Joseph Mullen: Class of 2020

Posted on: Thursday, 06/27/2019

Joseph Mullen
Dr. No-Hee Park Award for Excellence in Art and Science
Mason C. Oong, DDS & May H. Oong Endowed Scholarship

WHEN JOSEPH MULLEN WAS FACED WITH THE DECISION to pick a college major, he was set on picking one in a different field than the one his father had chosen, which was oral surgery. After completing his first year of college as a marketing major, he went on a mission trip to the Czech Republic where he provided service to a number of individuals and families and found that he enjoyed human interaction much more than interacting with computer screens. It was this mission that changed his mind and path from marketing and advertising to health care. Based on his own experience growing up, he knew that dentistry could provide a more flexible lifestyle, one where he could be more involved in his children’s lives.

“Dentistry is the perfect marriage of interaction with people, has elements of art, and accommodates a work-life balance that I want,” Joseph said.

As a husband and father of two young boys, Joseph has the added stress of planning for his family’s financial future, so he’s made a point of trying to minimize the amount of debt he will have after graduating. He’s achieved this in part by choosing the UCLA School of Dentistry, which is known for the tremendous value as well as the quality of education students receive. In his second year, he was awarded the Mason C. Oong, DDS and May H. Oong Endowed Scholarship and one of the School’s newest endowed scholarships, the Dr. No-Hee Park Award for Excellence Endowment in the art and science of dentistry category. The latter endowed scholarship was set-up in honor of dean emeritus, Dr. Park, after his 18 years of service as dean, through a campus-wide fundraising effort led by Dr. Thomas Rauth, DDS '73.

“Scholarships make a huge difference financially and the timing in receiving this generous scholarship is optimal. This year I will start applying to residency programs and this award will help offset the costs associated with the application process,” said Joseph.

Joseph plans to pursue orthodontics after he graduates next June, as he enjoys working with children, and especially teenagers and young adults. Another determining factor for choosing this specialty was that he had become involved with research related to orthodontics early on in his dental training. This research dovetailed into his being chosen to represent the dental school at a prestigious student competition hosted by the American Association for Dental Research.

“I’ve had a number of opportunities throughout my training that have opened new doors for my intellectual and professional growth,” said Joseph. “The generosity I’ve received in the form of faculty mentorship and financial support has set off a chain reaction for me to give back in the future.”