Natalie Gutierrez | Staff Writer
FIU’s Pre-Dental Society creates an environment where pre-dental students can experience academic and professional enrichment.
President Allaa Chami is a senior and biological sciences major.
“With this role, you have access to helping younger students and you serve as a role model. I also like the feeling of working in a team,” said Chami.
Chami actively seeks out career development opportunities such as workshops. She believes these events allow members to not only increase their knowledge about dentistry but also interact with field experts.
“I think workshops are very important. When I came to FIU, I joined the pre-dental club, which was a great guide toward dental school. It is important to build your knowledge,” said Chami.
Maria Cranston, junior and biological sciences major, is the vice president.
As an international student, she was not familiar with the dental school application process in the U.S. She feels that this club has given her a more comprehensive understanding.
“I am an international student and graduated from high school in Colombia. I was drawn to the organization because it helps you become a more competitive applicant. You need people who have similar goals and who will support you along the way,” said Cranston.
Last month, the club collaborated with the American Student Dental Association for an Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) visit. A representative from OHSU discussed the school’s dental program, as well as its requirements.
“We collaborated with ASDA and we were able to get a representative from Oregon Health & Science University to come speak with us. These events are important because she touched upon what is required for dental schools, like DAT scores and GPAs, and extracurriculars,” said Chami.
“These events expose you a lot to the field. When you’re in a relaxed environment, you get to talk to people and understand the process better,” said Cranston.
While the club encourages members to be goal-oriented, it leaves room for fun activities that allow students to recharge their mental batteries.
For example, the Pre-Dental Society hosted a Christmas Card Decorating Collaboration Event along with Healing Hands. Members decorated holiday-themed cards and delivered them to a nursing home.
“We try to integrate as much community service as possible. It is an important aspect of your dental school application. We want to make it fun, and we wanted to treat members with Krispy Kreme donuts and feel the Christmas cheer,” said Chami.
“We also have a lot of social events like movie nights. This semester, we had a ‘Meet and Greet’ for members to introduce themselves and bond.”
Alumna Christefan Corteguera joined in 2019. Having always had a passion for dentistry, she was drawn to the club and its focus on career preparation.
“This was the best thing I could have done. I’m a first-generation college student and being in this organization taught me what I need to be a really good applicant,” said Corteguera.
“They not only have community service opportunities but also job shadowing. They teach you how to write a personal statement and help us get insight from other schools.”
Moreover, Corteguera encourages students to join because it is an excellent way to expand their professional network and become more well-rounded.
“I know some students join organizations for the purpose of getting community hours or see it as a checklist item,” said Corteguera.
“I would say to absorb information because this is an opportunity to connect with others. Sometimes, you may feel alone in the process so this opens your eyes and sets different perspectives.”