Hunt School of Dental Medicine Student Profile: Michaela Nguyen

Hunt School of Dental Medicine Student Profile: Michaela Nguyen

“I love treating patients as a dental student. It’s an incredible feeling to interact with them and get to know more about them and their dental experiences.”

Tell us a little about your background. Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school?

I am a deaf Vietnamese, Taiwanese and American dental student. I grew up in Frisco, Texas, and attended the University of Texas at Austin. I received my degree in biochemistry and minored in American Sign Language.

Who or what moment inspired you to go into dentistry?

Growing up, my dad and his family couldn’t afford to go to the dentist. I would listen to his stories about not having the same opportunity as others, and I realized dentistry inspired me. I want to provide dental care to those who are going without it.  

Why is the Hunt School of Dental Medicine the best place for you?

The Hunt School of Dental Medicine is the best place because the small class size allows me to get to know the professors. Having that opportunity for one-on-ones with them is important. The school also has the most advanced dental equipment, which allows us to learn digital dentistry, something not many people can say they’ve done.  

How does it feel to be part of the inaugural class at the Hunt School of Dental Medicine?

I’m excited and honored to be a part of the inaugural class. As one of the first students, I’m helping shape the future of the Hunt School of Dental Medicine. What it becomes, in part, will be because of myself and my peers in the inaugural class.

What kind of impact do you hope to have on the community as a dental student at the Hunt School of Dental Medicine? And after?

I hope to show the community that we’re doing what we can to provide oral health opportunities and resources. One patient at a time, we have a significant impact.

What are your interests and hobbies?

I love to play golf and table tennis.

Do you have any family you would like to mention?

I want to thank my mom, dad and sister for being there for me every step of the way.

What challenges have made you who you are?

Because I’m deaf, I’ve been motivated to continue working hard and persevering.  I’m also a cancer survivor, and that experience made me realize how important it is to live every day to the fullest doing what I love. I’m doing that right now in dental school.

What is something about you people might not know?

My parents didn’t know I was hard of hearing until I was five, at which point I started wearing two hearing aids. One day, when I was seven years old, I told my mom I couldn’t hear out of my right ear, even with the hearing aid. The doctors determined I was beyond hard of hearing – I was deaf. I went through cochlear implant surgery and now wear an implant on my right ear.

What do you like most about El Paso, or do you find unique about the region? 

I love the mountains that surround the area. I love waking up and watching the sun rise over the mountains every morning.