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    Admission Coordinator
    Premedical Program
    University of Southern California
    College of Letter Arts & Sciences
    CAS 120
    Los Angeles, CA 90089-0151
    Tel: (213) 821-2354



PPP Students

Dena Shuster
BA Human Biological Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania 2012
Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, Class of 2020
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Why I changed my career (or educational objectives):
Growing up with multiple physicians in my family, I always thought I would attend medical school. By the time I got to college, however, I decided I wanted to explore other options. As a Human Biological Anthropology major at the University of Pennsylvania, I was able to explore the sciences of evolution, molecular anthropology, primatology, reproductive ecology and forensics. I loved science and loved working with people, but I was unsure of whether I wanted to live the lifestyle of a physician. After convincing myself for a while that I would be happy attaining a PhD in one of the aforementioned fields, I decided that I, in fact, did want to attend medical school. I then applied to and attended the Postbacc Premed Program at USC. While taking the premed courses at USC, I interned at St. Francis Medical Center, which reaffirmed my love for working with patients. I continued to question, however, whether I wanted to be a physician. After much soul searching, realizing how much I loved the sciences, working with patients, and remembering how interested I was in learning about the evolution and anatomy of teeth in addition to being exposed to forensic dentistry as an intern at the LA County CoronerŐs office, I decided that Dentistry was the perfect path for me. At that point, I continued my time at USC as a predental student and completed the USC program. I am now a dental student at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine.

Why USC?
USC was high up on my postbacc list. I was born and raised in Los Angeles, so I wanted to return home to LA after being in Philadelphia for college to be close to my family and friends. USC was perfect for me, though, because of the flexibility it offered in terms of classes available, volunteering opportunities, and access to really anything I needed.

Favorite Class/Professor at USC:
: My favorite course I took at USC was Anatomy. Although this is not required for all medical and dental school programs, it is required by many dental schools. Dr. John Callaghan loves what he teaches, making the class extremely enjoyable.

Experiences with medicine
My experiences with Dentistry before dental school include Forensic Dentistry exposure, shadowing two general dentists (required for most dental schools) and volunteering with the KidsŐ Community Dental Clinic based in Burbank, CA.

When I'm not studying or volunteering
When I was not studying or volunteering during the Postbacc Program, I took multiple art classes, focused on staying in shape, and spent time with family and friends.