Member Spotlights

ASDA’s membership is made up of more than 24,000 dental and predental students from dental schools and undergraduate institutions across the United States. Each month, ASDA profiles members in our e-newsletters: The Polished Predental, Advocacy Brief, The New Leader and Word of Mouth.

If you would like to be featured in The Polished Predental or The New Leader, contact our membership director. If you would like to be featured in Word of Mouth, contact Frances Moffett, publications manager. Legislative liaison spotlights for Advocacy Brief are chosen by ASDA’s Council on Advocacy. If you’re a legislative liaison and would like to be featured, reach out to your legislative coordinator to discuss future opportunities.


Dorna Akhavain


Hometown: Tehran, Iran

Chapter: Oklahoma ASDA Pre-Dental

Graduation Year: 2019

Position Held At Chapter: President

Why do you want to be a dentist?
Growing up I had the opportunity to watch my father practice dentistry in Iran. I spent a lot of time in his office. Every time one of his patients would see me, they would tell me how my father made them feel like they are family and not just another patient. I saw people come to him from not only different cities, but different countries to get the patient care they deserved. He taught me dentistry is not just about health care; but it is the balance between art, compassion, health care and people.

What are you most nervous about for dental school?
Trying to find the balance between family obligations and studying is my biggest worry. Since my mother and I are my grandmother’s primary caretakers, and dental school definitely has a heavier curriculum, it might not be an easy task trying to manage the time.

Why do you think you’ll make a good dentist?
I know what it feels like to be in pain and not getting the care you need. I know what it feels like to feel like you do not matter to a doctor, and they only want your money. I am a sociable person who loves interacting with people and having the diverse background in dentistry helps me communicate with my patients more and be more understanding of their needs.

Share one thing on your bucket list:
I would love to get my skydiving license. Last year I went skydiving in Dubai and it was a very mind-opening experience for me. I have never felt so much in the present time than when I was falling from the sky for a few minutes.

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    Lissette Ruiz-Ibarra

    First Impression - Predoctoral

    What or who inspired you to become a dentist?
    I vividly remember squishing white clay between my nine-year-old hands attempting to sculpt the molar that was in my encyclopedia. I sat at my kitchen table for hours shaping the enamel, rolling strips of red and blue clay for vessels, … read more

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    Stephanie Sforza


    Why do you want to be a dentist?
    I chose to pursue dentistry because it is the perfect blend of my passions for health, art and esthetics, and personal connections. Being a dentist provides us with such a unique place in the health care realm – dealing with acute, often … read more

  • claire

    Claire Todd

    First Impression - Predental

    Why do you want to be a dentist? 

    My passion to become a dentist began when I was only six years old. I have firsthand experienced the transformative power of dentistry, and I want to be able to provide a place where I can cultivate confidence within my patients through … read more
  • SpotLightZCM

    Zelexis C. Morse


    Who inspired you to become a dentist?
    In high school, I took a class called “Dental Careers” that formally introduced me to dentistry. My instructor, Regina Weems, showed me an article about a 12-year-old titled “Toothache Leads to Boy's Death,” which … read more

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    Lauren Yap


    Why do you want to be a dentist? I want to be a dentist to be able to help human trafficking victims, especially young women and children, with their oral health. 

    What do you think is the most vital quality in a leader? I think the most vital quality … read more