1) What is your role in Pre-Dental Society? What are your duties?
As Volunteer Coordinator, it is my job to reach out to local organizations and seek volunteer events that our club can participate in. It is important to us that we do our best to be actively involved in serving our community. Some organizations we are involved with include CDA Cares, the Homeless Garden Project, our local homeless shelter, Run or Dye, Rebuilding Together, our local Boys and Girls club, and more!
2) Tell us about yourself
I am most passionate about my involvement with VIDA, a non-profit summer abroad program in which volunteers help provide Central American citizens with free healthcare via mobile dental clinics. It is this organization that sparked my interest in global health, and I hope to explore this field further in dental school. During the school year, you can most often find me in lab. I am an undergraduate researcher in a developmental neurobiology lab, and we study the genetic mechanisms of cortical development. I am also a notetaker for the Disability Resource Center at UC Santa Cruz. I provide detailed lecture notes for students who require disability accommodations at my school. Additionally, I am a musician in the UC Santa Cruz Advanced West Javanese Gamelan Orchestra, in which I perform Indonesian music with an orchestral ensemble. When I'm not doing any of that or studying, I love to hike, climb trees, play piano, and do arts and crafts.
3) Why Dentistry?
Growing up, I had a lot of dental work done because I was losing teeth too slowly to implement braces, but desperately needed them to fix my cross bite. As a result, several of my teeth were extracted and one of my impacted canines required a surgical exposure via a chain and bracket in order to pull the tooth down. It was a long and painful journey but I came out of it with perfect teeth and newfound confidence. But it was not all about aesthetics - with a cross bite, my molars would have slowly worn down as I ate and I would have significantly degraded my enamel. My dental work was timely and expensive but vital to my oral health and safety. Realizing the importance of maintaining and protecting teeth sparked my interest in dentistry, and I became determined to spread awareness of oral health. Namely I am interested in global health, and educating impoverished communities of proper oral hygiene. So far, I have done just this in Guatemala and have plans of continuing preventative action in Nicaragua this summer, and hopefully in more countries in years to come.
4) Your favorite motto or advice to other Pre-Dents?
My advice to my fellow pre-dents is to not be afraid to put yourself out there. For example, I had a horrible experience in biochemistry lab and told myself that research wasn't for me. But when an opportunity to join a lab presented itself, I took a chance and tried it out and fell absolutely in love. So take chances and step outside of your box - you will get so much more out of your pre-dental endeavors and out of life in general if you do!"