USC University of Southern California

Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC

Meet the Scholars: Mikaela Goodman

mikaela goodman portrait
Mikaela Goodman DDS ’17, Photo by John Skalicky

The second-year DDS student joins nearly 70 scholarship awardees for the 2015 Friends of Dentistry Scholarship Recognition Dinner, a unique event bringing Ostrow students face to face with their generous benefactors.  


Mikaela Goodman DDS ‘17 has all the energy of a 24-year-old who loves what she does.

In addition to going to school full time at the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC, the Florida native serves as a USC program ambassador reaching out to prospective students and alumni and as the secretary of Jewish dental fraternity Alpha Omega.

“Next year I’m thinking of running for president,” she says with enthusiasm. “Dentistry is the perfect career. I love everything about it.”

Goodman has also been busy with another love: She wed her husband in August.

“I planned a wedding my first year of dental school because I heard rumors about how time-consuming and tough the second year would be,” she says.

A multitasker from way back

The ability to keep so much on her plate at once has been something she’s been cultivating for years.

Goodman says she put herself through undergrad at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Fla., by working full-time at Walgreens.

“I worked as a cashier, cosmetics or customer service, basically any department they needed that shift,” she says. “I worked all of them.”

For the first time in her collegiate career, Goodman can devote all her time to school—thanks in part to generous donors who create scholarships to assist students with their education.

“I’m not working, so I can dedicate all my time to studying,” she says. “I can see why they say to try not to work in dental school — you just don’t have the time.”

Goodman’s scholarship, which will amount to nearly $30,000 by the time she graduates, comes courtesy of the Howard M. Landesman Endowed Scholarship.

It is one of the many awards that make up Ostrow’s scholarship endowment. As part of its $115-million fundraising initiative for the Campaign for the University of Southern California, the Ostrow School aims to raise another $7 million to ensure students like Goodman can devote themselves fully to their studies.


“If I can even make one person feel the way I felt after receiving this award, it would made everything worth it.”

—Mikaela Goodman DDS ’17



Meeting the benefactors

On Feb. 20, Goodman will be one of nearly 70 students gifted with scholarships to attend the 2015 Friends of Dentistry Scholarship Recognition Dinner.

The dinner, which will be held at the W Hotel in Hollywood, Calif., allows students to meet their benefactors.

“It’s such an honor to meet with all the doctors and to see all they’ve accomplished,” Goodman says. “I can’t wait. It’s marked on my calendar with a double circle around it!”

More than financial assistance, Goodman says the scholarship has motivated her to hit the books in school and connect with colleagues outside class.

“I want to do the best I can to prove they made the right choice by choosing me,” she says. “And it’s helped a lot with networking. I’ve met doctors and faculty, and other students who received scholarships that I wouldn’t have otherwise.”

The scholarship also plays a role how Goodman uses the skills she’s learned at USC.

“I try to give back as much as I can now, and one way is by volunteering at free dental clinics throughout L.A.,” she says, adding that last year she traveled to Mexico to offer her services.

Goodman, who is interested in pursuing a career in public health after graduation, says she also plans to become a donor.

“If I can even make one person feel the way I felt after receiving this award, it would made everything worth it,” she says. “I hope that with everything I’ve learned at USC so far, I can be successful and be able to give back in the same way.”

The Friends of Dentistry Scholarship Recognition Dinner takes place Feb. 20 at the W Hotel in Hollywood, Calif.

Meet the Scholars: Kenneth Smith DDS ’15

Meet the Scholars: Drew Roberts DDS ’18

Meet the Donors: Lee ’78 and Scott Adishian ’75, DDS ’79, PROS ’82