As future dentists, we are often asked, “What do you want to be?” or “What do you want to do when you’re finished with school?” What I have realized is that many of us have goals that span many disciplines and interests, and it’s hard for us to choose just one (or even a couple) upon which to build a career.
“What magnification did you order?” This is the first question I asked my colleagues when the Loupes Fair came to LECOM School of Dental Medicine. Dental loupes became an obsession for me and my research partner, Melissa Matick, in January. The buzz within the first-year class was about which brand was best and which magnification each student had chosen. Melissa and I did want to know these answers, but we also wanted to dig deeper.
Participating in research is popular among various pre-health professional fields. Doing research as an undergrad is not a “must-do,” but some dental schools see it as a plus. Although it sounds endearing and can add to the professional growth of many undergraduate students, research can be scary at the same time. This fear could be attributed to some of the stereotypes (or myths) we hold about research. Here, I want to dispel those myths and discuss how to enjoy being a part of research, while learning a lot from the experience.
There are a number of organizations available to dental students that help us enhance our education. By advancing our knowledge base, we develop as a dental community. One organization dedicated to expanding knowledge in the dental field is the American Association of Dental Research National Student Research Group (AADR NSRG). The AADR NSRG is student-run and supports students who wish to broaden their education through dental research.