The Michigan Dental Association Foundation proudly presents a recipient of the 2012-13 Academic year, Michigan Dental Association Foundation Mitus Scholarship, to Alexandra Martella from Farmington Hills, Mich. The Foundation had the opportunity to chat with the recipient and would like to share some of her thoughts and inspirations regarding dentistry:
Where do you go to school, which schools have you attended on your journey to becoming a Dental professional?
- Dental School: University of Detroit Mercy
- Undergraduate: University of Michigan
- High School: Mercy High School
Why did you want to become a dental professional?
I have always had a desire to serve and give back. I loved my father’s stories and admired the joy he had in treating his patients. Seeing this and knowing the positive changes my father was able to accomplish made me want to become a dentist.
Who inspired/mentored you along the way?
My parents (Richard and Jennifer Martella) and brother (Christopher Martella). They continually challenge me to push my limits and give me a good amount of “tough love” when I need it.
What is the best advice you have been given while in the pursuit of your career?
Always strive to continually improve and master the skills necessary to achieve your goals. In the pursuit of mastery you will gain invaluable lessons and grow both personally and professionally.
What advice can you give to students thinking about pursuing a career in dentistry?
If you want something bad enough you should do whatever it takes to achieve it while still maintaining your integrity. If you become frustrated and want to give up, don’t. The struggle will be worth it in the end.
What do you enjoy the most about dentistry?
I really enjoy educating my patients on proper oral hygiene. I believe this is a great way to get to know and understand patients better. I treat oral hygiene as a team effort between me and my patient. I have had great feedback about this (from both patients and instructors), and my patients feel more respected and are more likely to listen and follow my advice. They better understand the importance of oral health and want a healthy, esthetic smile.
Can you share a story or experience that made you realize that Dentistry was the right profession for you?
I was delivering my first denture, and my patient could not stop smiling and telling me how much she loved her new teeth. Although this was one small triumph for me in clinic I realized the huge impact I could make in someone’s life through dentistry.
Is there one procedure you enjoy the most?
I would not say there is one procedure I enjoy doing the most. I like being busy and doing multiple different procedures throughout the day.
How has winning the Michigan Dental Association Foundation Scholarship helped you?
This scholarship has helped me realize the resources and support the MDA and its members provide for dental students. I hope to be able to offer the same support to students and the profession once I graduate.
Where do you see yourself in six months after graduation?
I hope to be working toward my certificate in endodontics residency and master’s of science.
Where do you see yourself in three/10 years after graduation?
I see myself practicing as an endodontist in Southeast Michigan somewhere near where I grew up.
Have you attended any local, state or national dental meetings?
Through my participation in the American Student Dental Association. I have had the opportunity to travel to many different cities throughout the United States for district, regional, and national meetings. I have also been a student member on several MDA committees.
If so, what did you enjoy about attending the meeting? If no, why not?
I really enjoy meeting dental students from all over the country and getting to know them. The keynote speakers at the national meetings inspired me to push myself harder and strive for perfection. At both ASDA and MDA meetings I have had the opportunity to network with current and future leaders and learn from them as I pursue my goals in dentistry.
Do you see yourself participating in organized dentistry, serving on a committee on either a national, state or local level? If so which one interests you?
Definitely! I currently serve as a student member on the MDA Foundation committee and was shocked to learn about all of the great events, fundraisers, and outreach the Foundation organizes. I want to continue to be a part of this committee and maybe even the Foundation President some day. Throughout my career, I plan to continue to advocate for professionalism, organized dentistry, and take an active role in protecting this profession.
What do you like to do beyond dentistry (hobbies, talents, etc.)?
When I have time, I practice yoga and run. I also enjoy trying new recipes and styles of cooking. I recently received a Moroccan tagine cooker, which has proven to be a real culinary “experiment” and a little bit of a fire hazard. Trying to get the hang of the tagine has been a fun challenge. Sadly, I don’t think my family has enjoyed tasting these “experiments!”
Thank you for a glimpse into the life of a Michigan Dental Association Foundation Mitus Scholarship recipient. Your hard work and efforts are clearly demonstrated. You will be an asset to the dental profession.
The Michigan Dental Association Foundation awards scholarships annually to dental, dental hygiene and dental assisting students. We believe that the people of Michigan deserve exceptional oral health professionals. All scholarships are given to Michigan residents attending Michigan universities and colleges. The Michigan Dental Association Foundation is devoted to becoming the philanthropic leader of the oral health community in order to fund student scholarships, provide oral health initiatives and access to care.