A pair of graduate students at the Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine have created a social media platform designed to connect pre-dental students and dental students with each other.
“It started three years ago when a few classmates and I started an Instagram page to share the stories behind the journey of every dental student,” said fourth-year student Brendan Gallagher.
The Instagram page gained thousands of followers within weeks of its launch.
“I had an idea to start a similar page for dental practices and met with Brendan to see what insight he had,” said fourth-year student Sean Zar. “By the time I saw him later that day, he had already created it for us and then some.”
A year later, Gallagher and Zar united their pages under TopProfessionals LLC, a platform designed to connect professionals within like-communities. Daily updates include exam-prep modules and access to research releases.
“We work best by bouncing ideas off each other after really analyzing what the audience is looking for, and then how we can provide it,” said Brendan. “It’s how we’ve built what is here and what we’ve reproduced to create what’s coming.”
Also, pre-dental students often lack accessible, reliable, and affordable information about dental school applications. So, the site’s Dent-PreDent Match Portal randomly matches prospective dental school applicants with the page’s spotlighted pre-dental mentors to provide a better understanding of the expectations of individual programs. Matches have been created at dental schools in the United States, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Poland.
“It’s a free service we created for students applying to dental schools and looking for guidance. That was a stressful time,” said Zar. “This is a portal we wish that we had when we were undergraduates.”
The site has since connected hundreds of pre-dental students with mentors at their dream dental schools, Gallagher and Zar reported.