After five years of equivalent full-time study, 46 students graduated from Charles Sturt University (Charles Sturt) in Orange with a Bachelor of Dental Science on Thursday 12 December.
The new generation of qualified dentists left Charles Sturt equipped to provide dental health services across rural, regional and metropolitan areas after years of intensive training and assessment.
One dental graduate is Dr Grace Munns, who originally hails from the NSW Central Coast.
Dr Munns graduated with distinction from her course and was awarded the Oral Medicine Academy of Australasia Dental Graduate Award of Excellence and the Colgate Prize for the best overall performance in Year 5.
Dr Munns relocated to Orange in 2015 to start her dental degree after completing a Bachelor of Oral Health and working as an oral health therapist.
“Practicing as an oral health therapist helped fuel my passion for dentistry and my desire to be able to more effectively meet my patients’ needs, so I decided to further my career,” she said.
“I chose to study dentistry at Charles Sturt University because of its reputation in the dental community for producing confident and competent graduates.”
During her time at Charles Sturt, Dr Munns was an active member of the University’s community and the student dental community.
She held both Head Resident and Residential Advisor roles for Charles Sturt’s on-campus residence in Orange.
Dr Munns also served as Vice President of the Orange Campus Student Dental Association for the first half of 2017 and was her university cohort’s class representative for the organisation in 2015 and 2016.
“I really enjoyed my time at university; being a Residential Advisor, Head Resident, and a representative of my cohort when liaising with staff and the student dental association, were all incredibly rewarding experiences,” she said.
“I particularly liked the hands-on practical exposure we received, which is invaluable to your development as a young dentist.
“I also enjoyed the rural setting of studying in Orange because, not only is it a beautiful and friendly town, I had opportunities to assist with the health inequities faced by rural communities.”
Dr Munns has already secured her first graduate job as an associate dentist in regional NSW, which she will commence when she receives approval of her dental registration later this month.
“I am really looking forward to starting my first job as an associate dentist at a private practice in the Hunter Valley.
“I believe the clinical experience received at Charles Sturt University, especially in the final year of clinical practice, has prepared me well for general dental practice as a new graduate.
“If anyone is considering a career in dentistry, I believe it is a fantastic career choice.
“You’ll have the opportunity to improve the quality of life for your patients while using your hand skills, technology, and application of medical and dental knowledge, and building professional relationships with patients through communication.”
Speaking of her post-graduation plans, she said her goal is to be become the best dentist she can be.
“I would like to eventually experience working in both the public and private sectors,” Dr Munns said.
“In the future, I would also love to pursue further studies in paediatrics and special needs and become a specialist in that field.”
Charles Sturt Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students) Ms Jenny Roberts said it is exciting to hear stories like Dr Munns’s and see the University’s new graduates start to commence their careers after years of hard work and dedication to their studies.
“The beauty of training dental students in Orange is that many of our graduates, just like Grace, will go on to provide much-needed dental health services in regional and rural areas,”.
“I truly wish Grace all the best in her career and her plans for future study.
“I would also like to congratulate all of our 2019 graduates and wish them the best of luck on the journey ahead.”