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1. Do you come from a historically disadvantaged community/neighborhood with limited educational and supportive resources? (e.g.

neighborhoods with a high percentage of high school dropouts where few go on to attend college, neighborhoods with high unemployment and associated socio-economic problems)

I came to America when I was very young and was raised in a community where many of my classmates were also immigrants. We were second language learners, yet our school did not provide us with the adequate language support. Due to the schools strict budget, I was always placed into classrooms where the ratio of students to teachers was overwhelming. Thus, students like myself did not receive the needed attention from our teachers. In addition, many of the families in my neighborhood were struggling with socio-economic problems. After graduating from high school, I learned that a handful of my old classmates either dropped out of high school or did not proceed onto college due to family circumstances. Financial instability and problems at home, such as drug abuse and unemployment, were amongst the many reasons why my friends were unable to focus in school. As I look back in my past, I realize that growing up in a disadvantaged area has taught me to be understanding of peoples hardships and appreciative of the opportunities I have received. 2. Do you come from a region/community where there is a shortage of medical and dental care, or where most of the care is provided by city, county, state, or federal clinics and hospitals? (e.g. rural community, inner-city community)

Although I do not live in a medically or dentally disadvantaged area, I do have a clear understanding of what it is like to live in an underprivileged region. I recently participated in a dental mission trip to Vietnam that brought to my attention the lack of available health care in my hometown. During my time at the dental clinics, I met with patients that have never once received oral care. Many of them do not have the financial stability or accessible health clinics near them. Thus, I learned that patients would ignore their dental problem until it becomes unbearable or remedy the symptoms with unsafe techniques. With my dental experience in Vietnam, I am now more aware of the demanding need of health care in my hometown and the difference I can help make in underprivileged communities.

3. What was the number of people in your household during the majority of your life from birth to age 18? Did you have any special responsibilities?

When my family first immigrated to America, we lived in a household with 20 of my relatives. After a couple of years, my family was able to move into a home of our own. Growing up, my twin brother and I were the youngest amongst the five children. We were responsible for the household chores, as my parents and elder sisters were regularly working to financially stabilize the family. As I became old enough to legally work, I began holding minimum-wage jobs every summer. During my college years, I worked throughout the academic years to pay for all of my school and personal expenses.

4. Have you faced hardships that interfered with your educational pursuits? Do you consider yourself academically, socially, and/or economically disadvantaged?

My familys hardships have taught me to juggle family responsibilities with my personal and professional goals. Coming from a low-income immigrant family, our financial difficulties were further burdened by unfortunate events. During my younger years, my dad underwent three failed back surgeries, my mom suffered from a severe case of hepatitis B, and three close relatives passed away. These events led my family into deeper financial hardship, and as a result, I have been working to financially support my family throughout my college career. These challenges have made pursuing my educational goals more difficult, but I have become mentally stronger and harder working as a result.

5.

Do you provide support to anyone other than yourself? If yes, please explain:

Due to my parents' health conditions, I have learned to not only support myself through college but also tend to my parents emotional needs. After my dad fell from a 20-foot ladder onto a cemented

pavement, he faced weeks of surgical recovery and countless nights of unexpected hospital visits. I have been caring for him by taking him to his weekly chiropractor appointments and doctor visits. With my moms hepatitis B illness, I have ensured that she is emotionally cared for by helping her manage her medication, accompanying her to religious gatherings, and assisting her with her errands.

6. PLEASE DESCRIBE THE DETAILS OF ANY SIGNIFICANT COMMUNITY SERVICE ACTIVITIES (Im assuming this question is straightforward because the question goes right after the portion where I list all of the community services I have done.)

As an intern at OCAPICA, I participated in the Promoting Access to Health (PATH) for Women project that provided both health education and services to low-income families. I held outreach events to help bridge the gap between cultural misconceptions of health-related issues, like breast and cervical cancer, and the proper education on health care. In addition, I was involved in dental health fairs that taught adults and children proper ways to maintain clean and healthy smiles. I demonstrated to the families that personal hygiene can be as simple and inexpensive as eating the right food and properly brushing after. Overall, OCAPICA has given me valuablee opportunities to meet diverse families, learn about their personal stories, and most importantly, offer to them my passion for community service.

7. If you have done any research, please describe your role and include the name of your faculty sponsor and the duration of your research experience. You may attach copies of any publications to this application.

Since June 2011, I have been researching with Dr. Jean Gehricke on the Brain Activity, Genes, and Smoking study. The research examines the effects of cigarette smoking on patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and in particular, the influences of dopamine genes in increasing the likelihood of smoking initiation. As an active researcher, I conduct orientation sessions with patients to collect baseline measures and to learn more about their ADHD symptoms. These personal interactions

have allowed me to translate my understanding of ADHD into a real life setting. I am also responsible for running functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans to analyze patients brain activity. As participants perform experimental tasks that consist of arithmetic problems and both unpleasant and neutral images, I operate the machinery and assess the immediate effects on the prefrontal-limbic activity. I also help organize the NIRS pilot tests by recruiting participants, setting up the appointments, and assisting with measuring oxygen levels during smoking sessions.

I am also involved in an independent study that evaluates the relationship between ADHD symptoms and Body Mass Index (BMI) scores. Through analyzing patients health surveys, I noticed that individuals exhibiting ADHD symptoms utilize food to cope with their behavioral problems. Numerous of studies have shown that patients diagnosed with impulsivity or inattentiveness have a tendency to over consume food. Some individuals knowingly overeat to deal with their disorder, while others fall victim to their symptoms and excessively eat without knowing. Thus, I have been researching on the correlation between ADHD symptoms and BMI scores, a system that quantitatively evaluates patients health risks through weight and height. Through collecting data on patients eating habits, height and weight measurements, and ADHD symptoms, I hope to find significance in my data demonstrating if greater ADHD symptoms correlate with higher BMI scores.

8. Describe your special skills, interests, hobbies or athletic participation that you would like the Committee to consider.

Volleyball has enforced in me valuable skills that will help me excel in dental school. At the age of 12, I joined the volleyball club after watching many of my older sisters tournaments at her high school. I was fascinated by the drive and teamwork in the players. As I began competitively playing in high school, I learned to work cooperatively in a team and enjoyed the bonding relationships I was able to form with the other players. Now as a college student, I participate in recreational tournaments with

my friends and help coach volleyball practices and games at my high school. Though I no longer play volleyball competitively, I still find the sport to be a beneficial part of my life. By applying the teamwork and social skills I have acquired as a volleyball player into dental school, I will be able to form a friendly and helpful environment with my colleagues.

Why are you applying to the UCLA School of Dentistry?


UCLA is the school I have admired the most for its balance between academics and community service. As an undergraduate researcher, I have engaged in research that focuses on the behavioral condition of children with ADHD. Through helping at the Saturday school labs, I have developed a keen interest in research, as well as care for the pediatric population. With UCLAs comprehensive curriculum, I hope to contribute to the schools advanced research programs and expand my knowledge of pediatrics into the field of dentistry. I am confident that UCLA will not only help me form a strong understanding of dentistry but also offer excellent postgraduate programs for me to pursue my interest in pediatric dentistry. ** need to talk about: Community service UCLA being near so that I can tend to my parents needs still.