School of Dentistry

STARS Program - STudent Affairs Representatives

In 2021 we launched our STARS Program - STudent Affairs Representatives for the School of Dentistry. We have 20 STARS representing the third and fourth year cohorts. Our STARS are excited to talk to you (prospective students) about their academic journey at OHSU. Meet our STARS below and find out some interesting facts about them before reaching out to connect! If you wish to be contacted by a STAR, please email sodadmit@ohsu.edu and include your name, when you are planning on applying to dental school and a phone number or email address for our students to reach you.

For information about program requirements, including prerequisite courses, the application process and timelines, please visit our Admission Requirements page.

Thank you for your interest in OHSU!

Sara Birrer
Sara Birrer, DS3

Sara Birrer, DS3

Hometown: North Bend, Oregon

Undergraduate institution and major: Southern Oregon University - B.A. in Chemistry, B.S. in Biology

Why OHSU? Growing up in Oregon OHSU was my dream school. After my interview, I knew OHSU was the school for me due to the friendly faculty, supportive student environment and beautiful facilities.

An interesting fact about you: I adopted a puppy during the pandemic! I highly recommend a pet during dental school to keep you company.

Hobbies: Hiking with my dogs, kayaking, last minute road trips, plants, Thai food and coffee.

Advice for prospective dental students: Stay true to who you are and why you are pursuing this career. When you get accepted to dental school, trust the process and that you deserve to be here just as much as everyone else!

Lauren Callan
Lauren Callan, DS4

Lauren Callan, DS4

Hometown: Portland, OR

Undergraduate institution and major: Oregon State University, Biology

Why OHSU? Close to family, supportive community, beautiful school, strong clinical education.

An interesting fact about you: I am fluent in three languages - English, Spanish and French!

Hobbies: Group fitness classes, trying out new restaurants, teaching my dog new tricks.

Advice for prospective dental students: Solidify good habits before starting dental school so that you set yourself up for success right from the start.

Katherine Dolan
Katherine Dolan, DS4

Katherine Dolan, DS4

Hometown: Great Falls, Montana

Undergraduate institution and major: Montana State University; Cell Biology & Neuroscience 

Why OHSU? Well for one, it's in Portland. Which is great. So many delicious foods to try! Second, the school is beautiful. The sim lab and clinic floors are all 8th floor and above and have a lovely view of the city and the Willamette river. And the people are wonderful. Honestly, Mark Mitchell may be the reason I chose OHSU. He is just so cool. 

An interesting fact about you: I was the Sports & Rec specialist at a summer camp in college and one time a camper let me yell, "this is Sparta!" and kick them off the zipline... I suppose that is an interesting fact about me.

Hobbies: Reading, cooking/baking, embroidery, traveling (pre-2020), buying plants, eating Salt & Straw ice cream, discussing the latest episode of the Bachelor. 

Advice for prospective dental students: Everything will be ok! Don't forget to live while you're in school. Spend Friday nights with your friends and family; you can study on Saturday. 

Jazzy Gill
Jazzy Gill, DS3

Jazzy Gill, DS3

Hometown: Bothell, Washington

Undergraduate institution and major: University of Washington - B.S. in Biology

Why OHSU? Lots of pre-clinical and clinical experience!

An interesting fact about you: I coached a unicycle class for a year before dental school started!

Hobbies: Dancing, biking, painting.

Advice for prospective dental students: Make sure to take personal time to do the things you love to do; it is super important for your mental health in dental school!

Taylor Glovsky
Taylor Glovsky, DS3

Taylor Glovsky, DS3

Hometown: Gilbert, Arizona

Undergraduate institution and major: Arizona State University—Barrett the Honors College; Biomedical Sciences

Why OHSU? It sounds cliche, but the second that I arrived in Oregon and stepped into OHSU, I knew that it was where I wanted to be for the next four years. The people, the outdoors, the clinical opportunities, the faculty—it all sold me immediately. I love that at OHSU the faculty truly treat you as if you are future colleagues. 

An interesting fact about you: I have a pet gecko, Darwin, who traveled with me from AZ to OR. He’s my little dental school buddy. 

Hobbies: I love getting outside and exploring OR! Camping, backpacking, hiking, and enjoying the coast are some of my favorite activities. During quarantine, I also started gardening, baking sourdough, and embroidering. 

Advice for prospective dental students: Follow your gut, be proud of yourself, and be true to yourself. This is one of the most exciting times of your life. 

Jon Goddard
Jonathon Goddard, DS3

Jonathon Goddard, DS3

Hometown: Wilsonville, Oregon

Undergraduate institution and major: Oregon State University - B.S in Biology

Why OHSU? Many current students and mentors guided me to OHSU because of the excellent clinical education, faculty, and facilities. I also love Oregon and knew I would be able to establish a good school/life balance here.

An interesting fact about you: Before dental school started, I built a cedar strip canoe with my dad. Luckily, it floats!

Hobbies: Backpacking, fishing, golf, cooking, snowboarding, and canoeing. I always look forward to getting away and spending time outside with friends.

Advice for prospective dental students: You will do a ton of things for the first time in dental school, which is exciting! Set your standards high, but understand that dentistry takes a lot of practice and don’t get frustrated in the beginning. Keep a positive attitude and view every experience as an opportunity to get better.

Brooks Hunsaker
Brooks Hunsaker, DS3

Brooks Hunsaker, DS3

Hometown: Kaysville, Utah

Undergraduate institution and major: Utah Valley University - Biology

Why OHSU? I visited Oregon a lot growing up and loved the idea of going to school here. I also love the new building and views of the river through Portland.

An interesting fact about you: I am very tall, but I’m not good at basketball.

Hobbies: I enjoy hiking, shooting, boating, and anything else outdoors!

Advice for prospective dental students: Everyone says dental school is hard and they are right, but it’s more doable than you think.

Joel Jacobs
Joel Jacobs, DS4

Joel Jacobs, DS4

Hometown: Walla Walla, Washington

Undergraduate institution and major: Eastern Oregon University, Biochemistry and Mathematics

Why OHSU? The Facilities are nice!

An interesting fact about you: I play the bassoon.

Hobbies: Playing music and watching movies.

Advice for prospective dental students: If you're waitlisted don't count yourself out until classes have started.

Mai Jones
Mai Jones, DS4

Mai Jones, DS4

Hometown: Portland, OR

Undergraduate institution and major: University of Portland, BS in Biology with Chemistry & English minors

Why OHSU? Portland will always be my home. I love the collaborative and encouraging atmosphere created by the students and faculty at OHSU. Not to mention the beautiful facilities and view of Portland from the clinic floors!

An interesting fact about you: I've dyed my hair every color of the rainbow.

Hobbies: Hiking, attending live music events, binging anime and cozy gaming.

Advice for prospective dental students: Take advantage of the summer before entering dental school. Make sure you can picture yourself thriving in your dental school's city for 4 years. Find the ones in your class who are like a second family to you. Most importantly, understand that it's okay to fail sometimes!

Jiwon Kang
Jiwon Kang, DS3

Jiwon Kang, DS3

Hometown: Tigard, OR

Undergraduate institution and major: Oregon State University, Biology Major 

Why OHSU? My inspiration for pursuing dentistry began when I was a patient at the old OHSU SOD on the hill. I had an amazing provider who I looked up to, and so, 15 years later, it only made sense to seek my dental education at the same institutions where the best dentists I knew were trained.

An interesting fact about you: I once Skyped with Dante Basco while studying abroad! Shoutout to my sister who set it up because she knew I'm a huge fan.

Hobbies: Cooking, hiking, drawing, ice skating, and playing the piano.

Advice for prospective dental students: Know that you're not alone in this exciting, but challenging time. You have a built-in family at the school who knows exactly what you're experiencing, and building a strong support network will help you not only personally, but also academically and clinically.

Kunal Mansukhani
Kunal Mansukhani, DS3

Kunal Mansukhani, DS3

Hometown: Phoenix, AZ

Undergraduate institution and major: Arizona State University, Biological (Biomedical) Sciences

Why OHSU? Incredible facilities, extremely friendly faculty, and cutting edge technology all in the beautiful city of Portland!

An interesting fact about you: I aspire to try every restaurant in Portland and make a comprehensive list of the best places to eat here (there are already so many)!

Hobbies: Photography, camping, basketball, and exploring!

Advice for prospective dental students: Be true to yourself and don’t put on an act for anyone! It’s important to portray yourself who you really are and not what people expect you to be in order to succeed not only in dentistry, but life!

Aria Mirzazadeh Javaheri
Aria Mirzazadeh Javaheri, DS3

Aria Mirzazadeh Javaheri, DS3

Hometown: Tehran, Iran

Undergraduate institution and major: Portland State University, Biology Major, Chemistry Minor

Why OHSU? I chose OHSU because of the great amount of clinical experience we receive. It was very important for me to receive good amount of clinical exposure to make sure I am going to be as comfortable as possible providing care in the future.

An interesting fact about you: I won second place in a national Karate competition in Iran. 

Hobbies: Soccer, Hiking, Martial Arts, Listening to Music, and Traveling!

Advice for prospective dental students: Make sure you are on top of your academics and do well on the DAT, it can be frustrating but be organized, manage your time, and you will do well!

Christine Nghiem
Christine Nghiem, DS4

Christine Nghiem, DS4

Hometown: Camas, WA

Undergraduate institution and major: Seattle Pacific University, B.S. in Biochemistry

Why OHSU? I loved OHSU's mission to serve the greater community of Portland. There are so many opportunities throughout the year to serve beyond the walls of OHSU that include Health Equity Fairs, kids clinics, dental mobile vans, international dental trips, and the Russel Street Clinic, so you get lots of experience and get to meet so many people!

An interesting fact about you: I have a blackbelt in TaekwonDo.

Hobbies: I love traveling to new places, trying new foods, swimming, running, hiking, game nights, and park days with friends!

Advice for prospective dental students: I've made some of the best friends in dental school! Invest some time with your new classmates because they will be the only people who truly know what you're going through and can be a great support system during these next four years!

Christine Nguyen
Christine Nguyen, DS4

Christine Nguyen, DS4

Hometown: Portland, OR

Undergraduate institution and major: Portland State University, Biology

Why OHSU? Collaborative learning environment, early clinical experience, and beautiful facilities.

An interesting fact about you: I was in scouting for 7 years and that has led me on many adventures, including night kayaking to watch fireworks from the middle of Mission Bay.

Hobbies: Exploring the outdoors, baking, reading, calligraphy, and being a proud plant parent to my snake plant, Malfoy.

Advice for prospective dental students: Be kind to yourself. Failure is part of the learning process and it is an opportunity for you to grow so cut yourself some slack and don’t be afraid to ask for help! 

Britta Pihl
Britta Pihl, DS3

Britta Pihl, DS3

Hometown: Ketchikan, AK

Undergraduate institution and major: Gonzaga University - Biology Major and Dance Minor

Why OHSU? OHSU is a very well respected dental school known for preparing its students for clinical excellence. With the ultimate goal of returning home to practice rurally in Alaska it was important for me to get as much clinical experience and exposure to specialties in school. OHSU has it all with state of the art facilities and located in the beautiful PNW being a bonus!

An interesting fact about you: This August along with a group of my classmates I will be participating in the Hood to Coast Relay, running 200 miles from Mount Hood to Cannon Beach!

Hobbies: Anything outside - fishing, running, hiking, camping.

Advice for prospective dental students: Give yourself grace! Dental school will challenge you in ways that you cannot anticipate/prepare for. Trust the process and YOURSELF.

Chelsea Plinke
Chelsea Plinke, DS3

Chelsea Plinke, DS3

Hometown: Hillsboro, OR

Undergraduate institution and major: University of Oregon-Human Physiology 

Why OHSU? I worked as a dental assistant in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at OHSU during my gap year and felt immediately welcomed by the faculty and students. Everyone was interested in my success as a future dental student and went out of their way to teach me whatever they could about dentistry. OHSU was a natural choice for me because you can admire the green beauty /mountains of Oregon from every floor of the school. Students seemed pleased with their clinical education and preparedness for residency applications. 

An interesting fact about you: I lived in France in high school as a Rotary Exchange student and didn’t get my drivers license until I was 18. In college I got my motorcycle license and drove a scooter all around Eugene. My scooter was gold and I called it El Dorado. 

Hobbies: Rollerskating, skiing, cooking (my spice cabinet is enormous), admiring my super fluffy Ragdoll cats- Hendrix and Hamilton.

Advice for prospective dental students: The time commitment of dental school can feel overwhelming at times. Stay organized with a calendar and a good group of friends who will remind you of due dates. Exercise to strengthen those back and shoulder muscles you’ll be needing for dentistry and try the sauna at March Wellness to get your mind right!

Conor Scanlon
Conor Scanlon, DS3

Conor Scanlon, DS3

Hometown: Portland, OR

Undergraduate institution and major: Whitman College; Biology

Why OHSU? I wanted to attend a school with a tremendous facility and great reputation for clinical excellence. It also helps that Oregon is the most beautiful state in the country!

An interesting fact about you: I built a full size couch out of tortilla chips in my college sculpture class :)

Hobbies: Travel, drawing, cooking, crabbing, and backpacking.

Advice for prospective dental students: Get involved in extracurriculars in undergraduate that will help you with leadership and communication skills. Once you’re in school try not to compare yourself to anyone else because everyone has their individual strengths and weaknesses and you will all become incredible dentists!

Brendan Withycombe
Brendan Withycombe, DS3

Brendan Withycombe, DS3

Hometown: Beaverton, OR

Undergraduate institution and major: Oregon State University, BioHealth Sciences

Why OHSU? I chose to go to OHSU for their high quality clinical curriculum and beautiful campus.

An interesting fact about you: My great great grandfather was the governor of Oregon.

Hobbies: Backpacking, skiing, rock climbing, fly-fishing, and playing guitar.

Advice for prospective dental students: Keep a growth mindset and don’t hesitate to reach out to upperclassmen for advice when you are having a hard time with a lab or didactic course!

Dallin Wright
Dallin Wright, DS4

Dallin Wright, DS4

Hometown: Grand Junction, CO

Undergraduate institution and major: Brigham Young University, Accounting

Why OHSU? I was really impressed with the faculty, the school location and equipment.

An interesting fact about you: I have had 2 kids during dental school!

Hobbies: I enjoy sports, hiking, eating good food, games.

Advice for prospective dental students: Find a good work/life balance and maintain that as best you can during dental school. Don't be afraid of failure, I learned the most when i didn't get something right the first time.

Matt Wyman
Matt Wyman, DS3

Matt Wyman, DS3

Hometown: Great Falls, MT

Undergraduate institution and major: Carroll College— Biology

Why OHSU? I chose OHSU because of the state of the art facilities, great clinical preparation, and a love for the PNW! 

An interesting fact about you: I have giant hands— don’t ask why I’m becoming a dentist!

Hobbies: Playing basketball, enjoying the outdoors-skiing, boating, hiking, camping

Advice for prospective dental students: Give your 100 percent in all that you do, whatever it may be, and the rest will figure itself out!