News and Events

Two International Dental Students Honored with Annual Dixon Scholarship Award

Drs. Abhishek Ruparelia (left) and Navreet Randhawa (right) with Rosemary Dixon.

November  29, 2012

Two International Dental Studies (IDS) students were recently honored for academic achievements and involvement with student leadership. Drs. Navreet Randhawa and Abhishek Ruparelia, both members of the IDS Class of 2013, were presented with the 7th Annual Dr. F. Gene and Rosemary Dixon Scholarship Award during a ceremony on Nov. 27. The scholarship acknowledges various achievements made by Randhawa and Abhishek and awards them each $3,000.

The Dixons, longtime donors and friends of the dental school, created the Dr. F. Gene and Rosemary Dixon IDS Endowment in Spring 2005 to provide scholarships for international dental students at the Dugoni School. Recipients are selected based on demonstrated leadership qualities and academic accomplishments made during their time in the IDS program.

During the scholarship presentation program, Rosemary Dixon shared thoughts about her late husband and their motivation in starting the endowment. The Dugoni School is among the very few dental schools in the country offering a scholarship exclusively for IDS students, thanks to the support of the Dixons.

Dr. Birender Sandhu speaking during ceremony

Dr. Birender Sandhu spoke to current IDS students during the ceremony.

Also in attendance were Dr. Birender Sandhu, an alumnus from the inaugural IDS class of 1989, and his wife Kinkin. Sandhu shared words of support and encouragement for the IDS students and discussed the impact the program has had on his professional career. Remarks were also given by Dean Patrick Ferrillo, Jr., and Dr. Arthur A. Dugoni, who shared a brief history of the formation of the IDS program, as well as Dr. Pat King, current director of the IDS program.

The first scholarship award recipient, Dr. Navreet Randhawa, earned her dental degree in 2006 from the Sri Guru Ram Das Institute of Dental Sciences and Research in Amritsar, India. Since starting at the Dugoni School she has been involved with many student groups including the American Student Dental Association (ASDA), in which she serves as a representative for her class. Navreet has also worked with ASDA's governance and advocacy manager on the inclusion of dentistry as a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) Designated Degree Program.

Randhawa is also involved with the dental school's Student Community Outreach for Public Education (SCOPE) program, and has volunteered her time at various community outreach events in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2012 she was a co-coordinator for the school's annual Bridge Builders event, which brings together the school community in a celebration of different cultures and ethnicities. Additionally Randhawa is involved with the dental school's research activities and presented research findings at the school's Excellence Day, a yearly showcase of student achievements.

Dr. Abhishek Ruparelia, the second scholarship award recipient, received his dental degree in 2008 from the Rajiv Ghandi University of Health Sciences in Ramanagara, India. For both of his years at the Dugoni School he has served as class president, acting as the primary representative and advocate for the IDS Class of 2013 to the greater school community.

He has also been involved with SCOPE and is an extramural committee representative. Furthermore, Ruparelia has been involved with school research activities and was honored with an award for independent research. With Randhawa, he co-coordinated the Bridge Builders event in Spring of 2012, and he is affiliated with many school clubs and study groups.

Dixon Scholarship event attendees

"Navreet and Abhishek are both enthusiastic, dedicated students and are much deserving of this special acknowledgement," said King. "Despite having busy schedules, both make it a priority to give back to the community, participate in organized dentistry and school activities, and represent their IDS classmates to the greater school community."

IDS students hold dental degrees from schools outside the U.S., but need accreditation to practice in the United States. By completing the IDS program at the Dugoni School, students earn a U.S. doctor of dental surgery degree and eligibility to sit for any state or regional dental board in the country. The two-year accelerated program is very popular, receiving more than 600 applications and enrolling just 22 students in July of each year.

For more information about the IDS Program, visit

Category Type: Honors and Awards, Special Events

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