Bio science major headed to dental school in Boston

Daniel Mabaet is wearing a big smile on the Dominican campus these days and there is a simple explanation for it.

He has been accepted to Tufts University in Boston for Dental School beginning fall 2014.Daniel Mabaet.jpeg

The biological sciences major from Vallejo credits the sacrifices of his family and the close relationships he developed with faculty and his fellow students, who inspired him with their attitude and approach to their futures. He was greatly influenced by the educational structure and learning environment of this private institution.

“My goal when I entered Dominican was to prove to my peers that students from schools that don't have big names can be just as successful as students who attend larger, prestigious ones,” Mabaet says. “As a freshman, I was in awe of the students here who matriculated into professional/graduate school after graduation. They really inspired me and, more importantly, proved to me that the name of the school has no impact on one’s success. These students were intelligent, team players for their colleagues, and were involved with helping people through community service, research, and other volunteer efforts. They were my role models and I emulated so that one day I would be in their shoes.”

A member of the Tri-Beta Honor Society, Mabaet was intrigued by the laws of thermodynamics and experienced a breakthrough when he participated in research rotation identifying biomarkers in breast cancer cells. He worked closely with Dr. Maggie Louie, associate professor in the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics in the School of Health and Natural Sciences. Mabaet thanks Dr. Louie for shaping him as a student, instilling confidence and understanding the importance of managing time and studying.

“He is very hard working, always putting 110 percent effort into every project,” Dr. Louie says. “I think one of Daniel’s strongest attributes is his never-give-up attitude. He is a very careful listener and rarely makes the same mistake twice.”

Mabaet also credits another mentor, Dr. Gay Lynch, assistant professor of Religion and Philosophy in the School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. She taught an upper-division Religion class, “Myth, Symbol and Ritual,” that had a profound effect on Mabaet and his spirituality.

“In the midst of taking upper division science classes, her class helped me realize my purpose here on Earth,” he says. “Dr. Lynch gave me the opportunity to explore a different realm of science -- the science of faith. She taught her students to live with an open and sincere heart and for that, I know to treat all my future patients with dignity.”

Mabaet realized the value and best practice of a liberal arts education: the ability to put knowledge to use, to resolve problems and implement ideas, to adapt and apply intellectual skills to practical challenges. He will apply that to his profession.

“Dentistry is unique because I see it as a dual-profession combining art and science. Dentists must understand underlying causes of caries, the structure and anatomy of the head, neck, and gingival, the biochemistry systems involved in the mouth, and a plethora of other dental-health related topics,” Mabaet says. “As an art profession, dentists must imagine how they want the tooth to look after prepping it so that it looks aesthetically pleasing but also functional. Not to mention, dentists must be able to adjust teeth so that a patient's smile matches the symmetry of his/her face. The profession is challenging, but I cannot wait to help people live comfortably and establish new friendships with them along the way.”

Mabaet, who knew as a sophomore in high school he wanted to be a dentist after working in a dental office, hopes he can motivate other students the way he was motivated after he arrived at Dominican.

“I will always remember Dominican as a school with a small student population of big personalities. The energy that the students protrude is immense,” he says. “There is never an ordinary day because chances are, someone has something to bring forth to the table and it's almost hard to not naturally gravitate toward it.”