Joanna Ferguson is currently at Penn Dental Medicine pursuing her DMD. She graduated from the University of Virginia where she received her Bachelor’s degree in both Foreign Affairs and African American/African Studies. After her time at U.Va, she joined Teach for America and taught Kindergarten in Atlanta Public Schools for two years. Prior to matriculation into the DMD program she worked as a dental assistant at a pediatric dental office and was inspired to pursue a career in pediatric dentistry. Her past work experience combined with her work with Teach for America drives her to explore avenues of public health related to underserved pediatric populations.
As a SUMR Scholar, Joanna worked with Dr. Kevin Jenkins and Dr. Brenda Curtis on two distinct projects. Dr. Jenkins’ project focused on highlighting the correlation of chronic illness amongst minorities with psychosocial stress surfacing from racist exchanges. Dr. Curtis’ research compiled social media language with machine learning to predict opioid trends in various counties. These projects offered unique relevance to dentistry as both opioid abuse and treating patients with chronic illness are seen frequently in the field.
Outside of academics Joanna has a passion for both cooking and entertaining. She will be joining the DuBois College House as a Graduate Advisor while continuing to serve as the Curriculum Chair on her class council. Additionally, she was elected as Vice President of Community Relations for BGAPSA, an organization that unites African-American graduate students enrolled at Penn