Words From Your Peers

Short Layover to Lifelong Impact: How an Observation Sparked Change in Oral Health

Posted by Sharif Zoubeidi on April 28, 2024

An opportunity to serve as an intern on a medical mission in the heart of Guatemala during his freshman year of college provided a moment of clarity for Sharif Zoubeidi, a predental student at the University of Illinois Chicago. “I also wanted to find a way to make a more personal impact and incorporate my passion for oral health into the work we were doing,” Zoubeidi said. By securing toothbrush and toothpaste kit donations for 200 children, and by creating his own oral hygiene educational pamphlet, Zoubeidi was able, during his trip, to touch many lives with his message of maintaining proper oral health. 

Read on as Zoubeidi shares a memorable part of his journey to dental school, including building an app, Smile Sum, to educate children on oral anatomy and healthy oral hygiene habits in a fun way.

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How HOSA Shaped My Passion for a Dental Career

Posted by Kamile Kukleryte on August 28, 2023

Are you familiar with the HOSA organization? HOSA – Future Health Professionals, formerly known as Health Occupations Students of America, is an international career and technical student organization endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education and the Health Science Technology Education Division of Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). 

“HOSA works to develop knowledge, skills and leadership for students looking to enter the health care profession,” says University of Texas at Austin predental student Kamile Kukleryte. “While this student organization is widely recognized at the high school level, several collegiate chapters also exist. I have the pleasure of being a member and leader of the University of Texas at Austin’s chapter. In addition, I was honored to receive ADEA’s HOSA scholarship at the 2023 HOSA International Leadership Conference (ILC).”

Keep reading as Ms. Kukleryte provides an overview of the benefits and value of participating with this important pre-health organization. 

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From Lost Tooth to Dental Dreams: A Journey of Transformation

Posted by Rafa Hossain on July 27, 2023

“Coming back home with a bag of ice and ice cream, 7-year-old me never would have imagined the years of treatment and surgeries I would endure from losing one baby tooth,” says predental student Rafa Hossain. “A year later, I found myself at the orthodontist’s office, baffled by tooth #8’s stubborn refusal to come out. Despite undergoing braces and numerous procedures to correct my tooth’s position, sadly, this problem remained unsolved.”

Read more as Ms. Hossain shares what happened next, her personal experiences and the inspirational moment that led her to choose a career path in dentistry. 

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Program Highlights From a SHPEP Graduate

Posted by Emyli Peralta on May 24, 2023

“One of the highlights of the Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP) was the opportunity to practice hands-on activities every week,” says Emyli Peralta, a second-year dental student at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine. “We received hands-on training in restorative dentistry, taking radiographs and waxing up teeth. This experience gave us a glimpse into the daily life of a dentist and helped us understand the importance of being able to work well with your hands.”

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Advice for Approaching the DAT

Posted by Joseph Marsallo on February 22, 2023

“In the grand scheme of applying to dental school, tackling the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) can seem like the most daunting task of the entire process. A five-hour exam that seems to define your chances of getting in would make anyone at least a little nervous, but that’s okay,” says Joseph Marsallo, predental student. “The DAT is just one part of your application that can help show a school that you are prepared to become a dentist. Although it’s not the only thing that schools will look at, it is still very important.”

Keep reading to learn what Marsallo did to prepare for the DAT and boost his confidence for applying to dental school.

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Life Is Short: Chase Your Dreams by Changing Careers

Posted by Afsaneh NouriHoushyar, Ph.D. on July 27, 2022

“Growing up in Iran, I had two big dreams: being a university professor and being a dentist,” says Afsaneh NouriHoushyar, Ph.D. “Through these career paths, I saw opportunities to contribute to society and play a crucial, positive role in the development of others.”

Read on as Dr. NouriHoushyar describes her journey and how she made the decision to transition from a career in academia and engineering to becoming a dentist. 

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The Challenges of the “Career Changer”

Posted by Maj. D.J. Ward on January 21, 2021

“Flying as part of a Search and Rescue team in the United States Air Force (USAF) has made up the last two decades of my life. Whether it was flying near the Arctic Circle to deliver medical care to help save people in isolated areas or landing on makeshift dirt runways to pick up patients and transport them to hospitals, these years included some of the most challenging, yet rewarding experiences of my life,” says Maj. D.J. Ward, USAF. “As the end of my military career approached, I started to consider new career options. I loved how rewarding it was to be a part of the search and rescue community in the USAF, so when it came time to evaluate other careers, I looked for something that was challenging and rewarding, where I could be a part of a great team.”

Read on as Maj. Ward describes his career journey so far and how he decided to make the switch to dentistry.

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Predent Perspective: Start Thinking Now About Shadowing in Dentistry

Posted by Omer Siddiqui on August 26, 2020

“Shadowing a dentist is perhaps the single most important and defining step to take when considering a career in dentistry. There is no experience that is more beneficial than personally seeing and, in some cases, even participating in the day-to-day work of a dental practitioner to help inform your decision regarding whether dentistry is the right career path for you,” says Omer Siddiqui, a graduate the University of California, Riverside, and predental student.

“During this unprecedented year, in-person shadowing has obviously become less of an option for us predental students, especially in certain areas of the country. Fortunately, based on my conversations with multiple admissions offices, colleges seem to understand that there will be little to no shadowing being done during the COVID-19 pandemic. At some point though, when dental offices do reopen fully, it will be our responsibility to make up for lost time.”

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How to Study for and “Crush” the DAT

Posted by Kyle Groberg on January 28, 2020
If you’re planning on applying to dental school this cycle or next, chances are the Dental Admission Test (DAT) has been on your mind a lot. You may have questions, such as “How do I best prepare? When is the best time to take the DAT? Do I really need a 25 in order to be a competitive applicant?” Not to worry. With the right plan, resources and effort, you can be prepared to do well on the DAT. You might even surprise yourself when you receive your final score. Also, be aware there is no one-size-fits-all solution regarding DAT preparation. First-year dental student Kyle Groberg has some tips and tricks you can use to make sure you are calm and ready on test day to do your best. 
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Predent Perspective: The Value of a Gap Year to Reset a Career Path

Posted by Elizabeth Wright on October 27, 2019
For some, dentistry has been a childhood dream. Sometimes, it’s the result of a shift in self-confidence after months or years of wearing braces. Others pursue dentistry later in life following years spent in the professional world and, impressively, tackle dental school while balancing families of their own. “Then, there are those in the middle—where I found myself as a junior in college pursuing a career in business, about to study abroad in Copenhagen under the Department of Economics. Yet, I was still drawn to dentistry,” says predental student Elizabeth Wright. Read on as she details her thought process for deciding to take a gap year before enrolling in dental school. 
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