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Alumna in Action, October 2011: Debora Goldschmiedt '09

Debora Goldschmiedt ’09 went 18 years without getting a single cavity. No wonder she’s one of the country’s most promising aspiring dentists. Earlier this year, she was awarded the Omicron Kappa Upsilon Award for Academic Excellence from the National Dental Honor Society for outstanding performance in her first year at New York University’s College of Dentistry. “I knew I was doing well,” she concedes, “but not that well! It was surprising—I was really flattered.”

Goldschmiedt, who grew up in Texas, says her family dentist served as something of an inspiration to her. “He has a great approach to the patient-doctor relationship,” she explains. “He really helped me get interested in the field.” Despite her strong interest in studying medicine, she traveled to Israel right after high school and did a study-abroad program in Judaic studies. She applied to Barnard after a weekend visit and several friends’ recommendations. “There was a lot of positivity,” she recalls. “It was just large—and small—enough for me to feel at home, and everyone I knew there was extremely happy.”

Goldschmiedt majored in Biology and was a member of the pre-health student association for four years. She also worked as a TA for a semester in the Biology Department, and during her senior year, organized workshops for younger students through her department’s student leadership program. She also found the time to apply to dental school.

Currently a second-year student at NYU, Goldschmiedt says, “It’s really a
ton of work, but I’m enjoying it a lot.” She still has a way to go before she can practice dentistry: students spend the first two years on theoretical coursework and labs, the next two years doing more hands-on procedures. In their fifth year, students can choose to specialize in a sub-field of dentistry, like periodontics or orthodontics.

She plans on specializing, although hasn’t decided in what as yet, and laughs when asked whether she’s pulled any teeth. “I haven’t done any extractions. But I did do a root canal!” Knowing how dentists work has completely changed her experience when she goes for her own check-ups. “Now I can picture everything that goes on in my mouth. It’s a little weird.” —A. Abrahamian