Ryan McCoy, a dentistry graduate in the class of 2018, is the recipient of both the Alberta Premier Silver Medal, which is awarded to the student with the highest academic performance in a professional program such as medicine, law and pharmacy, and the Alberta Dental Association & College Gold Medal – also awarded to the student with the highest academic standing.
“I was quite shocked when I heard the news that I had received these awards,” says McCoy, who is beginning the dentistry general residency program at the University of Alberta in September. “I went through this program with so many intelligent, hard-working people, so it’s a real honour to be recognized out of a group of such high-calibre students.”
Balancing school-life and family-life can be difficult. But when asked what his key to success was, McCoy was quick to credit the people who inspired him along the way.
“Anyone who graduates from this program should be very proud; we are standing on the shoulders of giants, and credit should be given to the countless faculty members and staff who continue to inspire and build this program every day,” says McCoy He also gives credit to his large support system including his parents, siblings and girlfriend, a recent University of Alberta medical school graduate. “My family, especially my parents, have been behind me every step of the way throughout all of my schooling from a young age; these awards are as much a testament to their dedication to my success as my own.”
For McCoy the most rewarding experiences during dental school were those where he felt that he made a lasting difference in the appearance and function of his patients.
“I remember making a new set of dentures for a patient, who was just so happy and thankful that he could get them before his grandson’s high school graduation,” says McCoy. “It’s rewarding to be able to work with patients and see the differences we are making in people’s lives.”
McCoy also attributes his success to his down-to-earth attitude. For him the key to success is quite simple – show up every day and work hard.
“Be compassionate and always remember you are part of a team. Every one of your patients is someone’s mother, father, brother or sister, so take the time to treat your patients as you’d like your family to be treated; if you do that, everything else will work itself out,” he says. “I have been fortunate to have many mentors who have helped shape my professional identity.”