Today's #TributeTuesday comes from Caitlin Cottrell, one of Claire's dental school (University of Louisville School of Dentistry ) classmates and good friend. Thank you so much for your kind words.
"I can’t believe I’m even writing this. Claire VanLandingham made such an impact on not only the people she met, but the community as a whole. While most people would only do the required 16 hours of community service to graduate dental school, she did countless hours and truly enjoyed it. She was always an advocate for survivors of domestic violence, and it saddens me so much that that is what ultimately took her from us. She was such a kindhearted, fun and loving person who would go out of her way to help anyone. She could could brighten anyone’s day, especially when it came to bringing baked goods and writing a silly song to get our class through the next big exam or to graduation. I am a better person for having known Claire and along with so many others, we will miss her so much."
Today's Tribute comes from Selene Carter, who was one of Claire's professors at Indiana University. Below is the official recommendation letter she wrote as part of Claire's application to dental school.
Claire VanLandingham was my student this spring in the course HPER D231: Introduction to Dance Studies. This course is unique in that it involves actual dance practices as well as the cultural and scholarly study of dance in the context of society.
Claire came into the course with a solid understanding of the classical and performing arts. What she accomplished over the weeks we worked together was that she distinguished herself as both a critical thinker and creative artist. Her participation in group studies and class discussions was outstanding; always contributing insightful comments and peer support in learning situations. No longer just a classical form of entertainment for Claire; dance became a vital conduit to understanding life in our current world.
I heartily recommend Claire for graduate studies in Dentistry. In Dental School I believe she would bring the same sophisticated focus and growth in understanding her studies that she did to dance. Claire is conscientious and through that I am aware she has donated several hours of her undergraduate career volunteer work such as the Girl Scouts as a Troop Leader. Her commitment to whole person wellness is evident in her extra-curricular work, and in her avid pursuit of the arts and culture. As a dentist she will embrace the patient in the the context of their own life, not just as an open mouth that needs repair.
For the final project in our course students formed small groups and designed an educational curriculum to present in a local elementary school for students age kindergarten through sixth grade. Claire was at first skeptical that this could be accomplished. Yet during the process she became one of the most committed and passionate teachers. She was so excited by the children’s depth of discovery! What this tells me about Claire is that she is a planner and a researcher. She is always well prepared and deliberate, and ready for any outcome. Then, when the actual interaction takes place she is able to truly be in the experience with her students, peers, patients and discover the unique gift that arises when ‘dance’ actually takes place.
I encourage her candidacy for a pivotal role in the dental health profession! Please contact me with further questions.
Lecturer in Kinesiology