Meet the Graduates:
Sam Sheridan DDS ’23
12 May 23
Sam Sheridan reflects on “four of the best years of his life” as he prepares to embark on a residency in oral and maxillofacial surgery.
THE ROAD TO A DENTAL CAREER was not without its winding curves for Sam Sheridan DDS ’23.
While pursuing a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience from Bucknell University, Sheridan spent a summer working as a physical therapy aide, another summer as a mental health worker, several semesters as a research assistant and more than a few days shadowing dentists.
“It is essential to explore as many different fields as possible before deciding on a career,” he says, of the veering pathway. “I would highly recommend anyone considering a career in healthcare to take the time to do their due diligence by shadowing healthcare professionals and finding what field suits them best.”
And that’s just what Sheridan did. During a gap year, he worked as a dental assistant at an orthodontics practice, where he fell in love with dentistry.
“I immediately saw the impact that dental care can have on patients’ health and happiness,” he says. “Through improving form and function, dentistry allows one to enhance the lives of others while working on a region so crucial to one’s identity — their smile.”
Top choice: USC
When it came time to apply for dental school, the Palos Verdes native knew where he wanted to land.
“USC was always my top choice for dental school because of the excellent clinical training, the world-renowned faculty and the commitment USC shares toward helping underserved communities,” he says.
Sheridan began his studies at Ostrow in 2019, pursuing his doctor of dental surgery degree. He flourished academically, finding himself on the Dean’s List every trimester throughout dental school.
He also threw himself into extracurricular activities — serving as a California Dental Association student delegate, joining the USC Mobile Dental Clinic team to provide treatment to pediatric patients throughout Southern and Central California, participating in various research projects and becoming a part of the “Dr. STAT” emergency response team. He also volunteered at the dental clinic at the Union Rescue Mission, which provides dental treatment to the unhoused population, and traveled to the Philippines to provide treatment to the underserved as part of a Dental Humanitarian Outreach Project.
He believes it’s these extracurricular activities that have truly forged him into the competent, confident and compassionate dental practitioner he is today.
“It’s imperative to look for ways to improve your education outside the classroom. Become involved in as many extracurriculars as you can, go to conferences and be sure to find mentors from an early stage,” he advises incoming students. “These experiences help you become a more well-rounded clinician, and they also keep you motivated and inspired to become a leader in the field.”
Four of the best years of my life
Sheridan’s next move is to the City by the Bay, where he will pursue a residency in oral and maxillofacial surgery at the University of California – San Francisco.
Looking back at his days in dental school, Sheridan has the fondest of memories.
“Dental school at USC were the four of the best years of my life, and I wouldn’t change this experience for anything,” he says. “The commitment towards community outreach, in addition to the collaborative nature between students, staff and faculty at USC, make for a truly unparalleled experience that helps all of us grow into the people and clinicians we strive to become.”
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