Scholarship Support: Michelle Piasecki

Posted on: Thursday, 06/27/2019

Michelle Piasecki
Ralph & Shirley Shapiro Scholarship 
David & Miki Lee Scholarship

AFTER A NUMBER OF YEARS OF WORKING in the demanding New York film industry, Michelle Piasecki decided she needed a career change. She still enjoyed the collaborative nature of working with a team to keep the cameras running, but wanted to spend her time making more of a direct impact on people’s well-being. It was a trip to the dentist for an extraction and an implant that made her think that health care, more specifically dentistry, might be the profession she desired.

In 2013, Michelle left the film industry to prepare herself to become a viable dental school applicant. After completing the necessary requirements and applying to dental school, she found herself moving to Los Angeles to join her future colleagues at the UCLA School of Dentistry. Since then, she has immersed herself in dental school life and has served as a resourceful leader among her colleagues as well as a mentor to incoming dental students. 

Michelle also became involved in digital dentistry and was instrumental in creating a new selective course on the subject. “There are a lot of amazing advances happening in dentistry right now and I would like to remain ahead of the curve when it comes to this transition,” she said. “We are able to interact with the new equipment that will eventually be instrumental in practicing dentistry.”

All of her hard work and passion for leadership has paid off. Last year she received the Ralph and Shirley Shapiro Scholarship and this year she received the David and Miki Lee Scholarship; both awards seek to recognize a student who has exhibited academic excellence and leadership qualities. 

“The financial assistance that scholarships give really makes a difference. It is no secret that the UCLA School of Dentistry has a rigorous environment and succeeding here requires a lot of effort,” Michelle said. “Feeling support from donors and alumni feels like an acknowledgment of all of that hard work.”

Michelle plans to pursue an AEGD or GPR certificate after she graduates next June, and following that program she’d like to pursue a career in maxillofacial prosthodontics. “Maxillofacial prosthodontics is the discipline that allows you to have the biggest positive impact on a patient’s quality of life,” said Michelle. “The ability to treat a population that doesn’t feel comfortable going outside, and who may not be able to eat or drink comfortably without a prosthesis, really inspires me.”