Dugoni School Student Angela Navas Shares Passion for Helping Others
Helping others is something that Angela Navas, DDS Class of 2022, is passionate about. It’s one of the aspects of dentistry that attracted her to the field. Dentistry also combined her love of art and science as well as her natural knack for fine details.
“I think I found my calling with dentistry,” says Angela. “It’s really hands on and artistic and I get to interact with some incredible people with the most diverse backgrounds.”
Being able to meet people from all walks of life has been Angela’s favorite part of attending the Dugoni School of Dentistry. “It’s cliché to say but you honestly cannot replace the people here, from the faculty and staff to the administration and my fellow classmates.” The school along with the people have made her feel like she’ll be well prepared for general dentistry when she graduates.
Despite the fast-paced and heavy course load, Angela has found time to be involved in student leadership. She is the clinic ambassador for the DDS Class of 2022. In this role, she coordinates and works with Dr. Des Gallagher, Associate Dean for Clinical Services and Chair, Department of Clinical Oral Healthcare, as an advocate and liaison for her class, communicating about changes or concerns they may have regarding the clinic.
“The faculty at the Dugoni School have been great and I want to give back in a similar way to the next generation of dentists.”
Angela is also one of the co-chairs for the American Student Dental Association (ASDA) events committee. The Dugoni ASDA chapter advocates for the wellness, professional development and personal growth of students. Angela’s responsibilities include overseeing and planning of “lunch and learns,” fundraisers and online social events for Dugoni School students. She was also involved in helping to plan matriculation activities for the incoming first year students.
Her leadership in helping others extends beyond the walls of the Dugoni School of Dentistry and out in the community. Angela’s interest for international service began in her undergraduate days at the University of California, Los Angeles. She was part of an organization called Fellowship for International Service and Health (FISH), a non-profit organization run by UCLA undergraduate students. Each quarter, the group would travel to a community in Maclovio Rojas, Mexico to provide oral health instruction to a population that doesn’t always receive the proper access to care.
“To be a part of an organized service trip is amazing,” says Angela. “It introduces you to like-minded people who want to serve others and to a population of people who are in need of medical and oral health care.”
This is one of the reasons why she decided to become a trip leader for an oral health mission in Jamaica, which unfortunately had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Volunteers from the Dugoni School typically travel to Jamaica during the fall break to provide oral health care and instruction in the community. The role of a trip leader is to fundraise for clinic supplies, organize the clinic rotations and activities and ensure safe delivery of equipment. She hopes to participate in the mission trip next year.
Angela hopes to remain active in her own community but also to get involved abroad after graduation. “I’ve always had a passion for helping others around me and I feel like doing international outreach is one of the most rewarding experiences. I also want to teach in the future because I know how important it is to have good faculty. The faculty at the Dugoni School have been great and I want to give back in a similar way to the next generation of dentists.”