5 Questions With ... Ms. Rachel Utomo

Shahzad Mumtaz
Rachel Utomo
Third-year Dental Student
Columbia University School of Dental Medicine



1. What’s the one piece of advice you would give to anyone in dental school?

Be proactive with your learning and personal development! While the classroom is a fantastic place to learn the fundamentals, there are tremendous opportunities for learning outside of it. For example, some schools offer continuing education (CE) courses for free to predoctoral students currently attending their institution. And while those CE course credits may not be applicable to you, the course itself is a great way to build on concepts you’ve learned in school and to connect with practicing dentists or academics.


2. If you could change one thing about dental education (or dentistry) with a snap of your fingers, what would that be?

Both the cost of dental education and dentistry continues to increase to exorbitant amounts, naturally making it the first thing I would change. Enough said!


3. What makes you excited to go to school each day?

This may sound cliché but I’m most excited about learning different aspects of dentistry and oral health each day! I love that there’s always something new to learn and that this knowledge builds upon things you’ve previously learned. It’s really neat seeing all the information tie together and I find it extremely gratifying when I get to apply this knowledge in the clinic (and even sometimes outside of it!)


4. What’s your favorite TV show—and why?

Friends has got to be my go-to TV show! It brings me a sense of comfort and nostalgia because I grew up watching reruns of it with my family. And now that I’m living in New York City with friends, it adds another layer of relatability to this already beloved show!


5. What skill or talent would you most like to develop?

I’ve always been interested in drawing and illustration, so I would love to be able to further develop my artistic skills. I’d also love to take this hobby to a new level and design a line of products, like fun stationery, in the future!



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