USC University of Southern California

Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC

Endo Around the World


By Jennifer Teng

What do Australia, Las Vegas, and a desert in Peru all have in common?  They are all sites of the USC School of Dentistry’s innovative contest to get dental students excited and motivated about Endodontics.  As creator of the contest and Undergraduate Endodontics Program Director Thomas Levy explained, “Gotta have some fun!”

Inspired by TV personality Matt Lauer’s program, “Where in the World is Matt Lauer,” Levy challenged incoming sophomores to take the endodontics manual along with signs claiming “Endo Rules!” with them on their winter vacations three years ago.  The competition allows students to get creative by posing and taking photos with the manual in various parts of the world, doing exciting and many times unusual activities. 

The photos are then judged and the winner receives a $25 Starbucks gift card.  Last year’s winning photograph displayed a dental student milking a cow in India while reading the manual.  Other students have ventured into other places such as deserts in Peru, Nicaragua, the Sydney Opera House in Australia, the Rose Bowl, and one student even posed with the manual while gambling in Las Vegas.

Levy said the competition truly works to inspire incoming sophomores to open the manual and take an interest in endodontics.

“They enjoy it and I enjoy it,” he said.