Reimagining the pipeline: Saturday Academy at New York University College of Dentistry goes virtual

Lorel E. Burns, Cheryline Pezzullo, Sandy Dief, Giannina Conde, Eugenia E. Mejia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose/objectives: This study describes and evaluates efforts to transition an established pre-dental pipeline program to a remote platform, in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. Methods: The semester-long pipeline program, Saturday Academy at New York University College of Dentistry, was conducted remotely through Zoom, and materials for hands-on, pre-clinical activities, were mailed to participants. Saturday Academy aims to educate underrepresented minority and low-income high school students about the college application process and the dental profession. After the program's completion, program applications and engagement data were analyzed. An anonymous online survey was administered to the high school student participants. The survey questions included topics about their interest in the profession of dentistry, satisfaction with the Saturday Academy programming, and program engagement. Results: In its remote format, Saturday Academy had an average attendance of 87.8% at each session. All (60/60, 100%) of the high school student participants responded to the anonymous program satisfaction survey. Sixty-seven percent reported an interest in the profession of dentistry before participating in the program and 82% after participating in the program. Ninety-eight percent agreed with the statement “I enjoyed my experience participating in Saturday Academy.” Additionally, 97% agreed with the statement “Saturday Academy's virtual programming was effective.” There were no statistically significant differences in program satisfaction when data from the virtual program were compared to 2 years of in-person program satisfaction data. Conclusion: Challenges to fulfilling the missions of dental institutions in response to the coronavirus pandemic impact service and recruitment efforts, in addition to formal dental education. Transitioning pipeline programming efforts, with hands-on components, to a remote format is possible and was met with favorable engagement and responses from program participants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1543-1553
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of dental education
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • COVID-19
  • career choice
  • curriculum development/evaluation
  • distance education
  • mentoring
  • minority recruitment
  • pipeline
  • predental

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Dentistry


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