Alcala Award Recipient Ryan Brennan Prepares for Dental School

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

As Ryan Brennan ’10 prepares for graduate dentistry school, he leaves behind a legacy at the University of San Diego in leadership and involvement across campus. While completing a degree in biochemistry, Brennan was the president and founder of the USD Dental Club, chief photography editor of The Vista, a pre-dental peer advisor and ambassador, the historian for Mortar Board, a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, a member of USD’s Ambassador’s Club, a member of intervarsity surf club, and a senior resident assistant.

Most recently, Brennan was also recognized at USD’s College of Arts and Sciences Commencement as a recipient of the Alcala Award, which honors the top male and female graduates who have excelled in scholastic achievement, leadership in academic and extracurricular activities, and service to the university community. When presenting him with the award, USD President Mary E. Lyons said Brennan “has great initiative, dedication and an outgoing personality that gives one the sense of a very mature individual who knows what he wants to do and has the ability and the drive to do it.  At the same time, he has the spirit of community and compassion to give of himself to others along the way.”

This spirit of community has guided Brennan through his four years at USD. In the fall of 2006, he founded the USD Dental Club to prepare and educate students interested in pursuing a career in dentistry. Through his role as founder and president he received a Trans-Border Institute grant to establish the Casa de San Eugenio Dental Project in Tijuana, Mexico. With this grant USD pre-dental students take weekend day trips to Mexico with San Diego dentists to work in the local community, assisting with dental cleanings and teaching the residents dental hygiene.

“One of the greatest accomplishments of the Dental Club has been the establishment of the Casa de San Eugenio Dental Project. I am grateful that this project will continue in the fall,” said Brennan, while reflecting on the project as both a service and learning opportunity for students.

Brennan plans to attend UCLA’s School of Dentistry this fall to pursue a career in orthodontics. During his time at USD, Brennan has taken full advantage of internship opportunities, working with a local orthodontist, completing a summer internship with a dentist in Phoenix, and participating in the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. These experiences confirmed for Brennan that a career in orthodontia was in his future.

In addition to his academic interests as a pre-dental student, Brennan is well known as the photo editor of the student paper, The Vista. For the past four years, he attended numerous university events across campus, getting to know the community and helping to share the experience of USD with students, faculty and staff, while demonstrating his love and talent for photography.

Brennan’s roles as a leader in the pre-health and pre-dental fields, as a researcher in biochemistry, as a photographer telling the story of USD, and as an honors student and member of Phi Beta Kappa and Kappa Gamma Pi, all add up into one very impressive undergraduate college experience.

“Ryan is one of the most memorable pre-dental students that I have advised in my career. His many interests and extracurricular activities underscore his strong leadership skills, maturity and commitment to USD,” said Carol Moffett, director of USD’s Pre-Health Advising and one of Brennan’s mentors. “I have no doubt that he will continue to shine as a student and a leader in the community.”

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