USC University of Southern California

Ostrow Student Research Group Publication Wins 2012 Meskin Journalism Award

Steven Johnson DDS 13, Heather Stephens DDS 12 Meskin Award
Steven Johnson DDS ’13 and Heather Stephens DDS ’12 received commemorative plaques for the 2012 Meskin Journalism Award (pictured with Dan Jenkins, president of the American Association of Dental Editors).

The American Association of Dental Editors honored the Explorer magazine, published by the Ostrow School of Dentistry Student Research Group, as the best North American dental student publication of 2011.

The 2012 Lawrence H. Meskin Award was presented to past editor-in-chief Heather Stephens DDS ’12 and outgoing Student Research Group President Steven Johnson DDS ’13 at a luncheon at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco during the 2012 AADE Conference on October 17.

Student-helmed publications from the U.S. and Canada are judged on both editorial content and design. Winners receive a cash prize for the student group, a plaque for the school, and a plaque for the editor-in-chief.

The Explorer features in-depth articles regarding scientific investigation at the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC, including dental and craniofacial biology research as well as research in the Divisions of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy and Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. The magazine is published each year in time for the school’s annual Research Day and also includes a program and exhibitor abstracts for the event.

“What makes the Explorer different is that students not only write all of the articles, but also do all of the page design and publication work,” said Stephens, editor-in-chief of the winning issue.

“We really try to highlight the extraordinary research happening here at USC that students contribute to. One question that I was repeatedly asked by other students is ‘How to I get involved in research?’ Reading through the Explorer is meant to answer that question.”

She added that being involved with a publication such as the Explorer provides big benefits for dental students.

“When you are asked during an interview, ‘What makes you different from other applicants?” you can hand them a copy of a high quality, award winning publication and say ‘I helped make this.’” Stephens said. “Being involved in the Explorer shows that you value not only the process of research but also the necessity of sharing what is learned from research projects.”

Johnson said being a part of the Explorer helps students solidify their understanding of research as well as hone their communication skills.

“It has provided me and others with opportunities to get the most out of our education at USC,” he said. “Interviewing faculty and talking to the SRG leadership in club meetings helped us learn about the leading studies being done at USC and then communicate that information through our articles to the student body at Research Day. I think the students involved in this publication also learn how to communicate their individual ideas.”

Stephens and Johnson also acknowledged the hard work of their fellow Ostrow students as well as the support of faculty advisers Yang Chai and Parish Sedghizadeh, Ostrow staff members Donna Castillo and Patricia Thompson, and the members of the school’s annual Research Day planning committee for their help in making the Explorer a success.

“This Meskin Journalism award clearly reflects the innovative nature of our students,” said Chai, associate dean of research for the Ostrow School of Dentistry.

“It is not an accident that our students’ research publication is selected for this award. The Explorer reveals the depth and broad areas of our ongoing research programs and the opportunities available to our students and trainees to be part of the innovation and discovery process at USC.  I am very proud of their accomplishments.”

To learn more about Ostrow student research and read the Explorer, click here.