically and professionally.

In a letter of recommendation to the scholarship committee, Richard H. Bigham, assistant dean for student programs, wrote: “In my twenty plus years of working in higher education, she is the most exceptional student I have ever supported and has become a transformational leader for our community.”

In addition to multiple recommendations from School of Dentistry faculty and staff, her nomination was also endorsed by Laila Hishaw, DDS, a UMKC alumna and president of the board, Diversity in Dentistry Mentorships Inc.; and Melissa Robinson, president of the Black Health Care Coalition in Kansas City.

The Remington R. Williams Awards are the highest non-academic award bestowed on students by the Board of Curators and are given in memory of his outstanding service as Student Representative to the Board (2020-2022). Recipients will be selected annually from among the four UM System universities and will receive a leadership medal to wear at graduation, a $1,000 award and an invitation to be recognized at a Board of Curators meeting.

The awards recognize exceptional student leaders who have also made an impact on their respective institution, inspired growth and development of fellow students in both academics and extracurricular activities, and exhibited outstanding character and collaborative spirit at all times.”

Read the full article here.