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DeRouen Center team members honored for achievements, community service

Members of Class of 2020
At a UW School of Dentistry scholarship recognition event, Jessica Latimer (second from right) and Marcus Hwang (far right) join fellow dental students (from left) Micah Bovenkamp, Taylor Wilkins, Ruben Reyes, Aneka Vo, Esther Yi, and Justin Flinkman.

UW dental students Marcus Hwang and Jessica Latimer, who are serving on projects for the Timothy A. DeRouen Center for Global Oral Health, have been recognized for their exceptional academic achievement and community service.

Hwang, who studied biochemistry at the UW before entering dental school, received the University of Washington Hall of Fame award as a co-founder of Husky Health Bridge, a student-led community service group that serves homeless people and others at risk. The award recognizes students who have made an outstanding contribution to the UW community.

Latimer, who is also a Husky Health Bridge co-founder, received the 2016 UW Dental Class of 1951 Legacy Endowed Student Scholarship. This award recognizes students whose academic achievements, creative excellence, and outstanding performance at the School of Dentistry and at the University of Washington puts them at the top of their class.

When the university hosted Tent City 3 for homeless people, Hwang helped lead dental students in creating two on-site clinics for the camp residents. Within a year, his humanitarian organization has established monthly dental care for Tent City 3 residents and expanded access to dental services for homeless people in the Seattle area.​

“Winning the University of Washington Hall of Fame Award was unexpected,” Hwang said. “I grew up feeling like I had to struggle to achieve something, but I didn’t feel like that for this award. I simply worked consistently for something that I believed in: that people with more privilege had more responsibility to try to find solutions to problems in the world. I felt a sense of relief that this cause was recognized.”

Hwang is also a recipient of the 2016 Ray Chalmers Endowed Scholarship at the School of Dentistry.​

Latimer, another UW graduate, received her BS in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology in 2014. She is especially committed to developing access to health care for underserved communities.

“Having grown up in Yakima, Washington, I have met many hard-working people who struggle to make ends meet, let alone obtain health care services,” she said. “I believe all people have a right to good health, and I intend to work for this right throughout my professional career.”​

With Husky Health Bridge, she has served as director of relief efforts. She is also an active member of the Hispanic Student Dental Association and a regular volunteer at the Seattle Union Gospel Mission.

“I work with a fantastic team of enthusiastic and compassionate students. I cannot be prouder of them,” said Dr. Ana Lucia Seminario, director of the DeRouen Center, who mentors both students. They are also her research assistants.

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