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Member Spotlights

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 Kim Kelly, senior manager, publications, 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

 2016 Kelly NelsonName: Kelly Nelson

Hometown: Bellevue, WA

Chapter: WesternU

Position held at chapter: Newsletter editor-in-chief

Email: knelson@westernu.edu 

Graduation year: 2018

What or who inspired you to become a dentist? I always wanted to be in health care, but only wanted to work on the head and neck. After a medical mission where I shadowed the local Panamanian dentist, I stumbled into my future career and have never looked back.

Before starting dental school, I wish I had known… not to wear pants that you like during endo procedures.

What is your favorite thing about your current year in dental school? I love how I am able to be in clinic and at off-site locations assisting upperclassmen, scaling off calculus and getting to know my future patients.

What is your least favorite thing about your current year in dental school? Quite obviously, my least favorite part of D2 is studying for NBDE Part I, one of the many rites of passage that all dental students must overcome.

What has been your toughest lesson learned in dental school so far? Learning how to balance the many aspects of my life while devoting myself to my studies has proven challenging, but will only make me a stronger person.

What is your favorite place you’ve traveled and why? I had the luxury of living in Cádiz, Spain for nearly half a year. The unique culture, rich history and beautiful beaches are why I consider it my second home.

What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done? The bravest thing I have ever done was overcoming my own insecurities and applying to dental school. Never doubt your abilities and always push yourself beyond your comfort zone.

 


First Impression - Predental

 2016 Reham ChohanName: Reham Chohan

Email: rehamchohan@gmail.com 

Graduation year: International dentist from Pakistan, graduated in 2013

Hometown: Hail, Saudi Arabia; currently living in New Jersey

Why do you want to be a dentist? I feel called to serve the needy and help them relieve their pain through my dental skills.

What are you most nervous about for dental school? Working in labs for long hours.

Why do you think you’ll make a good dentist? I am a caring and a compassionate dentist. I am good at comforting patients.

What’s the last thing you watched on Netflix (Hulu, Amazon Prime)? Anastasia

Share one thing on your bucket list: I can’t choose just one: visit the Bahamas, go skiing with friends, get accepted to a U.S dental school, open my dental practice and provide dental care in underserved areas.

 


Leader Spotlight

 2016 Tyler FixName: Tyler Fix

Hometown: Glendale, AZ

Chapter: Midwestern-Arizona

Position held at chapter: Second Delegate

Graduation year: 2017

Why I want to be a dentist: Dentistry is a phenomenal profession because of its versatility. It has roots in esthetics, medicine, pharmacology, radiology and surgery. How many other fields of work give such a variety of experiences to the provider, while also giving such personal and positive energy back to the patient? The answer is none.

The most vital quality in a leader: A strong leader is humble in recognizing that leadership has, ultimately, nothing to do with him or herself and everything to do with others. Never lose sight of the fact that it is a privilege to be a representative of your peers, as you should always be contributing toward their successes, goals and experiences. This type of mindset is one that I admire in a leader.

 


Member Spotlight Archives


First Impression - Predoctoral

Brooke Shelton, Louisville '18

 2016 Brooke SheltonName: Brooke Shelton

Hometown: Bowling Green, KY

Chapter: Louisville

Position held at chapter: president-elect

Email: beshel01@louisville.edu 

Graduation year: 2018

What or who inspired you to become a dentist? Dr. Tom Carroll of Bowling Green enjoyed his job as a dentist so much that he inspired me to become a dentist. I knew that I wanted to be a dentist because of the passion he demonstrates for his job and for patient care.

Before starting dental school, I wish I had known… that I could have majored in anything I wanted during undergrad. I absolutely love math! It sounds nerdy, I know, but I am not one who enjoys memorizing tons of information. I would rather utilize an equation and try to figure out how to apply it, which reminds me a lot of dentistry. You are given a problem and must use your knowledge to formulate a solution for your patient.

What is your favorite thing about your current year in dental school? Even though it can be overwhelming, I thoroughly enjoy the increased load of lab work that we do during our second year. Our profession requires us to be hands-on; and lab time is the best way to learn from our mistakes, to make improvements and become better practitioners for our future patients.

What is your least favorite thing about your current year in dental school? One word. Pathology. It seems like I am spending more time studying for this course than any other course I have ever taken while in school. I would rather spend more time studying and learning in a class that I will be applying everyday.

What has been your toughest lesson learned in dental school so far? Time management. This past year, I was the Student Engagement Chair for LASDA, which required 100+ hours of my time on top of my school work load. Planning the Vendor Fair and Lunch & Learns for the school was tough, but I developed many great relationships with vendors and faculty during this time. Besides that, trying to figure out how to balance studying for all the different courses can be a challenge, but definitely an educational experience.

What is your favorite place you’ve traveled and why? I love LOVE Gatlinburg, TN. I have been there multiple times with my family, but during my first year in dental school a large number of my classmates traveled there together to stay in cabins and enjoy each other’s company. It was amazing being able to spend time outside of school with my classmates in a city that is surrounded by mountains and trees with fun activities to do right on the strip.

What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done? My boyfriend, Edwin, and I love to go wheeling in his Jeep. We were visiting Blue Holler in Edmonson County, Kentucky, and came across a steep hill with a 3-foot ditch on one side. I was terrified, but he kept insisting that we go up this hill and that we would “just need to straddle each side of the ditch on the way up.” About halfway up, the jeep slid into the ditch, and we were inches from flipping over. So, what next? Edwin jumped out of the jeep and told me to get in the driver’s seat so he could pull out his winch and attach it to a nearby tree. I have driven a stick shift only once in my life. The winch cable snapped off the tree, I started rolling backwards and was right back in the ditch. After an hour of maneuvering, we were finally able to back down the hill.

Desseree Lysne, Midwestern-Arizona '17

 2016 Desseree LysneName: Desseree Lysne

Hometown: Phoenix, AZ

Chapter: Midwestern-Arizona

Email: DLYSNE82@midwestern.edu 

Graduation year: 2017

What or who inspired you to become a dentist? Dr. Volcheck, the director of Central Arizona Shelter Services Dental Clinic, inspired me to become a dentist. Dr. Volcheck is the most positive and inspiring person I have had the opportunity to work with. His compassion for patients in unlike any other doctor I have met. After volunteering for one day at CASS, I knew dentistry was the profession I wanted to belong to!

What is your favorite thing about your current year in dental school? I absolutely love working with my patients. I am pretty sure I won the patient lottery because all of my patients are kind and very grateful for the work I provide for them.

What is your least favorite thing about your current year in dental school? I am SO busy. I love doing dentistry, but the lab work really starts to pile up. Staying late to finish up lab work takes valuable time away from being home with my family.

What has been your toughest lesson learned in dental school so far? Knock on wood, but I haven’t learned any very tough lessons yet. I work with doctors who are very patient and understanding. I treatment plan my patients from start to finish with the doctor who directs my suite, and thinking through the whole process before I start treatment really helps me avoid making big mistakes.

What is your favorite place you’ve traveled and why? Alaska! I have been lucky enough to visit AK several times during both the winter and the summer. Alaska in the summer is the most beautiful place I have ever been. My favorite memory of Alaska is hiking out into the wilderness and getting lost … not on purpose! Alaska is one of the few places in the U.S. where you can actually lose GPS and cell service; this can be terrifying but also extremely freeing.

What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done? The bravest thing I have ever done is having a baby in dental school! I have a 5-month-old baby girl named Savannah. I thought being a dental student was hard, but being a first-time mommy (for me) is 1000x more difficult and rewarding! Although it is extremely tough, I am glad I had her during school because my school classmates and faculty are like family and made the entire experience much easier. Luckily, I have an amazing dental school partner who was extremely understanding of the whole process, even when I was nine months pregnant and very slowly working on patients!

Alexander Hodge, LECOM '17

 2016 Alexander HodgeName: Alexander Hodge

Hometown: Seattle, WA

Chapter: LECOM

Email: alexander.hodge@dmd.lecom.edu 

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

Megan Grace, predental

 2016 Megan GraceName: Megan Grace

Predental Club (if any): University of Florida ASDA

Email: megantg@ufl.edu 

Graduation year: 2017

Hometown: Palm Bay, FL

Why do you want to be a dentist? I want to serve underserved areas and make dental care more accessible. I want to help educate the community on the importance of oral care and how it ultimately affects your overall health.

What are you most nervous about for dental school? I am most nervous about getting in.

Why do you think you’ll make a good dentist? I am passionate about providing care to those in need, detail-oriented, a leader in my community, caring, a good communicator and fascinated by the mouth and how it affects your overall health.

What’s the last thing you watched on Netflix (Hulu, Amazon Prime)? Parks and Rec

Share one thing on your bucket list: Scuba-dive the Great Barrier Reef.

Ian Rosengarten, predental

 2016 Ian RosengartenName: Ian Rosengarten

Predental Club (if any): Predental Association at Binghamton University

Email: iroseng1@binghamton.edu 

Graduation year: 2016

Hometown: Robbinsville, NJ

Why do you want to be a dentist? What stands out about dentistry to me is the diversity of patients a dentist sees on a daily basis. For example, in one hour you may be filling a child’s cavity and then in the next be preparing a crown for someone who’s older. Each age group offers a different set of challenges that need to be addressed and make the day more interesting.

What are you most nervous about for dental school? In addition to the student loans, my biggest fear about entering dental school is managing my time. Every dental student I have spoken to has mentioned the intensity of the classes relative to undergrad. At the same time, though, I am very excited for the challenges I will be faced with during the next four years.

Why do you think you’ll make a good dentist? When meeting new people, I am always interested in learning about their life and, specifically, the cultures they identify with. While working as an EMT in Israel, I learned as much Hebrew as I could so that I could identify more with patients. Next semester, I am taking medical Spanish so that I can embark on dental outreach trips to Spanish-speaking countries. Identifying with patients is a good start to any treatment plan and it is something I intend to continue as a dentist.

What’s the last thing you watched on Netflix (Hulu, Amazon Prime)? Friends (It never gets old).

Share one thing on your bucket list: To sky-dive off the coast of Hawaii.

Angelica Celestin, predental

 2016 Angelica CelestinName: Angelica Celestin

Predental Club (if any): Rutgers Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Pre-dental Society

Email: aic36@gsbs.rutgers.edu 

Graduation year: 2016

Position held at club (if applicable): Member, Pre-dental writer for ASDA August issue 2015

Hometown: New Orleans, LA

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

Jamie Lowstetter, Pennsylvania '18

 2016 Jamie LowstetterJamie 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.

Leader Spotlight

Alex Mitchell, Temple '18

 2016 Alex MitchellName: Alex Mitchell

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

Chapter: Temple

Position held at ASDA: District 3 Trustee

Graduation year: 2018

Why I want to be a dentist: I had a really terrible fear of needles growing up and I decided that my mission would be to make kids and adults alike as comfortable as posisble while in the dental chair. It doesn't hurt that I am passionate about leadership, teamwork, business, art and advocacy because dentistry has all of them!

The most vital quality in a leader: The epitome of leadership is best captured by my all-time favorite quote from the late Stephen Covey who said, "Leadership is communicating others' worth and potential so clearly that they are inspired to see it in themselves." I believe that the strongest leaders stay away from simple delegation and micro-management. The best leaders understand the interdependence between themselves and their team and focus on a vision based upon measurable results.

Riley Schaff, Michigan '17

 2016 Riley SchaffName: Riley A. Schaff

Hometown: Jackson, MI

Chapter: Michigan

Position held at chapter: Second Delegate

Graduation year: 2017

What do you think is the most vital quality in a strong leader? One of the most vital qualities of a strong leader is the ability to be flexible and go with the flow. As many leaders (including myself) fall into the "type-A" personality, it can be easy to get caught up in the details and subsequently become frustrated when things don't go according to plan. It's important to be able to adapt to new, unexpected situations and still be able to leader and communicate effectively.

Ronna Leigh Rowland, Alabama '17

 2016 Ronna Leigh RowlandName: Ronna Leigh Rowland

Hometown: Alma, GA

Chapter: Alabama

Position held at chapter: President-elect

Graduation year: 2017

What do you think is the most vital quality in a strong leader? A strong leader should possess the ability to uplift and motivate the people they are leading. People don't respond well to being given a task list and being sent on their way. Instead, leaders are more efficient when they encourage their members and build their confidence. A leader that knows how to implement positive reinforcement will go far.



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