August 25, 2023 | Glendale, AZ
For undergraduate students aiming to pursue a career in healthcare, obtaining valuable, hands-on experience is just one of the many ways they can prepare themselves for professional school. The College of Dental Medicine – Arizona (CDMA) and the American Student Dental Association (ASDA) understand just how important this is. Since 2010, CDMA and the Midwestern University ASDA chapter have been working together to provide a unique experience that gives pre-dental students a strong foundation from which to spring forward into graduate school. This year, the ASDA Pre-Dental Summer Simulation Course took place on Midwestern University’s Glendale Campus on Friday, August 11th and Saturday, August 12th. The entire event was organized and run by MWU students Emily Tarr (CDMA ’25), Tasha Boyce (CDMA ’25), Breanna Aikens (CDMA ’26), Rand Jaafar (CDMA ’26), Madison Rinne (CDMA ’26), Sonia Abarzak (CGS MABS ’24), and Taylor Burchfield (CDMA ’25), and was supervised by David Hancock, D.D.S., FACD, Assistant Professor, CDMA, and Robert Kramer, D.M.D., Director of Digital Technology, Dental Institute.
In total, 38 undergraduate students from around the country attended this year’s intensive weekend. The event started with Sheri Brownstein, D.M.D., M.Ed. Dean, CDMA, welcoming the participants to MWU. Dr. Brownstein spoke about the field of dental medicine and provided an overview of the weekend’s planned activities. Over the next two days, participants spent the majority of their time in the dental simulation clinic. With the guidance of CDMA faculty and students, the undergraduates took digital impressions, used CAD/CAM to design a crown, learned how to wax a tooth, partook in a laser lab consisting of four different lasers, practiced using electric handpieces for cavity preparations, prepared crowns, and worked on placement of composite restorations. The CDMA students also taught a class on comprehensive dental anatomy.
While the intensive hands-on experience in the dental simulation clinic is incredibly important for a pre-dental student’s future application, there are many other components to consider when applying to dental school. Dr. Brownstein and James Pashayan, D.D.S., M.A.Ed., Associate Dean, CDMA, hosted a seminar on how participants could best prepare their future applications. They reviewed the application process, what to expect, and how to find resources, and shared tips on how students can optimize their applications and stand out. Additionally, the pre-dental students participated in mock interviews to practice their presentation skills, learn how to answer a variety of questions, and learn what types of questions they should ask the interviewer.
“While the time we had in the dental simulation lab was incredibly exciting, I found the interview practice to be the most valuable part of this experience,” said one pre-dental participant.
Lastly, participants attended two panels, one led by CDMA faculty and the other led by CDMA students. The CDMA faculty spoke about their own personal experiences – who they are, and how they got to be where they are today. They spoke about their time in dental school, how they made the most of it, how they prepared for it, and which specific specialties they chose. In both panels, participants had the opportunity to ask questions and network with the speakers. Afterward, the pre-dental students listened to anecdotal experiences about what it is like to be a dental student at Midwestern University - what their day is like, how the curriculum is organized throughout the four years, and tips on how to improve studying skills. The CDMA students also highlighted the many dental-specific clubs at Midwestern University and the opportunities they have as dental students to participate in community outreach and volunteer.
Of the event overall, another pre-dental student said, “Before attending the Midwestern University Pre-Dental Summer Simulation Course, I had an idea how I should approach applying to dental school. However, after the event, I feel so much more comfortable with the process!”
To learn more about the College of Dental Medicine – Arizona, please visit: https://www.midwestern.edu/academics/degrees-and-programs/doctor-of-dental-medicine-az