Advice from the top student in dental hygiene

With the class of 2020 having convocated in June, the School of Dentistry is proud to celebrate its top students.

Jessalyn King - 18 June 2020

From the Bachelor of Science, Dental Hygiene class, Megan Chow won the top honour, the College of Registered Dental Hygienists of Alberta’s Gold Medal, awarded to the top convocating student in the Bachelor of Science, Dental Hygiene program, based on academic standing. 

So what does it take to be the top student in dental hygiene? Chow has a few pieces of advice for upcoming students:

  1. I think the main factors are dedication, determination, and perseverance.
  2. Throughout the program, there are inevitable challenges that we face and it’s important not to be discouraged. Learning how to overcome these obstacles helps a student to build resilience, which is transferable to life as both a student and a future clinician.
  3. Furthermore, being able to work well with others is integral. Collaborating with other healthcare professionals is essential in providing the best care to patients.
  4. Finding the right balance between school and personal life is also key. Although I greatly prioritized school, what I learned throughout the course of the program was the importance of taking some time to do things that bring me joy (such as, baking, reading, and listening to music).

Chow also adds that going it alone is just not possible. "My family and friends were such a great support network during my time in the program. Connecting with them was a way for me to decompress when school was hectic. As well, I’m grateful for all of the support and guidance from my professors."

"It’s an honour to receive this award. I was pleasantly surprised when I first found out. I appreciate the recognition for all of my hard work in the program."

On top of recognizing her scholastic achievement, Chow says that receiving the gold medal has opened future career options for her. "It has prompted me to further consider working as a dental hygienist beyond the private practice setting. I’m very interested in the role of a dental hygienist in public health. The ability to have a positive impact on the oral health of the whole population through preventive care appeals to me."

She credits growing up in a family of dental professionals as her inspiration for applying for the program. "However, by going through such a prestigious program and learning from amazing professors, I have developed not only as a clinician but as a person. The most enjoyable aspect of dental hygiene is being able to interact with a variety of patients. It’s rewarding to see the positive impact I can have on their oral health. I’m looking forward to a fulfilling career as a dental hygienist."

The complete listing of awards this year can be found here.