Seema R. Prakash

Leader

Hometown: Fresno, CA

Chapter: Western University of Health Sciences College of Dental Medicine (WesternU)

Graduation Year: 2022

Position Held At Chapter: Chapter President


Seema Prakash

Why do you want to be a dentist? Growing up with a father who was a devoted nurse, I knew that I wanted to be just like him. He was able to create relationships with patients that stretched far beyond the nurse-patient dynamic. I knew that dentistry would allow me the opportunity to not allow treat my patients to the best of my ability, but to also interact with them on a personal level and follow them throughout their many life experiences. Furthermore, being someone who likes to work with her hands, dentistry is unique in that it is the perfect avenue to exercise my love of creativity and precision. Dentistry has become the perfect matrix for my love of people, art, and healthcare, making it the profession for me.

What do you think is the most vital quality in a leader? Although there are many characteristics that can make a successful leader, there is one that is most critical, in my opinion. This is the ability to listen and gather the feedback of others. Being a leader means knowing when to take a step back and empower others to take a stand so that their ideas and beliefs can also be heard and considered. It has been very important to me, as Chapter President at WesternU, to encourage my board to be the best versions of themselves by giving them the freedom to channel their creativity and strengths, which has only made our chapter exceedingly successful.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in dental school so far?  The biggest lesson I have learned in dental school is that you cannot take care of others if you do not take care of yourself. While being challenged by the dental curriculum, I have found myself constantly wanting to be there for my classmates and friends. However, I soon realized that I must be in a positive and well state of mind to be the best resource for others which could be accomplished through adequate sleep, quality time with friends and family, and a basic understanding that ‘everything would be just fine in the end.’ This is what can bring about sound decision-making and clarity in thought. I also know that this will lead to the best patient care possible as I transition into clinic my third year and begin my dental career.

What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done? The bravest thing I’ve ever done was fly to Japan by myself for a conference where my research partner and I were presenting a paper we had published. Although I am fond of flying, I was nervous to arrive in a foreign country without any knowledge of the language. It was difficult to navigate the customs, especially the transportation systems, but once I found my footing (and my friend) I learned that uncomfortable situations such as these only push us to become stronger.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?  The best advice I ever received was from my parents while I was applying to dental school and was overcome with self-doubt. Their advice to me was, “You only fail when you quit, but as long as you keep trying, you are moving toward success.” Any time I have felt like I couldn’t move forward, this has been my driving force to keep going.