An expression of gratitude

On May 15, the University of Utah School of Dentistry conferred Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) on 46 fourth-year candidates.

Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 outbreak, these accomplished graduates safely completed their academic and clinical education. Sixteen are joining prestigious post-graduate residencies around the country. Additionally, they have become national leaders, working closely with their administrators and state officials to advocate for a manikin-based licensing exam next month.

Unable to celebrate together physically, fourth-year student Yuliya Petukhova gifted her classmates and the school with the attached original sketch to commemorate their collective achievement. In addition to receiving multiple awards for her academic accomplishments, including the 2020 Elizabeth Fuhriman Gardner Prize for the Outstanding Woman Student in the University of Utah Health Sciences, Petukhova has been accepted to a prestigious six-year dental residency in oral surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

When faced with the disappointment of not being able to be together again as a class physically, fellow graduate Marilyn Sadler jokingly asked her friend to sketch the class. Known not only for her incredible artistry but for her perseverance, hard work, and big heart, Petukova spent ten days capturing the joyful faces of her classmates. The result not only left her peers and administrators in tears, but it proved that in this time of physical distancing, isolation and virtual celebrations, some gifts would endure.