Fresh Faces: Mashud Ahmad, DDS

After trying three times to get into the highly competitive doctor of dentistry program here at the University of Alberta, Mashud Ahmad is thrilled to be starting this fall.

Sasha Roeder Mah - 14 October 2021

Mashud Ahmad was raised in Calgary, but when his father’s work took the family to Texas after Ahmad’s high-school graduation, he began his undergraduate studies at the University of Houston. Missing his home in Canada, Ahmad returned after a year to finish his degree in biological sciences at the University of Calgary, far away from family but surrounded by good friends. 

After trying three times to get into the highly competitive doctor of dentistry program here at the University of Alberta, he is thrilled to be starting this fall. His advice to others trying to get in? “I want to wish everyone best of luck and to never give up, because if you work hard enough and have the dedication required, you can achieve what you want most.”  

We spoke to Ahmad after the first few weeks of classes in his new program.

What made you choose the U of A?

I believe the U of A has one of the best doctor of dental surgery programs in Canada. The curriculum includes clinic and hands-on experience really early, which is a great way to introduce a new student into the profession. This will help me and other students ease into the upper-year operator roles, where we actually perform procedures on patients. It also does not hurt that this school is super close to Calgary, the city I have called home for as long as I can remember. 

What inspired you to pursue dentistry as a career? 

I love hands-on work. Since I was a child, I enjoyed activities that allowed me to mechanically alter things and use my creativity, with precision and great attention to detail. I also love making another person’s day better and I believe through dentistry I can make a lifelong impact on patients. Lastly, I desire to enhance the field and develop new ways to promote the importance of oral health. 

Dentistry is a growing field; there is more research to be conducted in correlations between oral health and diseases. As symptoms for certain illnesses are first detected orally, I believe it is crucial for us to explore them and educate the public. 

Are you new to Edmonton? 

I am new to the campus and I love that! Obtaining my undergraduate degree in biological sciences at University of Calgary was great, but after attending there for four years it was time for a change. I’ve visited Edmonton many times over the years while growing up in Calgary, but I’m looking forward to my new U of A friends showing me some of the low-key spots I may have missed. I am super excited to live my next four years in Edmonton and explore all the great places Edmonton has to offer. 

What are you most looking forward to in your new program? 

The thing I was most looking forward to in my program is hands-on experience, and the first month did not disappoint. It is so much fun to take a break from lectures and participate in dental projects and help out in the clinics. Now, I’m looking forward to third and fourth years, when we work with patients and I can get a glimpse into what I will be doing for the rest of my life. 

What challenges do you anticipate as you embark on this new path? 

So far, for me one of the hardest challenges was being admitted into the program. It took me three tries to get in! I know I will have many more challenges. Just being able to keep up with the fast pace will be the biggest challenge because you learn so much every day and it is very important to not fall behind.

How is the ongoing pandemic affecting your academic experience so far? 

The dental school professors and administrators have been very accommodating by recording lectures and safely maintaining lab and clinic time for us. If it was not for this I believe dental school would not be the same experience it is right now. There are certain procedures that must be followed to maintain the schedule we have and since everyone has been following them our classes have not been affected that much.

What do you do for fun when you’re not studying or going to class? 

I love hanging out with friends and just doing stuff outside of school. A couple of us from my class have joined a volleyball intramural team, which is a great way to unwind while being active and being around other people. Also, I am excited for the winter season because I can take some time and go to the mountains to snowboard.