Proud Gamilaraay woman credits UQ for bright start to her dentistry career

30 November 2021

Anna Kelly loves the alchemy of art and science which goes into quality dental care and credits The University of Queensland with providing plenty of support and hands-on experience during her degree.

Anna Kelly was hands-on seeing patients from the end of second year at UQ, all the way through to fifth year.

Even before graduating with a Bachelor of Dental Science (Honours), Ms Kelly secured an Associate Dentist role in a private practice in Sydney, starting early in 2022.

“I’ve been focused on dentistry since high school when I was called on to introduce a guest speaker who was a dentist,” she said.

“She was extremely inspiring and, although I had people who doubted me along the way, I always dreamed of completing dentistry.

“Upon graduating high school, I was unable to achieve the extremely competitive results dentistry required.

“I completed the first year of a science degree at UQ to get the grades required and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (ATSIS) Unit helped put my name forward for the dental program.

“I was also able to source valuable tutoring through ATSIS Unit, during both my science and dental science studies.

“From second year onwards, I also took on a part-time dental assistant job to try to learn new skills and focus on dentistry.”

Anna said she was grateful for support from the Dr Alan Van Tran and Minh Ha Tran Indigenous Health Education Bursary (2017, 2018, 2021), the Geoffrey Sattler Indigenous Scholarship (2021) and the UQ Indigenous Commonwealth Education Costs Scholarship.

“I loved my whole experience at UQ; it was very hands-on, being able to see patients from the end of second year all the way through to fifth year.

"During my final year, I was given the opportunity to undergo placement at the Goondir Indigenous Health Service. The practice was located in Dalby, where we were able to provide healthcare services to the local Indigenous community and wider population. 

"I had great mentors along the way who have helped me and said I could reach out to them after graduation.

“Working in healthcare allows me to help those in need and to have an extremely rewarding career path. Giving people the confidence to smile again is an indescribable feeling and motivates me daily.

“It was a dream of mine since childhood and I am extremely grateful to now have the privilege of it becoming a reality, thanks to the ATSIS Unit.”

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