Leading Outside the Lab
Close faculty mentorships, transformational experiences on campus and abroad, and the opportunity to take on leadership roles, have all prepared Zan Usmani ’21 to sink his teeth into his next step: a career in dentistry.
- College of Arts & Sciences
Entering Widener University as a biology / pre-dental pathway student in 2017 was an easy choice for Zan Usmani ‘21.
After shadowing a family member who worked for a dentist when Zan was a child, and falling in love with the process of giving someone a new smile, he knew a career in dentistry was for him.
“What really struck me was the patient’s reaction. Seeing how it changed the patient’s confidence really made me want to be able to provide that feeling to someone else in the future,” says Zan.
At Widener, Zan took advantage of all his pre-professional program had to offer. In 2017 and 2018, Zan participated in undergraduate research, teaming up with fellow students under the mentorship of distinguished faculty from Widener’s Department of Biology.
Under the guidance of Professor of Environmental Science and Biology Stephen R. Madigosky, Zan had the opportunity to travel to the Amazon Conservatory of Tropical Studies (ACTS) in northern Peru, to examine ratification of temperatures in the Amazon rainforest.
Being one of a few pre-dental majors on campus has given Zan a close relationship with his professors – giving him support and resources to prepare him for his future. Widener offers pre-professional programs in law, dentistry, and medicine.
“I’ve never felt unsure about what the next steps of dental school were. I always had professors guiding me along my way,” Zan said.
Widener’s faculty provided Zan with consistent advice and preparation materials regarding his applications to dental school. From personal statements, to participating in mock interviews, Zan was confident that his materials would stand out from the crowd.
With a passion for helping others, Zan’s leadership skills went far beyond the realms of the research lab.
As a C.R.E.W leader on campus from 2018-2020, Zan was able to assist in Widener’s First-Year Orientation Program, welcoming first-year students to campus.
“C.R.E.W helped me grow personally and helped my confidence. Leading large groups of people was a transformative experience for me and it felt amazing to help out the first-year students.”
Zan also participated in Widener’s Alternative Spring Break program, allowing him to build homes with Habitat for Humanity.