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Get to know CDA’s October Student Spotlight, Alivia Stoddard from Western University College of Dental Medicine class of 2021.
What has been the most surprising thing about dental school?
The most surprising thing about dental school for me is how many amazing people I have met here and how much fun I have had. I never thought I could be surrounded by so many driven, kind, inspiring, supportive and like-minded people.
Have you discovered a dental specialty you would like to pursue? If so, which specialty and what helped you realize this passion?
If I were to specialize, it would be in pediatrics. I have the biggest imagination, loads of energy and love building rapport with all kids. I am fueled by dancing with kids as we walk to their dental chair and hearing them talk about their favorite Disney princesses or superheroes.
What’s your favorite guilty-pleasure movie or TV series?
I love Disney movies! But because we don’t have a ton of time, I usually just fast forward to all of my favorite parts and sing along to the songs (haha).
What has been the most rewarding thing about working on patients?
I love talking and building rapport with patients. Learning about their lives and hearing their stories has been very eye-opening and inspiring. However, the most rewarding thing happens after a procedure, when the patient expresses their gratitude and tells me that they feel comfortable in my care. It really enforces my “why” for dentistry.
What made you interested in dentistry?
I did not know I wanted to be a dentist until my junior year of undergrad when I went on a mission trip to Guatemala. The moment I realized I wanted to become a dentist was when we had to extract all but one of this woman’s teeth, due to decay. After asking if she wanted us to remove the last tooth she politely declined and said she wanted to keep it because it made her feel beautiful.
The other contributing moment to my passion for dentistry occurred while I was assisting. I asked a 98-year-old patient for life advice and he told me “always be and do good.” That’s when I decided that dentistry will be my “good.”
What item represents your personality and why?
I think I would be a jack-in-the-box. Sometimes I like to be cozy in my box but can be silly, outgoing, have bursts of energy, be good with kids and full of surprises.
How has your life changed in the past year?
I have grown and changed a lot throughout the last two years. I moved to this incredible state, met some of the most supportive, amazing people and have gained so much confidence and character. I no longer feel overseen but more of a leader than ever before.
Why are you #cdaproud?
I am #cdaproud because I am so grateful for the dental family that I have made. They are irreplaceable and I have never felt so welcomed, loved and supported. I am very grateful for the opportunities that CDA provides to meet so many wonderful people and the tools CDA offers to be the best dentists we can be.