ASDA’s membership is made up of more than 22,000 dental and predental students from dental schools and undergraduate institutions across the United States. Each month, ASDA profiles one member in the e-newsletter Word of Mouth. Likewise, one legislative liaison is profiled in the monthly e-newsletter Advocacy Brief. Below you’ll find student profiles from the past two months.
If you would like to be featured in Word of Mouth, contact Publications Manager Kim Kelly at Kim@ASDAnet.org. Legislative liaison spotlights are chosen by ASDA’s Council on Advocacy. If you’re a legislative liaison and would like to be featured, reach out to your legislative coordinator to discuss future opportunities.
First Impression - Predoctoral
Name: Alexander Hodge
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Graduation year: 2017
What or who inspired you to become a dentist? My father has been a dentist for 40 years in the Seattle area, and I’m inspired by his exceptional communication skills that put patients at ease. I’m using his attitude as a model for how to be successful. He has also used his experience and passion for oral health to be a leader in the community, which I think is telling of his character. He was just voted top dentist in the area by his peers!
Before starting dental school, I wish I had known… that everything was going to work out fine. I was too stressed my first year to enjoy the excellent standard of living down here at LECOM.
What is your favorite thing about your current year in dental school? I get to be with patients all day! Bill Nye taught me you can learn from every person you meet- and that’s how I try to frame my daily interactions with all sorts of interesting people I might not meet if it weren’t for their exceptional oral care needs. I believe the exact quote is “Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t,” which is how I try to pick up something new from each patient.
What is your least favorite thing about your current year in dental school? Waiting for check-offs in clinic—it means I have to make lots of small talk.
What has been your toughest lesson learned in dental school so far? It’s often more important to get along than it is to be right. This is also good marriage advice.
What is your favorite place you’ve traveled and why? I am a passionate traveler, and thought I would have to give it up for school, but it can be done even with limited time and financial restraints! My wife and I squeezed Egypt, Germany, Switzerland and Austria into one week between semesters. I also went to Peru over Thanksgiving to help less-fortunate kids. My lifetime favorite is Ethiopia—I went there for 9 weeks in undergrad to help teach kids in an area heavily affected by HIV.
What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done? Starting my life over at 30 to follow my dream to be a dentist. My wife has been very supportive and I couldn’t have done it without her.
First Impression - Predental
Name: Angelica Celestin
Predental Club (if any)): Rutgers Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Pre-dental Society
Graduation year: 2016
Position held at club (if applicable): Member, Pre-dental writer for ASDA August issue 2015
Hometown: New Orleans, Louisiana
Why do you want to be a dentist? The joy of changing a person’s life by giving him or her a beautiful smile, which was once given to me as a child is one of the reasons. It would be a privilege for me to help relieve pain and suffering through the work of my hands and biomedical knowledge. Another big reason I’m drawn to dentistry is that you can set your own hours while raising a family.
What are you most nervous about for dental school? Performing simple extractions. It seems it would take a lot of strength; but in shadowing a dentist, he mentioned it's a technique and I'm anxious to learn!
Why do you think you’ll make a good dentist? Dentistry is a caring profession, and I tend to be caring by nature.
What’s the last thing you watched on Netflix (Hulu, Amazon Prime)? Keeping Up with the Kardashians
Share one thing on your bucket list: I would love to open a nail salon and incorporate it into my dental practice for spa dentistry!
Legislative Liaison Spotlight
Meet Pennsylvania’s legislative liaison, Jamie Lowstetter.
Jamie Lowstetter, Pennsylvania ‘18, has been actively involved in advocacy at Penn, with District III, and has served as one of the ADPAC Externs in Washington D.C. At Penn, Jamie has tried to increase Engage numbers and ADPAC numbers by re-sending social media updates and emails to highlight and recap interesting topics. She also created an incentives program for participation. Penn recently hosted its first-ever Advocacy Week, and Jamie was critical to its success. Advocacy week featured two ADPAC presentations with the Pennsylvania ADPAC Chapter and National ADPAC, an ADPAC happy hour, a patriotism-themed "Wake Up With ASDA" and "Pretzels and Politics." The Wake Up With ASDA event gave out morning coffee with red, white and blue elephant and donkey flag cookies. In order to receive free cookies and coffee, students had to fill out the advocacy survey and register for Engage. Pretzels and Politics is an event that was held three times last semester at Penn in addition to Advocacy Week that covered topics from ADPAC, ADPAC externship opportunities, state legislation, how to get involved and active alumni in advocacy. She also organized Dinner with a Dentist for students to get to know a dentist actively involved in advocacy.
On a District level, Jamie serves as the ADPAC/Legislative Liaison for District 3. She has been planning a Bills and Brews event with both Temple and Penn chapters to mix advocacy and social events. The event will also serve as another ADPAC drive for District 3. The goal of the district event is to engage more students in advocacy issues. Jamie also is working on organizing a voter registration drive and absentee ballot drive for this year's presidential election. Lastly, she was instrumental in reaching out and communicating with state dental associations within District 3 territory. She has also been working on scheduling lobby day appointments. Due to her strong passion for advocacy and efforts, Engage numbers and ADPAC members have significantly increased at both her chapter and on the district level.
Name: Sable Muntean
Hometown: Westlake Village, CA
Chapter: LECOM ASDA
Graduation year: 2018
Position held at chapter: Membership Chair
Plans after graduation: Residency program and work with my father who is a dentist.
Favorite ASDA benefit: The networking and friendships made at conferences with like-minded leaders.
Last good book you read: Grey's Anatomy – ha ha, just kidding! It’s actually Leadership and Self-Deception—one I would highly recommend.
Mac or PC? Mac all day, every day!
Most embarrassing song on your iPod: The Hamster Dance Song – you know you can't help but do the do-si-do when it comes on!
Personal possession that you can’t live without: Not to sound cliché, but my phone. Especially living clear across the country from family and close friends, having my phone helps me feel not as far from home. Plus I'm probably the fastest person you've ever met to reply to an email or text because it’s always close by.
Unique hobby or interest: Driving. I love cars. Every year, I attend the Los Angeles Auto Show with my Dad; and I certainly miss driving the crazy canyons to the beach in California!
Legislative Liaison Spotlight
Meet Mississippi's legislative liaison, Stephanie Rizzutto.
Stephanie Rizzutto holds the position of inaugural legislative liaison for her ASDA chapter. Her accomplishments are vast and include establishing a closer relationship with the Mississippi Dental Association, organizing a variety of educational and beneficial events for her fellow students, and most importantly, building the chapter legislative branch from scratch.
In the position, she organized an ADPAC drive followed by a series of three lunch and learns over a three-week period leading up to Mississippi State Lobby Day. Different speakers (a lobbyist, president of MDPAC and a regional ADPAC board member) came to discuss different topics ranging from the nuts and bolts of lobbying and advocacy to the current issues being introduced that year. Stephanie is continuing the series, which will consist of a trivia night complete with an ADPAC drive at a local restaurant favorite. There will be a brief presentation followed by a trivia session for students! To continue the growth of the event, she is planning events to take place in January and February leading up to their lobby day in March.
Stephanie has also started an AGD chapter at her school complete with a legislative committee comprising students from each class. This group will work closely with her as ASDA’s legislative liaison to put greater emphasis on the legislative topics of dentistry at their school.
Stephanie’s ultimate goal for the position is to make students more aware of what is going on in the dental world beyond school and beyond a private practice setting. She has a strong desire for students to understand the importance of being a part of ADPAC, MCPAC and MDA to be aware of the rapidly changing aspects of dentistry that can affect us both positively and negatively. Stephanie wants students to understand that they have a voice and it is now their profession to protect!