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NAMRU-SA Research Dentist Inspires Interest in STEM at Middle School Career Day
Released: 12/14/2017

From Naval Medical Research Unit - San Antonio Public Affairs

Lt. Cmdr. Jeffrey Hoyle, a research dentist with the Naval Medical Research Unit- San Antonio (NAMRU-SA) at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, demonstrates the casting of a dental mold during his presentation at the Joel C. Harris Academy Middle School Career Day in San Antonio, November 17.  Photo by Susann Whitecotten, courtesy of NAMRU-SA Public Affairs)

SAN ANTONIO – A Naval Medical Research Unit – San Antonio dentist attended Career Day at a local San Antonio middle school, November 17.

The Joel C. Harris Academy in San Antonio welcomed Lt Cmdr. Jeffrey Hoyle, a research dentist, back for an encore presentation for their annual event. Hoyle presented to almost 100 sixth graders across four classes. 

“This is my second Career Day at Harris Academy, and it’s a great experience every time,” said Hoyle. “The students are at a great age. They’re energetic, curious, and thinking about their future. They ask honest and thoughtful questions and soak up every answer.”
Hoyle sparked students’ interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM, through dentistry with an engaging presentation, videos of life on a Navy ship, and a hands-on demonstration to introduce the students to career paths in Navy Medicine.
Hoyle had their attention locked-in from the moment he showed slides from a recent deployment, which included photos of life on a Navy ship and dental operations at sea. He also presented age-appropriate clinical photographs of oral trauma and disease, asking the students to be ‘doctors’ and diagnose what they see.   

“The pathology slides always get a strong reaction, a mix of cheering and groans.  The students love it,” said Hoyle.
Part of Hoyle’s presentation included using a polyvinylsiloxane putty to demonstrate polymerization chemistry in a dental impression material used for crowns, implants, partial dentures, and other applications. He also showed them custom surgical loupes, personal protective equipment, operative and surgical instruments, restorative materials, and lab equipment.

“The students had a great time with the impression material,” said Hoyle. “They could directly relate the demonstration to an experience at the dentist, but now had a better understanding of the material science.”
 “I talked to them about what it takes to become a Navy dentist and explained the career path from high school to college and dental school,” said Hoyle.  “I told them, for the best opportunities to do interesting work like this, you need to get serious about your grades the day you start high school.

“This was a fantastic event. The students were excited to learn and the teachers and school administration were so welcoming,” said Hoyle.  
Hoyle knew he had made an impression when he heard one of the students tell a friend on the way out of the last class, “We saved the best for last!”
Naval Medical Research and Development