PDSA's Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom From PDSA’s Future DMDs

Welcome to PDSA’s Wisdom Teeth blog! UCF’s Pre-Dental Student Association is collaborating with it’s alumni to bring our pre-dental members some “wisdom” from past members already in dental school! Here you can get each white coat’s wise words for pre-dental students looking to achieve their dental school dreams! Two times a month, on a Wednesday, PDSA will feature a new dental student as a part of their “Wisdom Tooth Wednesday” series. Stay tuned to see our latest posts!

*If you are interested in submitting a blog post, please email our Media Relations officer at mediarelations.pdsa@gmail.com!


I am a third year dental student at UF College of Dentistry, Class of 2019. To those of you that are interested but still not 100% certain that this is the career for you, my advice is to shadow more and get more involved! Also, ask a lot of questions! The way I see it is, if along the way, something sparks your interest then it’s worth exploring! For those that are studying for the DAT or taking the DAT and also for those that are applying to dental school, my advice is to keep up the good work. From my own experience in dental school, I faced challenges that I’d never experienced in college. And the fact is, dental school is tough; that is not changing any time soon. However, what you can change is how perceive this fact. Would you take it as a challenge or would you let it define you? Last but not least, for those who have been accepted, congratulations, you have made it this far, you will make it through, one way or another :).

Long Nguyen | PDSA c/o 2015

University of Florida College of Dentistry c/o 2019

I joined PDSA when I was a sophomore back in 2012, after shadowing at a local dentist’s office. It felt like an epiphany, I had finally found my calling and purpose in life. I was astounded with the various activities and education PDSA provided. I became fully devoted and involved in this organization, in fact, they became a second family to me. PDSA will provide you with a lot opportunities to to fulfill your goals of getting into dental school. Not only all the volunteering and valuable information that this club provides you with, but also the amazing people that make PDSA. My best advice is to stay involved, take advantage of the opportunities that are provided to you and do not be afraid tp ask for advice because we are all here to help each other.

Pinky Vanmali | PDSA c/o 2017

Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine c/o 2021

If you want to do amazing things with your life, you better start hanging out with some pretty amazing people. UCF Pre-Dental Student Association is where I realized that education is not just going to class; it’s about the people who show you the way. While my roommates were out partying in the clubs, my pre-dental group was creating our own party. We relished our time volunteering together and studying for our ridiculously hard exams. Our comradery was simple: we knew that we could party now and study later, or study now and party for the rest of our lives. Now that I’m a dentist, I can tell you that I’m living my greatest party. I’ve got a fabulous life doing the dentistry that I love, surrounded by the people that make me the happiest. I still make an effort to hang out with the people who are doing things better and differently. My education is just beginning, and I am so thankful for the people in my life who continue to show me what I’m capable of personally and professionally. Sometimes it feels like life continues to get more cut-throat and it’s easy to start thinking like you’re going at it alone. But the truth is, we’re so much better together. Hang in there, guys. Your party is just getting started.

Dr. Dawn Wehking DDS MAGD | PDSA c/o 2006

University of Maryland Baltimore College of Dental Surgery c/o 2010

I graduated from UCF May 20, 2014 and I’m currently a fourth year dental student at the University of Florida. My best advice would be to do what you love throughout your time at UCF. Numbers are something we can all strive for but you want to interview in dental school with passion. Set your goals and organize your academics, but don’t forget about your life outside applying to dental school. When applying to schools, also keep your options open! You may think you only want tog o to a certain school but you won’t know where you’re really meant to go until your interview. Your biggest regret will be not doing something or not trying, so just apply. Once you get in, take advantage of that break because dental school is a lot of work and you’ll need all your energy. Good luck!

Natalia Besada | PDSA c/o 2014

University of Florida College of Dentistry c/o 2018

Entering dental school and dental school itself can be likened to trying to take a sip of water from a fire hydrant. There is such a vast amount of information, time, and energy that goes into the almost decade-long process of undergraduate and dental school itself. I think the advice I feel was the most beneficial to me, and what I would recommend to anyone halfway through the journey, is to trust the process. It is tempting to give up, lose patience, and think of worst possible outcomes, but everyone will end up where they’re meant to be. If you work hard, trust in yourself, and keep the faith, you will end up exactly where you’ve always dreamt of. I congratulate everyone in PDSA for choosing such a rewarding and fulfilling profession. “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” Ecclesiastes 3:11

Andrew Dermarkarian | PDSA c/o 2017

Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry c/o 2021

UCF really stands for opportunity. I want to encourage each and every one of you that is considering dentistry to be very proud of our university. The PDSA club is a force that cannot be stopped and admissions committees know this!!! Dental schools look for confident, involved, compassionate individuals that have critical thinking skills. Aside from the PDSA club, make sure that your extracurricular activities are enrich you as a person. When you interview, talk about your activities with passion! While at UCF, challenge yourself. Dental school is nothing like undergrad, so getting used to academic challenges will provide you an unparalleled skill-set that will mold you into a future healthcare provider. I am currently a 3rd year dental student at the University of Florida and I just received my white coat. I wouldn’t be here without PDSA!! Good luck to everybody who is applying this cycle :)

Joanna Borissova | PDSA c/o 2015

UF College of Dentistry c/o 2019

Being a part of PDSA was one of the best choices I made in my undergraduate career. The workshops, guest speakers, volunteer activities and assisting opportunities really helped me stand out as an applicant. But what I would have to say was the most meaningful position, was when I was director under the president of PDSA. Holding a director position allowed me to broaden my level of responsibility within the club. Through this position I was able to run workshops and build relationships that I know will continue past dental school. When applying for the Navy HCSP it was extremely easy to turn to one of my many mentors through the club to receive letters of recommendations. And as far as the friendships I made, I still talk to quite a few members form the club and it’s fun to catch up and compare and contrast our current dental schools. Put yourself out there and apply for that director position!

Best of luck guys, it’s a lot of work but 100% worth it.

Mason Fortuno | PDSA c/o 2015

Tufts University School of Dental Medicine c/o 2020

My journey with PDSA began back in 2012. As a freshman, I knew that I had the desire someday to make a lasting impact on PDSA. This is what drove me to want to lead. After being a director, followed by Secretary of PDSA; in 2015-2016 I was honored to have been announced President of this organization. Being a leader for PDSA turned out to be the highlight of my time at UCF.

This position came with endless responsibilities and challenges but they all shaped who I am today. The responsibilities along with being accountable for so many members enhanced my leadership qualities and translated into my transition in dental school. I want to give back by stressing the importance of leadership and stepping out of your comfort zone. I encourage all of you to obtain roles in the organization and give it your all because the most meaningful aspect of this experience is the opportunity to motivate, inspire, and educate students with the same passion as yourself. And now as a dental student and miles away I believe the ultimate test I had, as President was not what I did during my term but instead what will continue to grow long after I am gone. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to give some insight on the importance of getting involved in leadership!

Kiara Garcia | PDSA c/o 2017

University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry c/o 2021