Fresh Faces in dentistry and dental hygiene

We're excited to welcome our new students to the School of Dentistry! Meet some of them from the Bachelor of Science Dental Hygiene (class of 2023) and Doctor of Dental Surgery (class of 2024).

1 September 2020

Mackenna EdgarCody Hennig • Emily Grasdal • Kendra Horton • Yiying Huang


Mackenna Edgar – BSc Dental Hygiene Class of 2023

Mackenna EdgarWhy did you choose Dental Hygiene as a career?

Working in the field of dentistry has always been my dream job. Even in grade two when they asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I answered "A dentist." After some work experience at my local dental office in high school, I fell in love with the Hygiene side of things. It's a very social occupation, and helping patients is one of the best things in the world. My passion to pursue a career in the dental field grew, and so I've ended up here and couldn't be more excited to start!

What makes you suitable for a career in healthcare?

My ability to connect with others. I have always found it very easy to get along with people, and I know what it takes to make meaningful relationships. It doesn't take long for me to find common ground when meeting someone new. I think this ability is an asset as trust is very important between a healthcare worker and the patient. I value making others feel comfortable and what better way to do that than having a real conversation with them. Not only that but making good connections with your coworkers creates a healthy level of reliability that is essential when working as a team.

What do you feel are the opportunities in this new environment?

There are too many to count! Meeting new people throughout the faculty, making long-lasting professional relationships, and getting more involved on campus are all things I look forward to! This new environment will create such a large network of people, who will all be awesome references in the future!

Cody Hennig – Doctor of Dental Surgery Class of 2024

Cody Hennig

Why did you choose Dentistry as a career?

I was exposed to the field of dentistry from a young age. Having two family members in the profession, I would hear about the importance of brushing my teeth and preventing cavities. Back then I used to think that getting a cavity was the worst possible thing that could happen, second only to the end of the world. As I got older, I began to learn more about daily life in the profession. I was really drawn to dentistry by the ability to make a measurable difference in my community. As a dentist, I would be playing a vital part in relieving someone's pain or even preventing that pain from ever developing in the first place. I also loved the work/life balance that dentistry offers, which I am sure is something that my future self will enjoy.

What makes you suitable for a career in healthcare?

Firstly, I have a keen interest in science. I distinctly remember one undergraduate anatomy class that I took, and how fascinating it was being able to point out what we learned about on my own body. Also before applying, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to shadow and talk to a couple of dentists which has allowed me to experience the profession from their point of view. I have know the patient side. Besides cleanings, I chipped a chunk out of a front tooth. I know how noticeable a chipped tooth can be and how nerve-racking it can be to get fixed. Shout out to my amazing dentist for fixing it so well that nobody has noticed it since!

What do you feel are the opportunities in this new environment?

Having a class of only 32 people for the next four years will give us the opportunity to connect and get to know each other quite well. Additionally, despite the current circumstances regarding COVID-19, I think that learning how to take the proper precautions and don the necessary PPE in these times will help us all be more prepared for whatever we encounter after we graduate and begin working as professional dentists.

Emily Grasdal – BSc Dental Hygiene Class of 2023

Emily Grasdal

Why did you choose Dental Hygiene as a career choice?

I've always enjoyed going to the dentist. Even when I was a kid, I wasn't fearful. I'm not sure if that's because our dental office was super friendly or because of my interest in the field. As I've gotten older I've been really drawn to Dental Hygiene as a career, mostly because of the interaction you get to have with your patients. I really love working with people and helping them to feel better. I love the idea of mixing my passion for science with my love for helping people, and a career in healthcare seems to be the perfect way to do that!

What are you most excited and most nervous about?

I am so excited to get to know all my classmates and get started on this adventure together! I love how close all the students seem to be in the upper years. I'm nervous about the amount of coursework there will be! I have completed an undergrad (in biochemistry), but I still think this program will be quite challenging academically.

What do you feel are the opportunities in this new environment?

I think the biggest opportunity with this program is that we get to start in a clinical environment so early on. I believe the hands-on learning will be so valuable and it's one of the main things that drew me to the program.

Kendra Horton – BSc Dental Hygiene Class of 2023

Kendra Horton

Why did you choose Dental Hygiene as a career choice?

I have always been intrigued by teeth and thought they would be super cool to work with. I also am a "clean freak" and when you put the two together this is a perfect career. Also, I have always wanted a job where I can wear scrubs!

What makes you suitable for a career in healthcare?

I love working with people and helping where I can. I am very social and like to make people feel comfortable and confident in the care they are receiving.

What do you feel are the opportunities in this new environment?

I am nervous about online learning, but we will all get through this together! Even so, I am excited to be able to mingle and get to know people that have the same interests as me.

Yiying Huang – Doctor of Dental Surgery Class of 2024

Yiying Huang

Why did you choose Dentistry as a career choice?

I love sweets, I have absolutely adored them since I was a little kid. But the downside of constantly eating sweets is that I was in and out of the dental office all the time. These trips to the dentist became so frequent that I got extremely comfortable in the environment and of course that prompted the thought, "Hey this isn't so bad... I wonder if I could be a dentist?" I worked as a chairside assistant during grade 11 and I remember the first time I witnessed a patient receive her set of complete upper dentures; the happiness and satisfaction in her eyes really struck me. And there was no turning back from then, I knew I had found what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

What makes you suitable for a career in healthcare?

One of the most important sayings that my parents ingrained into me is "try to put on the other person's shoes." I have actively tried to the best of my ability to incorporate this into my daily life and I continuously strive to live by this motto. I believe that healthcare is built upon the foundations of empathy, compassion and trust. The patient and doctor connection is truly important in the treatment process, and I believe I will be able to genuinely bond with patients, putting myself into their shoes.

What are you most nervous about?

I am the most worried about learning and practicing in the climate as of right now, in regards to COVID-19. I'm worried about my class and the different experience we will receive as first years in a professional program. This difference is not simply receiving education online but rather it affects bonding with classmates, professors and campus life as a whole. I'm sure that it will be a struggle to adapt for everyone but I believe this unique journey will make all of us more grateful for everything we are still able to accomplish. But I feel we have access to incredible resources, including our wonderful professors and coordinators, as well as the primary facilities and equipment/instruments dedicated to us.