Ohio State Dental Journal

Lydia Lancaster, DDS, Makes Her Mark as a Student Trustee

Appointed by Governor Kasich as the graduate/professional student member of The Ohio State University Board of Trustees, orthodontic resident Lydia Lancaster, ’16 DDS, is the first student from the College of Dentistry to serve on the Board since 1988. Dr. Lancaster shares highlights of her experiences:

Q) What is your role as the graduate/professional student member of the Board?

A) Student trustees share the same duties as the other board members. The board is responsible for fiduciary duties and making higher-level decisions that benefit the university and its future. As the junior student member, I serve on the Master Planning and Facilities, Audit and Compliance, and Academic and Student Life committees. The work of those committees represents a major part of the board’s work, as the committees’ recommendations are reviewed and acted upon by the full board. 

In addition to these responsibilities, the student members hold the special responsibility of interacting with other student leaders and, perhaps most importantly, providing a student perspective to the board. My perspective is especially unique, as I have the opportunity to present the professional student’s experience, as well as the graduate student’s, now that I’m pursuing a master’s degree during my specialty training. 

Q) It’s early in your term, but what has been the highlight for you so far? 

A) Though all of my board experience has been extremely rewarding, I think one of the most special highlights is that I have been in the first student trustee class in the entire state to have voting rights. The Ohio legislature approved these rights earlier this year, and my first board meeting in June was the first meeting when student votes were cast. It’s a grave responsibility that includes setting a positive and well-balanced precedent for Ohio, with the hope that other student trustees may have this opportunity in the future. I am also excited to be part of the university’s five-year strategic plan development, which was just recently announced. 

Q) Do you think this role will enhance/enrich your career as a dental health professional? 

A) Being a student trustee has already taught me volumes about leadership and professionalism. Something I think students don’t always appreciate during dental school is that at the end of the day, dentists are leaders. Whether holding an official position in the American Dental Association or being a dedicated practice owner, the dentist is a team leader. The board has undoubtedly allowed me to grow from this perspective.