Alumni Spotlights



























Class of 1971

Thomas Hirsch DDS ’71


Catch your classmates up on your life after USC Dentistry. 

I established a practice in Malibu, Calif. and continue to work it full time. Invented the Isolite Dry Field Illumination System and continue to run that company as well.


What about your USC dental education made the biggest impact on your career. 

The biggest impact from USC was the meticulous attention to detail. It was drilled into us to strive for nothing less than perfection.


Who at USC Dentistry made a difference in your life?

I have to give my thanks to John Rutherford, the former dean of admissions. He told me that back in the day he asked over 100 dentists to invest $10,000. Not many had it!  Made me realize that you can make a lot of money, but you must save.


What’s your best memory from dental school?

Dr. Harry Quint’s soliloquy on the grit of finishing disks. What do the four Xs stand for? “I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!”


What advice would you give to USC dental students today that you wish you had known?

Strive for perfection, don’t forget about gold restorations, and compound interest.” Begin saving and investing now — even before you graduate! It will be unbelievable how much it will become in 50 years!


Baldwin machack recent portrait

Baldwin Marchack DDS ’71


Catch your classmates up on life after USC Dentistry.

After graduating, I spent 2 years at USC with Rick Kahn as a clinical instructor in operative dentistry, but then I took advantage of the opportunity to spend five years at UCLA with Yoshio Yamaguchi and Bill Solberg in the Department of Gnathology and Occlusion. During this time, I also became close friends with two other dentists, Carl Rieder and Peter Dawson. These four mentors shaped my professional career and totally influenced the way I practiced dentistry. Carl pushed me to become involved in several organizations, and I went on to become president of the American Prosthodontic Society, the Pacific Coast Society for Prosthodontics and the American Academy of Esthetic Dentistry. I became interested in implant dentistry in 1985 and had the opportunity to lecture for Nobel Biocare literally all over the world, and my association with continuing education projects allowed me to conduct courses in Hong Kong, China, Japan, Taiwan and many other Asian countries. I was fortunate to serve on the board for the Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry for 23 years, culminating with being elected chair of the editorial council for the Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry for 8 years — from 2011 to 2019. My passion for dentistry has not diminished, and I still practice three to four days a week and lecture regularly on Zoom and in person.


I have always loved cars and while my collection includes a Porsche 928, Bentley Brooklands, Jaguar XKR, Mercedes 280 SL, Mercedes AMG GTs,and Aston Martin DB7GT, my favorites are my four Datsuns from 1971 (the year I graduated!) — a Datsun 510 station wagon, a Datsun 620 pickup truck, a Datsun 240Z and a Datsun 1600 Roadster.


What about your USC dental education made the biggest impact on your career?

USC has an amazing brand. It did 50 years ago when I graduated, and it still has the same brand today. What is that brand? “You must be a good dentist because you’re an ‘SC graduate.” This is a gift when it comes to developing trust and rapport with new patients. It’s like magic if you are going into clinical practice right away and especially if you are developing a new practice.


What advice would you give to USC Dentistry students today that you wish you had known?

The best advice I could give to students would be to try and determine early if you are going to specialize or if you are going to stay in general practice. If you are going to specialize, the earlier you start the process the better. If you are going to stay in general practice, then start the process of continuing education immediately. Dentistry is a profession that requires lifelong learning, and the sooner we realize that the license to practice dentistry is a license to start on the path to lifelong learning the more successful we will be.




Class of 1986

Vivian Chui portrait

Vivian Chui DDS ’86, ORTHO ’93


What about your USC Dentistry education made the biggest impact on your career?

This is a multifaceted answer. The school curriculum’s depth and breadth, coupled with nurturing faculty and mentors were the most impactful educational elements in my career. I was an inquisitive student, and this strong combination provided support as well as learning and teaching opportunities for my diverse interests within different disciplines in dentistry during my early career. That first decade also left an indelible mark, emphasizing an importance on thoroughly recording patient history, maintaining a holistic view for proper diagnosis and treatment planning, thinking out of the box, as well as striving for excellence in quality of care. After three decades, the dots for perio, TMJ orofacial pain and ortho are finally connected. I am grateful for the journey.


Who at USC Dentistry made an impact on your life? 

Linda Schultz: I thank my teacher, friend and matron of honor for selecting me as a student teacher.

Sylvan Lande, Don Phillips and Joseph Luk: These are mentors, teachers and colleagues who sparked and nurtured my career long interest in TMD. I am also grateful to the TMJ orofacial pain and perio departments for the opportunity to teach.  Turns out this is the best way to learn!

Nan Mulligan: The quiet and impactful giant.

Harry Dougherty: Our orthodontic jedi grandmaster!

Keith Sakae Tanaka: A guardian angel for both me and generations of USC oirtho residents.

Ed Lew:  The textbook example of a true gentleman. A generous personal, professional and institutional friend.

Jack Lytle: An inspiring example of service to our school and this profession.

Avishai Sadan: An awe-inspiring mastermind. When I think I’m looking at the big picture, he always shows me that there is something even bigger to be seen!

Lastly, to every warm, supportive classmate, faculty, colleague and staff member: you all made dental school a welcoming place of learning!


What’s your best memory from dental school?

Our famous F lab potlucks on Fridays! Love my labmates!


Michael Madden headshot

Mike Madden DDS ’86


Who at USC Dentistry made a difference in your life, and how?

Love him or not, Dr. Richard Kahn’s unapologetic demand for excellence pushed all students to the highest level of professional care. It wasn’t easy, but it made a difference in my career.


What’s your best memory from dental school?

Putting together the yearbook for the class of 1986. The senior year was filled with stress, and this event was one of the few times where I could relax and have some fun.


What advice would you give to USC Dentistry students today that you wish you had known?

Don’t try to predict the exact path of your professional success at the time of graduation. Your dental career will take many turns. The journey you take is the actual reward. When opportunity presents itself, take it, and enjoy the ride.



stefan zweig headshot

Stefan Zweig DDS ’86, ENDO ’92


Catch your classmates up on your life after USC Dentistry.

Following graduation in 1986, I practiced general dentistry for 3 years. I returned to USC in 1990 for my advanced endodontics residency and received my endodontics certificate in 1992. From 1992 until 1998, I served on the faculty of the Department of Endodontics at USC, serving as assistant director of graduate endodontics. Concurrently, I maintained a private practice limited to endodontics in San Marino, Calif., until my retirement from practice in 2018. I returned to USC in 2013 and am currently an associate professor of clinical dentistry in the Division of Endodontics and Orthodontics, working primarily with advanced endodontic residents. In addition, I have a longstanding relationship with the American Association of Endodontists, serving on its board of directors, as a Trustee of the AAE Foundation, and most currently as the Vice President of the Association. My presidency will begin in 2023.


What about your USC dental education made the biggest impact on your career?

I came to USC because of its reputation as being the finest dental school in the world and for producing the best clinical dentists. From day one, our faculty had extremely high expectations of us and expected us to work extremely hard to achieve excellence. They instilled in us the importance of a strong work ethic, high moral values, an attention to detail and a striving for professional and technical excellence. Mediocrity was not an option. The four years were difficult and grueling. Leaving the school at midnight only to return at 8 a.m. the next morning was not uncommon. But in the end, we were competent and confident and ready to practice dentistry at its highest level. It was the discipline and knowledge I had achieved at USC that carried my through my successful careers as a dentist, endodontist, educator and leader in dentistry. I am extremely grateful for the exemplary education I received and for my ability and inclination to give back to my profession.


Who at USC Dentistry made the greatest impact on you?

There are so many people at USC Dentistry who have inspired me over the years, both as a clinical dentist and as an educator. Dr. Al Solnit was my first encounter with a faculty member. He was tough yet caring. He wanted only the best for us, but expected us to work extremely hard to achieve excellence in our goals. He set the tone for the entire educational process at USC. Later, I met Dr. Bernie Levin, who was a kind and gentle soul, but a legend and innovator in the field of removable prosthodontics. He inspired me to become an educator, and my first academic appointment at USC was in the then Department of Removable Prosthodontics. Later, Dr. Marwan Abou-Rass, chairman of the Department of Endodontics and director of the advanced program in endodontics at USC, mentored me to become the best endodontist I could possibly be. His dedication to education inspired me to become an educator and to practice at the highest and most innovative level. I am truly grateful for all these individuals who have made me what I am today.


What’s your best memory from dental school?

My best memory of USC is the friends I made, many of which I am still friends with today and communicate with on a daily basis. We built such a special relationship with one another, and for this I am forever grateful. Drs. Martyn Green, Gary Solnit, Jay Solnit, Kenny Jacobs, David Levine, Dan Solomon, Kurt Silberstein and Curtis Jansen — you are my brothers for life. Your support, humor and friendship carried us through a difficult, challenging, yet fun time in our lives. Also, I was able to meet Judy, my wife, who was a dental hygiene student and who I have been married to for 33 years. Her love and support to me and our two daughters, Jenna and Lily, is the most special thing in my life.


What advice would you give to today’s dental students that you wish you had known?

Dentistry is such a rewarding profession. Your success will come from striving for excellence, treating your patients well and practicing morally and ethically. But your legacy will come from giving back to your community and your profession. Maintain your relationship with the school. Become a lifelong learner. Become an educator. And assume leadership positions that will enable you to make contributions which will enhance and improve dentistry going forward.

Class of 1991

Kimberly Nguyen headshot

Kimberly Nguyen DDS ’91


Catch your classmates up on your life after USC Dentistry.

Graduating from dental school at age 23 was a rollercoaster! I started two scratch practices and am grateful to be celebrating 30 years in practice. We partnered with Rotary International 12 years ago to start an annual free dental day in Fullerton. In 2017, I partnered with an MBA from USC’s Marshall Business School and co-founded Asprodental practice management software – practices across the nation are using our software today! We’ve also taken three community organizations digital: The City of Anaheim’s annual two-day dental and health clinic at the Anaheim Convention Center, the Vietnamese Physicians Society’s annual dental and health fair at Mile Square Park, and Rotary International’s annual dental and health fair in Fullerton.


Who at USC Dentistry made a difference in your life and how?

Big shout out to the professors at Ostrow (Dr. Voss for clinical and Dr. Conley for leadership) who set the bar for clinical and leadership excellence. They didn’t accept anything less than outstanding, so it was deeply ingrained in me to always do my best work and never settle for mediocrity. But when those high standards turned into high pressure, it was my friends at the dental school that kept me going, especially Johanna who was my “twin,” and we did almost everything together. Looking back now, it’s priceless to have shared so many experiences and to be able to understand each other’s journeys, struggles and triumphs. We struggled together. We celebrated together. We took care of each other. The friendships that I developed while at USC and the alumni support that I continue to receive to this day has had the greatest impact on my career


What’s your best memory from USC dental school? 

I led the graduate program board and organized the end of the year party at the Mayan Club for all graduate students. We brought together over 1,000 students from all the different USC schools and programs! I loved that we were able to pull it off!


What advice would you give to USC Dentistry students today that you wish you’d known? 

Enjoy every minute of it even when it’s tough. You’ll make it, and you’ll excel, so enjoy the process in the meantime. This journey is creating your foundation for a lifetime of success and happiness. But know that graduation is only the beginning. You’re going to keep learning and growing; stay excited and hungry for everything that’s yet to come 🙂

Abdi Sameni DDS ’91


Who at USC Dentistry made a difference in your life?

The impact of the people from USC on my education has been an ongoing process that is still very much alive. On a professional level, it began with Dr. Richard Kahn. Rick, who at this time of my life I consider a close friend, instilled the joy in pursuing excellence in restorative dentistry. The second impactful relationship was with Dr. Fereidoun Daftary, who, through his excellent work and innovating approach to esthetic dentistry, “defined” the type of dentistry I choose to practice. And the most current influence has been the access that the recruitment of Dr. Pascal Magne brought to USC, me as faculty and my practice. His  ultra conservative approach to dentistry is what makes me want to goto work everyday, 30 years later. And finally, last but certainly not least, the most influential effect has been from Dr. Alvin Rosenblum. Al has taught me how to be a caring doctor and a better human. Al is family.


What advice would you give to USC Dentistry students today that you wish you had known? 

Take advantage of all the opportunities, get involved with the student body, engage with the rest of the school. Attend as many courses as you can, and keep following the people you admire. Not just while you are in school, but after. Some of my best friends today were my instructors, classmates and patients. I definitely wish I was more engaged and involved as student than I really was.

Elmer Yoshida headshot

Elmer Yoshida DDS ’91


Catch your classmates up on your life after USC Dentistry.

It’s hard to believe it’s been 30 years since we graduated from dental school, but here is what I have been up to since then: I got married to a fellow dental student and now have two wonderful boys. One has already graduated from USC, and the other is currently attending the university. I am also lucky enough to have a nice and busy practice in the city of Tustin.


What about your USC dental education made the biggest impact on your career?

When I was in dental school, I always wondered why USC dental students had to do so much lab and clinical work, when other dental students did not. However, since graduating, I have come to appreciate all the skills the school had taught us. When I first graduated and went to work for a large dental company, I soon realized how difficult it was to practice in the “real world.” Fortunately, the many hours of dental training that USC dental school provided gave me the knowledge necessary for a smooth transition.


What advice would you give USC dental students today that you wish you had known? 

I suppose the only advice I could give to current dental students would be this: learn all you can while you’re in school and know that dentistry is a fantastic career. I have never regretted my choice to become a dentist.

Class of 1996

Joseph Simaie headshot

Joseph Simaie DDS ’96


Catch your classmates up on your life after USC Dentistry.

I started a private practice in Beverly Hills in 1997.  In 2003, I joined USC School of Dentistry’s Restorative Department as a volunteer part-time faculty. Along the way, I have served on the USC Century Club Alumni Association Board, USC Dentistry Board of Councilors and the USC Alumni Association Board of Governors. Outside of USC, I have served on the boards of the Los Angeles Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and the Beverly Hills Academy of Dentistry (for which I am the treasurers now).  I am married to my wife, Pamela, who happens to be a dental hygienist, and we have a 10-year son, Jonathan.


What about your USC dental education made the biggest impact on your career?

I believe the High Standard of Excellence in Restorative Dentistry and Operating with Integrity, taught by USC Dentistry faculty and staff, has made all the difference in my career as a dentist. I was taught every time I got ready to treat a patient to do the best and most appropriate treatment for that patient at my highest skill-set level, and I have to thank the faculty and the education I received at USC for this.


Who at USC Dentistry made the biggest impact on your life?

Obviously, there were numerous teachers over the four-year span of my time at USC, but two individuals in specific had the most impact on my education. First, Dr. Ron Voss, who was my Group Practice Director. Dr. Voss not only taught me how to treatment plan the patient’s dental needs, but to also look at the patient as a whole and ask questions that revealed more about the patient’s motivation seeking dental treatment. Second, Dr. Rick Kahn, who single handedly set the standard for Restorative Dentistry at USC for four decades.  Still, to this day, I can hear Dr. Kahn’s clinical criteria in my head when I am treating patients.  I am thankful to both.


What’s your best memory from USC dental school? 

My best memories of dental school are all the friendships I made during those four years, most of which endure to this day. Although, 25 years have passed since our graduation, when we get together, it feels as though dental school was just yesterday.


What advice would you give to USC dental students today that you wish you’d known?

I would advise all dental school students to make most of your time at school and learn and be exposed to as many faculty members and disciplines.  Once you’re out of school, those learning opportunities get more difficult.  Use your time wisely.

Class of 2001

Chris Acone portrait

Chris Acone DDS ’01, PERIO ’04


Catch your classmates up on your life after USC Dentistry.

After completing the advanced periodontics program at USC, I went on to teach part-time in the advanced periodontics clinic. During the time that I was teaching in the clinic, I was also out getting a feel of what the “real world” of dentistry was like. I used this time to strengthen my clinical skills and to build relationships with my colleagues. In 2009, thanks to the support from family, friends, colleagues and patients, I was able to open up my private practice in Torrance. I have since transitioned into a full-time solo practitioner. Throughout the years I have been fortunate enough to be able to travel the world, get involved with organized dentistry and participate in more community service.


What about your USC dental education made the biggest impact on your career?

The friendships that I developed while at U.S.C. and the alumni support that I continue to receive to this day has had the greatest impact on my career


Who at USC Dentistry made a difference in your life and how? 

It was a combination of several people at USC that made a difference in my life. There is not enough space here to list all of the individuals, but the few that come to mind are as follows 1.) My big brother in dental school, Dr. Ron Curtis because he is still literally my big brother and continues to be a big part of my everyday life 2.) Dr. Hessam Nowzari: He helped open my eyes to seeing and approaching things in life from a more scientific and analytic perspective 3.) Dr. Jack Preston: He is a visionary, and it was a fun seeing how much he loved dentistry 4.) Dr. David Garrett: He was the first person to help me “get on my feet” after I graduated and was an inspiration for me to give back to others as he did to me. Of course, the staff at USC made a big difference as well because I saw them every day, and they were a great source of support. They may not hear that enough, but it is true.


What’s your best dental school memory? 

My best memory of dental school was the day that I actually finished because I was more than ready to start the next chapter in my life by applying and enhancing the knowledge that I acquired over all of those years.


What advice would you give to dental students today that you wish you had known? 

Whether you plan on owning your own practice or not, I would advise students to attain some working knowledge of how to run a business.

Class of 2006

Karen Liang portrait

Karen Liang DH ’02, DDS ’06


Who at USC Dentistry made a difference in your life, and how?

My USC education and experience have been enriched by many of my extraordinary mentors, all of whom had made invaluable impacts in my life. Among them, Dr. Gary Harmatz have given me guidance and advice every step of my professional career. His mentorship began when I was still a pre-clinical dental student. To broaden my knowledge and enrich my educational experience, he introduced me to Newport Harbor Academy of Dentistry — a prestigious organization where I learned from world-renowned speakers and dental educators. After I graduated, Dr. Harmatz introduced me to my first job and gave me invaluable advice on how to balance my professional and family life. He was my sounding board for all of my practice transitions and brought me on board to the Century Club, where I have the opportunity to come full circle and give back to USC Dentistry and provide mentorship as he did for me. Generous and exceptional individuals like Dr. Gary Harmatz are the very essence of our USC dental family.


What’s your best memory from dental school? 

The most memorable time at USC dental school would have to be those countless hours we spent after school in the third floor Sim Lab. Many of us would spend our evenings in the lab working away till midnight. We would have stayed longer, but we got kicked-out at midnight. So vivid are my memories of the music in the background, the sounds of high-speed handpieces and the smell of cut typodont tooth! The busy work then are such sweet memories now.


What advice would you give to dental students today that you wish you had known? 

I was fortunate to have wonderful mentors while I was a student at USC dentistry. They always encouraged and challenged me to learn beyond the basic. I felt well prepared clinically for private practice. There are two pieces of advice I would give. Think beyond your requirements and seek out challenges. Now is the best time to learn with oversight and experience of your faculty, who can hold your hands through each step of the learning process. Think about where you want to be 10 years from now and work backwards. If your desire is to transition into private practice, spend some time with your mentors in private practice settings to learn the nonclinical aspects and inner workings of a private practice.

Class of 2011

Lawrence Fung portrait

Lawrence Fung DH ’07, DDS ’11


Catch your classmates up on your life after USC Dentistry.

Currently residing in Marina Del Rey, super thankful for a private practice in West Los Angeles. Been thankful to be involved with USC on their Board of Governors and USC Athletics, at the dental school on their Board of Councilors and Friends of Dentistry. Outside of private practice, I’m associated with a toothpaste company (Hello Products) that was recently acquired by Colgate and currently working with a dental 3-D printing company, SprintRay.


What about your USC dental education made the biggest impact on your career?

I am really thankful to have been given the tools to be a lifelong learner. I am also very thankful to the mentorship I was given while I was a student at USC and beyond. Most importantly, I learned no matter what, how tough the road gets, to keep fighting on.


Who at USC Dentistry made a difference in your life and how? 

All of my faculty members and staff and fellow classmates taught me a lot. They all taught me compassion, how to develop a high emotional intelligence and to always keep pushing myself to be better everyday. They also taught me the importance of family, how we must take care of each other and our communities we live in.


What’s your best dental school memory? 

2009 Rose Bowl — nail biter win against Penn State!


What advice would you give to dental students today that you wish you had known? 

I would say to enjoy every minute of school. Learn as much as you can in school, really take advantage of the amazing faculty members. There are so many lifelong lessons that can be learned at school that will make life after graduation in private practice so much easier!!

Joan Beleno portrait

Joan Beleno Sanchez DH ’11


Catch your classmates up on your life after USC Dentistry.

I am currently working as clinical/research faculty and course director in both the DH and DDS programs at Herman Ostrow. I also work as a dental hygienist at two private practice offices in Los Angeles. I am currently the Century Club Alumni Association President and am creatively trying to navigate through the pandemic to stay in touch with alumni and continue to support our students. My husband Mike and I recently bought our first home with my 2-year-old daughter Aurielle and are expecting our next baby Trojan in August.


What about your USC dental education made the biggest impact on your career?

My USC dental education has given me the opportunity to grow as a leader in my field and to be a lifelong learner. Becoming a USC faculty member after graduation has exposed me to opportunities that I would not otherwise have had, and I am so thankful for the growth in my career.


Who at USC Dentistry made a difference in your life and how?

Diane Melrose and Dr. Abdi Sameni have truly made the most impact in my career and have made a huge difference in my life as well. Both have encouraged me to find my true passion within dentistry and have cultivated my skills all while supporting me throughout the process.


What’s your best memory from dental school?

The best memory from USC dental school has to be the overall Trojan spirit — from the football games to the social events to graduation. They all made my time in school memorable and unique to the USC spirit.


What advice would you give to USC Dentistry students today that you wish you had known?

Always be on your “A” game. You never know who is taking notice. That one positive interaction could lead to an opportunity you would never expect and trust in the Trojan network to support you.


Class of 2016

Omar Kholaki in a suit

Omar Kholaki DDS ’16


Catch your classmates up on your life after USC Dentistry.

Since graduation, I moved to Dallas, Texas to start an oral and maxillofacial surgery residency at Parkland/UTSouthwestern. I married the love of my life, Areej, in 2017 and we have been thriving in Dallas. COVID was particularly challenging for me as I was doing my general surgery year through residency, but the highlight of 2020 was welcoming our new baby boy, Kareem! He’s been such a joy in our lives. Residency has been grueling, and I’m getting ready to start the sixth and last year this summer. I am anticipating a return to Southern California upon graduation in June of 2022 and hope to reconnect with all of the Trojan Alumni and faculty.


What about your USC dental education made the biggest impact on your career?

By far, the mentorship offered by the outstanding faculty and the network I built through my time at USC. I still often keep in touch with faculty like Dr. Jack Lytle, Dr. Natalie Nguyen, Dr. Scott Adishian and was fortunate to have a few chances to stop by the dental school and see Dean Sadan and others. I owe all of my professional success to their tireless efforts to educate, guide and support me during my dental training and still lean on them for support to this day. I have kept in touch with my close dental school classmates and am so proud to see their successes as they open practices, transition into partnerships and ownership through what has been a rollercoaster of a year.


Who at USC Dentistry made a difference in your life and how?

Of all of my aforementioned mentors, Dr. Jack Lytle made the biggest difference in my life. During my early years in dental school, I was not quite sure where the profession was taking me. I was drawn to the oral surgery clinic and met Dr. Lytle during my first year and was shocked at his professionalism, calm demeanor, outstanding clinical abilities and his knowledge. I tried to soak in every word he said like a sponge. I would spend hours in the oral surgery clinic, often racing down after seeing my patients on the second floor clinic, just to watch him and the residents working on their sedations. I still keep in touch with him and with a similar enthusiasm share some interesting cases we have or bounce ideas off him. Ultimately for me, he embodies what an alumnus can and should do for the university. He donates so much time and money with the sole purpose of bettering the education for the next generation — a true hero of USC in my eyes.


What’s your best memory from dental school?

My best memories come in the form of time spent “in the trenches” of sim-lab after hours working on drawings and wax-ups for Dr. Magne, packing amalgam and prepping our first teeth for Dr. Abedi, layering composite and removing “caries” in plastic teeth with Dr. Keselbrener and refining crown preparations for Dr. Sheh, Dr. Anderson and Dr. Cho! There was something about the camaraderie shared in that lab with 140+ classmates that made the experience so memorable. Though as a dental school, perhaps the most memorable moment for me was at LAC/USC externship where I spent two weeks with the oral and maxillofacial surgery service taking call, participating in OR procedures and extractions with the residents and faculty. I was very fortunate to learn so much from them and still use some of their tips and tricks in my residency today.


What advice would you give to USC Dentistry students that you wish you had known?

Take the time to form the life-long connections with your faculty and classmates; four years flies by so quickly! It’s difficult to appreciate the bond you’ll form with them while going through the rigorous curriculum, but trust me when I say you’ll miss it when you’re done! Also, from a technical standpoint, make the small straight elevator (301) your best friend. It is a powerful instrument for extractions and with the guidance of your senior dental classmates and the oral surgery faculty, you too can learn to be efficient and effective with it for extractions. Lastly, be sure to give back. So many alumni have worked tirelessly to afford us the opportunities to an excellent dental education, and I am a firm believer in giving back. Offer your time and mentor some students when you become an alumus. Take the time to participate in alumni events and perhaps even donate back to the school so you can help others enjoy the experience as much as you did. I still frequently get emails or text messages from aspiring oral and maxillofacial surgeons and am enthralled when I have the opportunity to help guide them in their journey. Please reach out if you’re interested!