USC University of Southern California

Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC

Carlo Santa Ana—Dental Explorers 2013

Dental Explorer Carlo Santa Ana
Carlo Santa Ana


Carlo Santa Ana

Age: 23

Coming from: California State University Dominguez Hills

Why I think a career in dentistry might be for me: I see it as more than just cleaning teeth. It’s an opportunity to interact with the community by helping relieve their pain and improve their appearance.

What I hope to learn during the Dental Explorers program: How to work with dental equipment. I want to experience the life of a dental student, the challenges that they face and how to overcome these obstacles to truly become successful.

When I found out I was accepted into Dental Explorers, my first thought was: I was giddy, feeling blessed and honored to be chosen.

My number one doubt about becoming a dental professional is: That it may take too long to actually become a dentist.

What I ultimately hope to get out of my experience with the Dental Explorers program: This program will give me more practice and a better idea of what is expected of me in the future, which will enable me to see the work needed to become a successful dentist.

Proudest moment of my life (so far): Telling my mother I got admitted into USC’s Dental Explorers program. Her facial expression was priceless.

If I could see my life in 10 years, I hope it looks like: I’d like to be working in a hospital or dental office, impacting the world in a positive light, one smile at a time.

The number one misconception I think people have about dental professionals is: That it’s a “nasty” job comprised of only looking into people’s mouths and cleaning their “rotten” teeth.

It’s important to have programs like Dental Explorers because: It allows students the opportunity to become fully engaged with dental students and dentists, giving them a pathway into a career within dentistry.

One job I don’t think I could ever do is: Motorcycle police officer. It’s a very dangerous job where you’d encounter many negative attitudes, and the idea of giving people tickets and ruining their day would be horrible to me. I’d rather make people smile.