My experience as an Admissions Ambassador

Sitting on the other side of the interview table was a surreal experience. For me, it was simply a busy lunch period squished into the middle of my packed class schedule. For the applicant staring at me expectantly, this may have felt like a pivotal moment. I resolved to do my best to treat the short time we shared with respect so that I could learn as much as possible about my interviewee while exemplifying UCSF values in my own conduct. It was an honor to have my feedback be considered as part of the selection process for the incoming class, along with faculty interviews and the holistic application review process.

Now that my involvement in this interview cycle is complete, I would like to share a few tips that I observed made applicants really shine!

  1. Be proud of your story! Hearing about where you grew up, the most important influences on choosing a career in dentistry, your educational history, your past jobs, and more help us to understand who are and what led you to be here today. Sometimes you may be tempted to skim over parts of your story because they may not seem “special” enough. If a simple shadowing experience in a dental office is what convinced you to become a dentist, tell us the whole story about what energized you and inspired you.
  2. Give us the full answer! If we ask you about an experience, go beyond the what and tell us why it was important and how you grew from it. For instance, if we ask about research involvement, tell us more than what the project was about or your findings. Tell us how being involved with research will make you a better dental student, maybe by improving your time management or collaborative skills, or that you are inspired to continue research projects.
  3. Show resilience! We know interviewing is a stressful experience, but if you show us that you are able to roll with the punches with a positive attitude, it tells us a lot about your character and how you will behave under stress. Don’t let an awkward moment shatter your confidence for the rest of the interview.

Good luck to anyone in the process of applying!

Katie Dileo – Class of 2022

Moving into 2020

It’s a new decade! We look forward to finishing up this academic year strong and we have so many plans for Winter and Spring Quarter!

  • True Life: Roads to Residency
  • Dinners with 8 Strangers
  • High School Outreach Conference (HSOC)
  • District 11 Curriculum Hackathon
  • Impressions Conference in Collaboration with SNDA
  • continuation of ADCFP Faculty Panel – Academia series
  • continuation of Why I Teach series

Last Fall Quarter, ADEA had the opportunity to collaborate with other organizations and invite faculty, staff, and residents to host various panels and networking events.

  • Meet the Residents Mixer – a collaboration with Office of Career and Professional Development and UCSF Alumni
  • An Evening with Marry Otto: a Discussion about America’s Oral Health Crisis
  • True Life Series: Dental Residency – Dr. Jean Calvo, DDS, Pediatrics Chief Resident 
  • Why I Teach: Dr. Stephen Connelly, DDS, MD, PhD, FACS
  • ADCFP Faculty Panel: Different Positions in Academia
  • ADCFP Faculty Panel: Balancing Work and Family as a Clinician and Educator
  • ADCFP Faculty Panel: Why I Pursued Academia

We also expanded our board with new D1 and D2 officers! What a big family!

ADCFP Spotlight: Kyu Jin Lee (’20)

The Academic Careers Fellowship Program (ADCFP) provides dental students at UCSF the opportunity to explore academia through faculty mentorship and research- or education-based projects. Read what some of our students are working on below:

My project with Dr. Xenoudi is to figure out the effect of personalities of students and clinic coaches and their group dynamics in the pre-doctoral coaching group setting. The MBTI was performed by both students and coaches with an additional survey which asks how they are doing in the clinic. Results from MBTI were statistically analyzed and survey questions were reviewed to see if there are relevances and whether both parties are experiencing positive or negative relationship.

Day in the Life at UCSF as a D1

The summer before coming starting dental school, I scoured the web for any information on what my life might look like for the next four years. I watched dental school vlogs, read blogs, scrolled through forums–and found that there really no “typical day” for a dental student. Schedules and routines vary between dental schools, between each year (D1, D2, D3, D4), and from student to student. None of those answers felt satisfactory and I was looking for some way to prepare or ready myself for what lay ahead. Looking back, I don’t think that knowing my future class schedule would adequately prepare me, but I still think it’s fun to get a glimpse into what’s in store! So I’ll be sharing what a day may look like at UCSF as a D1 student. But before I do, here are some things I’ve learned that I would tell my past self on how to prepare for dental school:

  1. Build good study habits. Know how you learn best! If you learn best by sitting in the front row during lecture to stay engaged, do so. If you learn best by watching lecture capture (if your school offers it), do so! Draw diagrams, make charts, read outlines. You know yourself best.
  2. Invest in hobbies outside of school. Dental school is tough and D1 can be especially busy, but don’t forget to take time to invest in activities, interests, and hobbies outside of school. Watch movies, train for a Spartan race, take dance classes, go hiking, pick up a new skill, or learn how to cook. School is important but it isn’t everything!
  3. Take it one day at a time. I sometimes find myself clicking through my calendar looking at deadlines, requirements, and assignments. It can feel overwhelming at times. Be mindful of what’s coming but don’t forget to enjoy what’s in front of you. Every day can be a new challenge but bit by bit, step by step, we all get through it!

Anyways, enough with the unsolicited advice. Here’s a look at a day in the life:


Wake up and get ready for the day! I like to have breakfast and some tea in the morning before heading to class. While it requires me to wake up a little earlier, it helps me wake up fully so I can hit the ground running.


Classes at UCSF start 10 minutes after the hour but when we’re in simlab in the mornings I like to get there a little early to set up and get all my stuff out of my locker. Today is operative so it doesn’t require quite as many materials as crown and bridge. I have a little trolley that helps me transport my stuff from the locker rooms into the simlab — it’s a lifesaver!



In operative today we’re doing a prep and amalgam restoration of #14 MODL+. This is the biggest prep and restoration to date! Though we’ll likely be working with composites for the majority of our careers, we learn doing amalgam restorations at UCSF to practice and develop our hand skills and learn the basics.  


Time for lunch! Lucky for us today there’s a lunch and learn — what’s better than learning about something new while eating some free food? Often different school organizations and groups will put on lunch and learns covering various topics and subjects. A great way to hear more about what’s happening on campus, find out how to get involved, or learn more about the profession of dentistry. Today we learned about community dentistry from Dr. Lin who shared encouraging words about his journey!


Refill on coffee to gear up for the afternoon.


We have lectures scheduled for the afternoon. Thankfully we get little breaks every hour between lectures! We’re currently in the cardiovascular unit — we’re learning about hematosis and other pathologies of the blood and circulatory system.


Classes are done, time to head home after a long, long day. I’ll usually take some time to unwind, it’s hard to dive straight into studying after so much lecture. Maybe watch some Netflix or YouTube and cook dinner before I study. Typically I’ll review the lectures from the day or look over past lectures. It’s important to stay on top of the material since there isn’t much time between exams.


I try to sleep as early as possible — got to get as much rest to wake up and do it all again tomorrow. Goodnight!

16th Annual High School Outreach Conference

On Saturday April 6, 2019, we hosted our 16th Annual High School Outreach Conference at UCSF. Our theme was space and our tag line was “Explore the Unknown at UCSF.” In alignment with our theme, we invited the high school students to reach above and beyond their limits, to really get out of their comfort zones. We welcomed them to participate and engage in every activity we had planned for them. We reminded them to reach for the stars, to ask all of their questions, and to remain curious.

Although we have been hosting this event at UCSF for 16 years now, a lot of people still do not know what the High School Outreach Conference is. This year, we had our first ever videography committee and we will release a new promotional video since there hasn’t been on in nine years. For those that do not know, the High School Outreach Conference is an event in which we bring hundreds of high school students from the Bay Area to UCSF for a fun, educational day where they can learn more about the different healthcare professions. 

This year, we had a planning committee of 23 students from the 7 different programs: Clinical Lab Sciences, Dentistry, Graduate Division, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Physical Therapy. The day of our event, we had over 100 volunteers distributed throughout the day that helped with set up, registration, the different demonstrations or activities, clean up, etc. We were also lucky enough to have DDS/PhD student Shaun Abrams and Clinical Pharmacist Dr. Cocohoba present speak with the high school students about their journeys, offer advice, and inspire the high school students.

Learning CPR during the nursing rotation

Speaking with the high school students reminded me of when I was in high school and when I had dreams of going to dental school. At the end of the event, it sounded like students became more certain of either wanting or not wanting to pursue a career in healthcare. My goals for the students were to have them discover, learn, and grow. I hope that this conference allowed the high school students to get one step closer toward their dreams. 

At the end of the conference after our evaluations and raffle were over, I decided to speak to some of the high school students. There was one student that said, “I did learn a lot. I know that I do not want to go into medicine.” Although this student did not find an interest in a career in healthcare, this student became more certain in their path for the future. That is what the event is meant to do. It is meant to not only inspire the next generation of healthcare providers but to also allow these high school students an opportunity to learn more about themselves and their options for their own futures. I also received numerous emails from parents thanking us for hosting this event, stating that their child got into their car after the conference and said that they were interested in a career in healthcare and did not know that they had so many options before. Commentary like this emphasized how much of a difference we made and how significant the High School Outreach Conference is.

For me, one major takeaway that came from organizing this conference was the importance of teamwork. The High School Outreach Conference ran very smoothly, but it was only because of the team that we had and the leadership that came before me. The previous ADEA Outreach Coordinators, K.C. Hemstreet, Brittany Zhang, etc., paved an incredible path for us to work with and grow from. I was reminded yet again that in your efforts and pursuits, it is vital to bring other people in. Do not be afraid to ask for help when you need it. You will be surprised with how much you can accomplish when you collaborate. 

Keep reaching for the stars.

ADCFP Spotlight: Archnaa Rajasekaran (’19)

The Academic Careers Fellowship Program (ADCFP) provides dental students at UCSF the opportunity to explore academia through faculty mentorship and research- or education-based projects. Read what some of our students are working on below:

I am Archnaa Rajasekaran, final year international dental student and a proud ADEA-ADCFP fellow. My research project aims to identify how effectively treatment planning is done on AxiUm (electronic health record) by the third and fourth year (including IDPs) students of UCSF during an academic year. I am being calibrated to evaluate the  treatment plans prepared by students, which has been a great learning experience.

What a Time to Be Alive

Students are extremely unique. Of course you’re thinking in your head right now, “obviously, Johanna.” Just think about something as simple as where they come from. Some are from another country, underserved, wealthy, a family of educators, a family of entrepreneurs, a family of dreamers, a family of doers, but the common trait that we all have with one another is that students have an opportunity. We have an opportunity to learn more, do more, and be more, especially being in the health profession. To me, this is what makes UCSF so unique. Our diversity allows us to come together day in day out as a team to help generate ideas on how to best reach our local communities. 

During Fall quarter all of our registered campus organizations work tirelessly to layout event blueprints for the students, faculty, and local communities for the winter and spring quarters. This blog will specifically talk about our 12th Annual Student National Dental Association Impressions Conference. Twelve years. For twelve years, our UCSF SNDA Chapter has worked to give back to the underserved/ minority communities in the greater bay area by hosting a day in the life of dental students, providing mentorship and valuable resources on their journeys to their dreams. 

This past weekend, a total of 140 pre-dental students willingly spent their Saturday participating at this event. In addition to the 140 students that attended, there were also more than 70 dental students that donated their free weekend to volunteer, leaving the pre-dental to dental student ratio at approximately 2:1.  This ratio set up opportunities for pre-dental students to learn about the unique and personalized stories of each of the volunteers. It was our hope to give them an impression of their future. SNDA, Hispanic Student Dental Association, and American Education Dental Association, joined forces to provide interview practice, a personal statement workshop, simulation lab experience, and multiple different guest speakers that discussed the many aspects of dentistry in dental school. On top of that, scholarships were also given out to select participants to help contribute to their educational journey.  

Thankless jobs really, but absolutely worth it. At the end of the day pre-dents left excited and inspired to pursue their dreams in the dental field!  

We all come from different backgrounds and we all have different dreams, but the coolest thing is that we all have one similar goal: to make a change. Again this is a collective effort from multiple different organizations and none of this would have been possible if those before us had not paved the way. Dental school is just the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. It is a time for us to learn all that we can learn; it is a time to be alive, be positive, be active, remember our journey, and pay it forward. 

Like our opening speaker, alumni of UCSF, Dr. Muhaimin touched on, never give up or let anyone deter you from what you want because anything is possible if you dream big and work hard at it. 

Thank you! 

How Assisting a Third-Year Dental Student Changed My View on Dental Education at UCSF

It’s been about five months since I’ve started dental school. After going through two quarters of studying, and now assisting a third-year dental student, I’ve finally come to see why the classes I’ve been taking at UCSF are necessary for me to become a knowledgeable and competent dentist.

The classes I have taken these past two quarters have been anatomy, histopathology, microbiology, pharmacology, research methods, dental procedures, tooth development and morphology, and patient care. Before dental school, I used to think that being skilled at dental procedures was enough to be a good dentist. This is because I mostly focused on how dentists performed clinical procedures rather than how they approached patients’ health conditions in a comprehensive manner. Honestly, even until the end of last quarter, I was not able to see the true benefit of learning didactic material in dental school. I felt like it was extra work. However, I realized how all the knowledge I have learned from didactic classes fit into clinical skills when I came to assist a third-year-dental student this quarter. During the assisting session, the student dentist assessed the medical records of a new patient. The medications, overall health conditions, previous surgeries, infections, diets, allergies, oral health conditions, and social history were assessed. There were many factors to be considered to come up with a treatment plan. The student dentist had to have some knowledge about medications in the patient’s medical record and the patient’s current health condition to decide if it was safe to provide the required dental procedure. In addition, the student dentist used knowledge from didactic courses to explain to the patient what was going on with their oral health status and why the proposed procedures were necessary.

This experience gave me an explanation for why I need to master material from a variety of courses at the UCSF School of Dentistry. To deliver the safest and the best possible care, a dentist should know not only how to perform dental procedures, but also how to consider such procedures in the context of the patient’s overall health condition.

ADCFP Spotlight: Mariam Abadir (’19)

The Academic Careers Fellowship Program (ADCFP) provides dental students at UCSF the opportunity to explore academia through faculty mentorship and research- or education-based projects. Read what some of our students are working on below:

I am Mariam Abadir a fourth year student in International dental program. My research project as a fellow of ADCFP is about international dentists that enter U.S. dental schools with diverse dental experiences. I have created a survey that has been distributed to former students of the international dental programs of both third and forth years of UCSF and UOP. Our goal of this research is to create a common language between educators and students, that is by having a basic base of understanding of international students’ expectations and their level of expertise to maximize their beneficial educational journey at U.S dental Schools.

ADCFP Spotlight: Wilson Ng (’20)

The Academic Careers Fellowship Program (ADCFP) provides dental students at UCSF the opportunity to explore academia through faculty mentorship and research- or education-based projects. Read what some of our students are working on below:

The UCSF School of Dentistry currently uses E-value for D3/4s in their clinical years to provide general praise or critique for faculty members. In this one-sided interaction, faculty members do not have a way to respond or get more information, unless a personal relationship was built to the point where a student felt comfortable enough to provide face-to-face critique to the teacher. Even then, due to the individual nature of such a rare discussion, there remains loss learning/teaching opportunities for other students, and even other faculty members, who were not participants in the discussion. The main goal of this project is to create a teaching tool in which D3/4 students can anonymously report the student perspective, both positive or negative, on specific interactions and incidences with faculty members. Once enough feedback has been received, a PowerPoint presentation will be used to share the cases with a panel of clinical faculty. All discussion or responses from the faculty will be noted, and “clinical teaching pearls” can be generated that can help improve their pedagogical skills.