Dubai student’s passion for paediatric dentistry

Donya Mahmoudi, a final year student of the IB diploma program at Gems World Academy, is pursuing economics, biology and psychology. Passionate about taking on leadership roles, she is a Student Leadership Executive and a certified mental health first-aider.

Donya Mahmoudi

Determined to pursue a career in paediatric dentistry, she has been reading a lot on the subject and has received distinction awards for Biology, Chemistry, and Spanish. ‘‘Apart from academics, I enjoy playing tennis, the piano, and participating in collaborative programs on social affairs,’’ she says. Donya recently received a certification of completion on a program led by Harvard and MIT mentors.

Determined to pursue a career in paediatric dentistry, she has been reading a lot on the subject and has received distinction awards for Biology, Chemistry, and Spanish. ‘‘Apart from academics, I enjoy playing tennis, the piano, and participating in collaborative programs on social affairs,’’ she says. Donya recently received a certification of completion on a program led by Harvard and MIT mentors.

Excerpts from an interview:

What got you interested in paediatric dentistry?

As a child, I was attracted towards the medical field after seeing representations of doctors in cartoons such as Doc McStuffins. Growing up, I discovered that many of my relatives are in the field of medicine. Their insights into work schedules, skills and the overall rigor made me realise that I would enjoy a career in medicine more than I would a regular desk job. I hope to specialize in paediatrics because of my experience with children; I used to baby-sit children of family friends and realised I shared a delightful connection with children. I hope I can change the stereotypical perception children have of dentists.

Have you taken any courses/programs in the field of science to help you get a better idea of paediatric dentistry?

I participated in a 10-day immersive summer program in UCL, London, pertaining to dentistry. I also explored my vocation through work experience where I shadowed a general dentist and hygienist at their workplace for over a week.

How are you preparing yourself for a career in dentistry?

My internships, volunteering activities, extracurriculars and academics have given me the communication, observational, analytical and interpersonal skills necessary to be a dentist. I continue to practice tennis and piano to develop my manual dexterity and coordination. I feel my biology studies in particular will prepare me for the rigor of dental school.

What are the three best pieces of advice your mentors have given you?

I find myself taking advice from different people. One piece of advice that has helped my self-esteem is Albert Einstein’s words on being a genius. He reminds me that everyone is a genius in their own way. What I take from this is that while I might not do well in a particular area, I can excel in another. From my mother, I am always reminded to be true to myself. This has helped me steer clear of negative influences. Lastly, I am privileged to have an incredible mentor at school who encourages me to always push my boundaries. With this, I have received incredible opportunities that encompass my academic excellence, well-being, leadership and initiative.

What 3 life lessons have you learnt from your travels to over 30 countries?

Traveling to so many countries was the greatest eye-opener because I was exposed to an incredible number of distinct cultures, traditions and lifestyles. The first lesson I learnt is to never be afraid to try new things. A useful way to connect with a culture is to embrace what they have to offer. The second lesson is to never be afraid of spontaneity. I feel the greatest memories I’ve had from my travels spawned from moments when I left my comfort zone. Most importantly, my experiences from my travels have often humbled me. I often realize how much I take for granted when I witness lifestyles of other people.

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