A summer in the aquarium and the dentist’s office

Here, Carter Mavromatis ’12 describes two different biological training experiences from this past summer:

I have been working at the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center in Virginia Beach with a lead chemist from Texas up in the water quality lab. Here I had to maintain the proper water conditions for the collection of marine invertebrates, fishes, sea turtles, harbor seals, etc.  After initial training, I was allowed to work independently.  We tested basically everything you could think of having to do with water quality, including pH, alkalinity, and salinity, as well as the presence of fecal matter, ammonia, nitrate, nitrite etc.  I also did a ton of dissections for displays and research.  I dissected isopods, turtles, sharks, cobia, and sea robins, to name a few.  I even got some dental experience there by pulling some of their teeth!  Lastly, I went out on the aquarium fishing boats where we took groups of visitors and summer campers out into the Chesapeake Bay to do a little fishing.  We would throw out troll nets, reel in whatever we caught, and do a brief overview of the animals present.  It was an awesome experience.

Since I am interested in dental school, I been doing a lot of shadowing and working at the Dental Red Cross. At the Red Cross, every Tuesday and Thursday patients who are not fortunate enough to have dental insurance can come in for dental work that they could otherwise not afford.  For instance, some patients come in, point to the tooth thats hurting them, and we yank it out.  Tuesdays are the extraction days and Thursdays are the operative days.  During these days, at least one dentist takes time out of their day to perform the procedures.  It is all volunteer work there, so no one gets paid, but it’s nice to give back to the community.  Other than that, I have been in plenty of offices (oral surgeons, periodontists, general dentists) and have seen almost all aspects of the dental world, which is helpful to get a feel for if I would like to specialize and if so, in what field.  I have really enjoyed oral surgery so that is something I might consider.