School of Dental Medicine (SDM) Alumni have a connection to Stony Brook that goes far beyond graduation. The Stony Brook name on their diplomas carries weight as a testament to their skill, ambition and drive for success. And though these attributes lend to a successful career in Dentistry, what is truly special about these alumni is their devotion to stay connected to their SDM family, including the current students of the program who aspire to follow in their footsteps.
On Thursday, October 11, this sentiment rang true as four alumni ranging from the class of 1985 to 2013 returned to campus to sit on a panel designed to help students prepare for life after graduation.
The alumni speakers included:
- Gary Heitzler ’92, Pediatric Dentistry
- Rob Bacigalupo ’13, Oral Surgery
- Robert Eickelberg ’85, General Practice
- Marichia Attalla ’05, Periodontics
And as they spoke, a few points resonated:
- Stony Brook alumni have each other’s backs. No matter how difficult or puzzling a dental case you encounter, your colleagues and study group members will be there to help you. That’s right, study groups don’t end after graduation.
- The profession affords work-life balance. Though speakers’ specialties ranged from oral surgery to general practice, all agreed that they were able to build their careers in a way that allowed them to put their family life first.
- It’s not all about dentistry. Dentistry is a business. A crucial piece of running a practice is understanding the concepts behind running a business – acquiring new patients, understanding finances, working through insurance, etc.
Beyond this panel discussion, alumni continue to make themselves available to Dental students through the School of Dental Medicine Mentoring program, which connects students with specially-selected alumni mentors.