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Dental student says support from faculty members sets ATSU-ASDOH program apart

A.T. Still University-Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-ASDOH) student Analise Nicholson, D1, is quick to note her favorite thing about ATSU and dental school.

“My favorite part about ATSU is the willingness of the faculty to engage with students at virtually all times,” Nicholson said. “I have reached out to multiple different faculty and professors over my first semester here, and they have been so kind and willing to talk with me about any of my questions or curiosities. It is so easy to get involved and form connections here, and I appreciate how the faculty and staff are so naturally welcoming and inviting.”

Nicholson is from Phoenix and graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s of science degree in biology and a bachelor of arts degree in Spanish linguistics. Once she set her path on becoming a dentist, ATSU-ASDOH was a great fit because of the School’s focus on serving diverse and underrepresented populations. 

“These are the populations I aim to work with throughout my career and I want to know how to be the best provider possible for these individuals,” Nicholson said. “Additionally, during my career I wish to dedicate myself consistently to working in nonprofit clinics. I believe ATSU-ASDOH will be able to give me an education that allows me to be well informed when it comes to this work, and be a dentist who is able to understand the needs of the communities I work in.

“My biggest goals with dentistry are working with underserved populations, pediatric populations, and to consistently work at nonprofit clinics throughout my career. Though I do have some experience working with children and the Hispanic community, I know that ATSU is offering countless opportunities for me to further familiarize myself with these specific populations and it is going to make me a very well-prepared provider,” Nicholson added. “The curriculum that is made for us in the ATSU-ASDOH program is always keeping diverse and underserved populations at the forefront, and this makes me know that I will be knowledgeable when starting my career on how to best accommodate the individuals I’ll work with.”

Nicholson is a member of Students United for America’s Toothfairy (SUAT), Hispanic Student Dental Association, and Special Care Dentistry Association. 

“I hope to specialize in pediatric dentistry, so continuing my experience working with children in the world of dentistry is a big priority to me. I’ve worked with children my whole life, ranging from working at summer camps to being a teacher’s assistant, and being a part of different tutor and mentor programs at local elementary schools,” Nicholson said. 

“I recently was able to take part in my first event with SUAT. We went to a local church and were able to work with the children on different activities related to oral health and maintenance. At the end, we distributed oral health kits including toothbrushes, toothpaste, flossers, and even tongue scrapers.”

Nicholson is also serving as a student ambassador, helping future dental students address some of the challenges she found during her own journey. 

“I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to represent as a first-generation Mexican-American female in dentistry,” Nicholson said. “When interviewing and applying to schools it was a priority that the school I chose valued diversity in their student population, and I know the ATSU-ASDOH program does just that. Throughout my application process, I didn’t see many other dental students that looked like me. Now, I hope that for anyone that has that feeling, they see that they can also make their own path and continue to expand upon the diversity in dentistry as a whole.”


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