Here on the campus of Florida A&M University the percentage of students who want to be dentist is quite small compared to the other types of doctors students are aiming to be. For many finding fellow students who share that same career choice can be difficult, but finding where to get the shadowing experience needed can be even more difficult.
The Molar Express, conveniently located at 912 Railroad Ave. down the street from FAMU’s campus, allows students to get that experience they’ve been looking for. The great part is it’s in walking distance, allowing those who don’t have means of transportation the opportunity to still get the experience.
The Molar Express, which has been part of the Tallahassee community for eight years, is a pediatric dental office that offers a volunteering program for students pursuing careers in the dental field and want shadowing experience.
Eli Jackson, a fourth-year biology student from Miami, has been volunteering at Molar Express since early January. “All I really do is follow Dr. Connie Vu around and ask questions about what procedures are used with patients.”
The Molar Express lets students get a genuine idea of what being a dentist is like, allowing them to see both the good and what some consider bad sides of the job.
“I’ve learned about the stressful side of dentistry and also the good side which is seeing the patients smile after a cleaning or filling,” Jackson said.
His advice for any student interested in volunteering at the Molar Express is, “Ask as many questions but don’t be too pushy about them. Also know that dentists are very busy so appreciate the time they’re taking out to help you better understand the field.”
Erika Taylor is another FAMU student who volunteers at the Molar Express. Taylor, who is also a biology student and has been a weekly volunteer for 3 months. Just like Eli, Taylor has learned about different procedures, tools, and tips for success in the dental field. One thing Taylor has learned in particular since volunteering is “be open to shadowing more than one dentist for exposure and networking.”
When it comes to becoming a volunteer at the Molar Express the process is fairly simple. There are packets located at the front desk for potential volunteers to fill out and return. There is also a required background check that must be done as well due to the fact the Molar Express is a pediatric dental office.