Thursday, May 25, 2017
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- What started as a randomly assigned group project is now helping save lives all across the world.
Diana Tran, Dahlia Levine, Varun Iyer, and Zach Dubin, four students at the Dental College of Georgia at Augusta University, were randomly put into a group to come up with a class assignment during their first semester of dental college in 2014.
That assignment, a plan for a grant.
It turns out it wasn't half bad. Their professor suggested they submit it for an actual grant.
A few months later they were awarded $20,000, much to their surprise.
Zach had a personal tie to the topic of the grant - oral cancer. He helped take care of his aunt after she was diagnosed.
With the money from the grant the four were able to create the C.O.P.E. With Cancer student organization.
After a few years of research and outreach, the group put together a video to teach people ways to screen themselves for oral cancer. Their focus is on empowering patients and keeping doctors informed.
Now as fourth year dental students the group has gained national and even international attention with this video and their work. They have been pretty surprised by all the buzz.
They're hoping on creating more videos, their next focus pediatric oral cancer.