Hometown: Honolulu, Hawaii
Career Plans: She's keeping her options open.
“This school provides an experience where you look forward to coming back the next day – it’s what makes the Dugoni School so special.”
Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Aly Aly Ochiai grew up in a laid-back environment that exuded the 'aloha spirit' - emphasizing the importance of friendliness and treating people with care and kindness. Her upbringing would play a huge role in her education and career choice.
Aly Aly knew she wanted to go into the healthcare profession, but she wasn't quite sure which field. She majored in psychobiology while attending University of California, Los Angeles. She felt that the union between the hard sciences emphasized in biology and the humanism emphasized in psychology was very important for being a healthcare provider.
"I wanted to study psychobiology to understand the intricacies of both the body and the mind. In order to support my patient's well-being, I need to be able to put myself in my patient's shoes," she recalls. Aly Aly says she is the type of person who loves talking to people and learning about people through their stories.
She decided that dentistry would be her career path. "Dentists leave their office knowing that they made a difference in someone's life not just through oral care, but by being supportive and responsible for the holistic well-being of their patients." Dentistry would allow her to build relationships with people, to be artistic and creative, and, most importantly, give her the opportunity to improve people's overall health.
With dentistry, Aly Aly is able to focus on the details as well as the big picture. "As a dentist, you must practice the art of relating to your patients and provide the appropriate care," she says. "At the same time, you really need to enjoy academia and have to constantly want to learn more. I feel like it's a very happy profession."
From the first time she entered the Dugoni School of Dentistry, Aly Aly has felt this happiness from everyone in the building. During interview day, she noticed that people here at the school generally care about each other. She wanted to be around people who wanted to be in school or wanted to come to work. "I really like that family atmosphere where you bond with your patients and colleagues."
She can't rave enough about how much she loves being around her classmates, who she sees as genuinely good people. Aly Aly feels fulfilled with all that's she's accomplished during the day and is even happier to be sharing the Dugoni School experience with her classmates and professors.
"In general, dental school is hard," says Aly Aly. "But this school provides an experience where you look forward to coming back the next day - it's what makes the Dugoni School so special."
Although still in her first quarter, Aly Aly can't wait until she's able to start seeing patients. She's looking forward to building on patient skills. "I'm excited about talking to and getting to know my patients and building those types of relationships. I love being there for other people and really supporting their overall well-being."