UF Dental College: The Struggle to Acceptance


Many people may have heard about the College of Dentistry at the University of Florida, or even know a friend or two that strive to succeed in the competitive college. Little do people know just how involved with the public this college actually is or the fact that less than a hundred applicants are accepted into the college when over a thousand apply each year.

I spoke to the human resources assistant in the School of Advanced Dental Sciences, Audra Lewis, to find out just how competitive the college is. She directed me to the Colleges website for exact statistics, but enlightened me to the fact that the college is unique in the fact that its clinics are open to the public and that they provide low cost dental care while training their students in the most up to date techniques in periodontics, orthodontics, prosthodontics, pediatric surgery, oral surgery and pathology.


Creating media elements:

This was a rather in depth assignment that I can imagine being assigned for a health magazine or local newspaper. Because the college is so big and affiliated with such a prestigious program, it can be difficult to speak to someone who can answer all of your questions. Luckily being a student at UF makes the process much easier to navigate.

In an office setting, I found that lighting and audio were much less tedious a task to deal with than in a less predictable environment that I had been dealing with prior to this project. Also, dealing with the biggest part of the project fist, the video interview, allowed me to gather more information and ask for other sources of information to pull the other elements of this project to the standards to the interview.

I also never realized how well the various elements of media such as video, photographs and info-graphic can compliment each other and add to the story that you are trying to tell before I began to tackle this particular project.

Infographic for final

Coming together:

My interview with Audra Lewis made it clear that the story that I thought that I would find at the College of Dentistry was definitely there. Though all of the colleges at UF are challenging in their own way, the college of Dentistry amounts to a full time job working with the public while still having a full workload to receive credit for the classes that interns and residents are required to take through the college. This may be one of the most hands on learning experiences that I have come across.

For all of these reasons, I found it not all that surprising that so few students are accepted into the college each year and those that are are exposed to a very high paced and demanding learning environment.

My goal through this assignment was to find out why students at UF are so aware of the dental students difficulty and also why their curriculum rivals that of premed students. I think through a combination of opinions and statistics I was able to gather enough information to understand the hardships that being a dentistry student entails.


What Is A Service Dog?

I noticed that Christabel McGarry was training her service dog through A Pawsitive K9 Training’s facebook page. I found out that Christabel was not only a college student at UF, but also in the process of training her 6 month old German Shepard/Bulldog puppy, Atlas, how to be a service dog. I thought that this was interesting and rather impressive because college is a lot of work as it is in addition to rescuing a puppy and training him to fit her needs.

Christabel agreed to let me ask her some questions and even brought me with her to get some footage of Atlas interacting with some of his puppy friends at her local dog park. Though Atlas is early in his training, she told me a little about what she does in order to help him remember his training and to encourage him to follow her commands (he is very food oriented as are most dogs). I found the entire experience to be very exciting because, though she puts a lot of time into training him, Atlas will help Christabel every day once his training is complete.

For deeper insight into Christabel and her future service dog, watch my video below.


Cuong Nhu – Cypress dojo

This was a very interesting story to cover. I have always found martial arts to be interesting so I though that this would be a good story for my photo-essay. It was also a good time because, from what I was told, things get even more interesting in Cuong Nhu the closer it gets to testing. Testing takes place at the end of the semester when students test for a new rank and receive either a new stripe or belt. I got to talk to a lot of interesting people and learn a lot about what it takes to get to the higher ranks of Cuong Nhu. I found out that even though they train as a group for the most part, each student and sensei is learning a completely different curriculum at any given time. I also found out that there is more to Cuong Nhu than martial arts, there is also a code called philosophies that each student learns in order to live and use their abilities for the right reasons.

Cuong Nhu is similar to the dedication that a student needs to get through college. All of these students go to practice up to four times per week. They also participate in other events like car washes, volunteering and training camp where people from different dojos come together to discuss and practice different techniques.

I learned a lot about photography through this assignment, mostly about how hard it is to get the shot that you want on moving subjects. I took over 200 photos during the 2 hours that I spent at Cypress dojo. I probably only got 20 photos out of that collection that I would have published. Even those needed cropping and color touchups. I also really enjoyed playing with different angles. Different photos look better from above or below, ect. I also tried to use the backgrounds to frame, or compliment, the image. For this collection, I found it useful to use setting and medium shots to capture the entire group and the motions that they were making throughout their practice.

Student Borrowing Infographic

Infographics are a great way to translate information into a visual, easy to comprehend medium. My first infographic is a visual representation of an article called “The Changing Profile of Student Borrowers”, which is more interesting than it sounds. Students that are now graduating from college, myself included, are more and more likely to graduate with high levels of student debt.

My infographic shows the exact amount of debt that students are accumulating along with a few of the major causes and effects of increased student borrowing. The information in my design could be presented in any number of ways. I used a line and bar graph to represent the amount of borrowing and statistics and trending patterns to support the numerical graphs. Though both visual and written facts can both be helpful, sometimes you need more than one element of visualization to create a story that the reader will understand.

My infographic entitled “Student Borrowers Then & Now” uses a brighter color scheme with red, yellow and orange to draw attention to each element of the design and to contrast with the black typeface. I balanced the graphic by using blocked text on either side of the graphs in the center.

I hadn’t realized until after the design was almost finished that I had chosen to reasons for the increased borrowing rates, class structure and parent education. I also chose two effects of the borrowing, decreased creditworthiness and student debt differences between males and females.

Photo credit