Student of the Year - Jazmin Jones

Jazmin JonesJazmin Jones

University of Maryland School of Dentistry
Class of 2022

Jazmin Jones is passionate about dentistry and service, two pursuits that will coalesce next year when she’s scheduled to begin a four-year military commitment as a U.S. Army dentist.

“I love so many aspects of dentistry: the biology, engineering, and art that make it all happen,” says Jones, a fourth-year Doctor of Dental Surgery student at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry (UMSOD). “Dentistry is incredibly fulfilling and allows me to really make an impact on individual lives. How many people can say that they literally give people’s smiles back? I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”

Jones attends UMSOD on a full U.S. Army Health Professions Scholarship. After graduation in May 2022, she will start four years of obligated service beginning with the rank of captain. After her residency, she plans to apply for an Army pediatrics specialty.

“I look forward to providing dental care to military dependents,” she says. “I’m really passionate about providing this specific population with a welcoming dental home wherever they are, nationally or internationally.”

Jones has honed her dental, service, and leadership skills at UMSOD over the past three years, and her excellence in all aspects has earned her recognition as one of the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) inaugural Students of the Year.

“As the Class of 2022 president and as a female and minority student, Jazmin has served successfully as a role model for her peers — providing valuable insight, guidance, communication, and vision with a maturity beyond her years,” said Karen Faraone, DDS, MA, associate dean of student affairs at UMSOD. “Her communication skills were particularly useful in the face of the multiple demands created by the COVID-19 pandemic, as she and her team worked to provide guidance and encouragement for the entire student body.”

“Trying to manage communication among students, staff, and administration was taxing at times, especially with everything going virtual,” Jones said. “In the thick of the pandemic, everyone was pretty emotionally drained, and it was difficult to keep up morale. With time, though, the tides changed as everyone adapted to these new and unprecedented changes. All in all, I’m very proud of the mental fortitude, adaptability, and sheer hard work everyone showed.”

In addition to her class presidency, Jones co-founded the UMSOD Global Health Student Association and served as vice president of the chapter. She also holds leadership roles in numerous other organizations, including the UMSOD chapters of the Hispanic Dental Association, American Student Dental Association, and Maryland Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

Committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, Jones is a member of UMB’s Diversity Advisory Council, serving on a subcommittee that offers insights on how the University’s schools can promote diversity within their curricula. She participated in the UMB President’s Student Leadership Institute, with concentrations in effective leadership and inclusive leadership, and served as a student interviewer during UMB’s recruitment of an executive director of intercultural leadership and engagement.

These roles put a lot on Jones’ plate, but it was all part of her long-term plan. 

“My main motivation in pursuing these opportunities stems from my future military career,” Jones said. “I know that in those settings I will be called for leadership and service, and I want to prepare myself the best I can. That being said, there have been days when it has been difficult to truly balance it all, and in those times, I tend to rely on my wonderful group of friends and family. Their support means the world to me.” 

Jones is a star in the classroom, too. Because of her strong academic record, she was recognized as a member of the Gorgas Odontological Honorary Society and the Gamma Pi Delta Prosthodontics Honor Society and selected to participate in a pediatric dentistry clerkship during her senior year at UMSOD. She also is conducting research on treatment outcomes of silver diamine fluoride application on primary and mixed dentition for the Department of Pediatric Dentistry.

Jones is a 2017 graduate of the University of California, San Diego, earning bachelor’s degrees in human biology and theater. She said her decision to attend UMSOD was greatly influenced by the chance to service a diverse patient population.

“I felt that being able to care for different types of people from various cultures would provide me a more fulfilling experience and help me navigate future patient care better,” Jones said.

Ramsay Koury, DMD, clinical assistant professor, UMSOD, has been impressed with Jones’ work in clinical situations, describing her as “a wonderfully caring and empathetic person.”

“Jazmin has developed good relationships with her patients and works very hard to continually improve her clinical skills,” Koury said. “It’s been a pleasure getting to know Jazmin. She is always positive and caring, always wanting to help others. I wholeheartedly approve of her selection as UMB Student of the Year.”

Jones said she was surprised and honored to win the UMB award, calling it “surreal” when she received a call of congratulations from UMB President Bruce E. Jarrell, MD, FACS.

“I never thought I would be selected, especially among so many worthy candidates,” Jones said. “It’s hard to wrap my head around, but I am so thankful for my amazing mentors, wonderful friends, and family for helping me get to this point. It was a group effort.”

— Lou Cortina