Amy Killeen, D.D.S., an assistant professor in the department of surgical specialties at the UNMC College of Dentistry, had just found out she was the recipient of the 2015 American Dental Education Association Council of Students, Residents and Fellows/Colgate-Palmolive Co. Junior Faculty Award.
"I opened the door and there stood three students, so excited they were screaming," said Dr. Killeen, who teaches periodontics, the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders of the gums. "It was humbling and pretty cool."
Dr. Killeen received the award at the annual ADEA meeting held in April in Boston, accompanied by four of her students who met her with flowers and hearty congratulations.
In their three-page nomination letter, the dentistry students describe the dedication, talent and creativity of their periodontal professor, and sum it up with a catch phrase: "We have learned to go above and beyond and to be 'Killeen.'"
"We trust and value Dr. Killeen," the students write. "As a junior faculty member, she brings knowledge far beyond her years, yet can easily relate to our anxiety in dealing with our first patient."
It's that personal connection that Dr. Killeen relishes.
"I'm not that much older than they are as far as education and experience, but I also have experience and can offer my expertise while still remembering what it is like to be a student taking finals or board exams," she said.
The students said it best when they finished their letter by stating:
"Dr. Killeen has proven to be a true role model through her passion for patient care, respect for students and fellow professionals, and her vested interest in helping students take large strides forward in their dental education. Her didactic and clinical teaching are just the start of what she has to offer and is merely a glimpse into her real world teaching that our periodontal department and school has been fortunate enough to have. For this reason, we are confident that she is the perfect candidate and deserves to receive national recognition."
I am so glad Dr. Killeen is still at UNL School of Dentistry and received the award. I met her in 2006 or 2007 as a patient. I had to have a tooth extracted, my first, and Dr. Killeen was so kind and caring in helping me understand what had happened and what was going to be done. She spent time explaining my options and it was obvious that she has a heart for the patient. I'm returning as a patient soon and it is comforting to know Dr. Killeen is there instilling her knowledge and kind ways into her students.