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Stacey Shiwak talks about first year

A day in the life

Stacey Shiwak talks about first year

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The instructors give good constructive criticism. I can really draw from what they tell me to make my work better—and I feel I can easily approach them for any help.

Offering her best


In a conversation with her late Aunt Carol, Stacey Shiwak, from Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador, learned of the Dental Therapy program in Saskatchewan. After successful completion of this program, she practiced in several areas of Canada, including Nunavut. “I knew dentistry was the career for me—it’s intellectually stimulating, and I get to help people,” she explains.

But Stacey wanted to learn more. She heard great things about Dalhousie’s Diploma in Dental Hygiene program, so she applied. “After looking into Dal’s Dental programs and comparing these to other schools, I realized that this was the university for me.”

Stacey received her Dental Hygiene diploma from Dal in 2004. Now, in her first year of Dal’s Doctor of Dental Surgery program, she says both programs have lived up to those high expectations. “The quality of the education I’m getting means I’ll be able to offer my patients my best work.”

Those patients will include small, under-serviced Inuit and Native communities in Labrador. “I intend to work in Labrador after graduation,” she says. “I’m dedicated to going back home, where working for the people I know and who have supported me will make my job more meaningful.”

But for now, she’s focused on getting the most out of the next three years of the DDS program’s rigorous schedule. “The program is really well coordinated. And you get into the clinic to learn restorative techniques in the first year,” Stacey explains. “Some of the other dental schools I researched don’t start clinic until second year.”

One course she’s found especially interesting is Occlusion. “It has expanded my knowledge of how the teeth and jaw function as a unit,” she explains. “I find myself challenged in this class, by new information as well as the art of reconstructing teeth with wax. This is just the beginning of what we have yet to learn in this area—which is exciting.”

Though she’s looking forward to going back to Labrador to put those techniques into practice, she says she’s loved being in Nova Scotia. “It’s beautiful! I love the people and the culture—I’m so glad to have had this opportunity.”