When choosing my major, I was strictly guided by one rule — I didn’t want to be bored," Alexandra Kotelnikova, winner of the stipend of the President of the Russian Federation 2022, dental student at RUDN University
Alexandra, do you remember the moment when you decided to become a dentist? Why did you decide to choose this direction?
I have been interested in biology and chemistry since high school. I really liked to study the processes occurring in the human body, as well as animals and birds. The school supported my interest and recommended to take courses in universities in my favorite subjects. Chemistry courses at Moscow State University in the 10th grade are the most fruitful time of the whole year. We conducted chemical experiments and solved problems. There I had an opportunity to listen to lectures of professors and study the anatomical preparations of the human body.
When choosing a specialty, I was strictly guided by one rule — I did not want to be bored! I want to learn new things every day and grow. And, of course, it is medicine and dentistry. No other branch of medicine is advancing at such a rate.
What difficulties awaited you in the first year?
In the first year I lacked extra hours during the day because of a very intensive program and so many interesting subjects that I wanted to study.
Which area of dentistry interests you the most? Why?
I am interested in all areas. I believe that a specialist should not only know his narrow focus, but also see the big picture.
At the moment I am keen on restorative dentistry and want to be a children’s doctor.
What is the peculiarity of the major? What should a dentist be like?
The dentist should have an out-of-the-box thinking, and not just strictly follow the protocols. This quality, combined with clinical thinking and flexibility of mind, will help avoid complications and improve the quality of work.
You won a stipend from the President of the Russian Federation. It is given for research activities. Tell us about your scientific projects, what you do and what you specialize in.
We are currently conducting research in therapeutic dentistry. The latest work is aimed at identifying the oxygen-inhibited layer that forms during the curing of the final portion of the composite. Using IR spectrometry, we determined the chemical composition of the composite before and after curing under various conditions.
What or who inspires you to study?
My family does. It was they who’ve always supported me and made considerable efforts so that I was in this place. My grandmother showed by her example that amazing things happen in the world every day. She always found something interesting even in the blossoming apple tree, changes in the weather and the change of seasons. She has been keeping a nature journal for many years and from year to year she compares changes in climate, writes down on which day different plants bloom.
Thanks to them, I understand that the more I do now, the more opportunities for development I will have in the future. I will become a scientist and buy a meteorological station for my grandmother.
When it comes to dentistry of the future, what are your dreams?
I dream that in all clinics doctors will work with modern equipment, the best materials and according to world standards.
How do you imagine your professional track?
My dream after the 5th year is to go to residency in pediatric dentistry and start seeing patients. This is necessary for me to gain practical experience and find application for my knowledge. In the future, I would like to continue to engage in scientific activities. I hope to become not only a practicing doctor, but a researcher and teacher to help future colleagues master the major.
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