USC University of Southern California

The Explorer: Student Research Journal

By Alex Hinojosa

In an effort to get more dental students involved in research, several USC Dental School students have collaborated to produce The Explorer, the first research journal done by students at USC. The journal is set to publish in January.

“The purpose of the journal is to show students the kind of cutting edge research that has been done and that is being done at USC by students and faculty,” Rita Chaung said. Chaung, along with Bina Joshi, Mike Meru, Chad Tomavin, Goldwyn Jequinto, and Tin Luong, interviewed faculty in each department of the dental school. Chaung said that everyone involved in the journal was passionate about the process and hope to see it in its published form soon.

“It has taken us close to a year to put this together,” Chaung said. “We’re hoping to get at least 2,000 published.”

While completing the journal, the students learned more throughout the process about funding, writing, editing and taking photographs.
“We’re not professionals,” Chaung said. “We had to learn how to photograph and do layout. It was a learning process and we now have something that we can proud of.”

The journal, Luong said, was written for every level of dental student. The journal should provide every incoming dental student an overview of each program from orthodontics to periodontics to aesthetic dentistry, as well as the opportunities available and the research conducted in these programs.

“We just want incoming dental students to really get excited about dentistry,” Luong said. “We also want them to feel a sense of pride about the amount of research that is being done here.”

Most incoming dental students, come into the program thinking that they only want to specialize in one aspect of dentistry without fully knowing what the other specializations are about, Luong said.

“We want other students to feel a sense of pride in the quality of research that is being done here and hopefully get them interested,” Luong said. “Not many students come in here thinking they want to do research. Other schools typically require students to do research and so there is a lot more involvement and at USC it’s not really required as much, so not many students show interest.”

Once The Explorer is published, Chaung and Loung say they hope that other dental school programs throughout the state of California may be able to access it and see the amount and quality of research being done at USC. Students who participated in Research Day and were recognized were also published in the journal along side the faculty. Chaung said that she hoped that this too would boost participation in Research Day.

“In my ideal world, everybody would be excited about research and that we will publish and that will take USC to the forefront in research and discovery,” Chaung said.