Oral Health Month

In celebration of Oral Health Month, we are proud to highlight some of our amazing alumni as part of a special “in conversation with” feature to learn more about their time at UBC Dentistry and where they are today! Our fourth connection is with Shivalika Katyal, who graduated from the Bachelor of Dental Science program in 2019 and Master of Science in Craniofacial Science in 2022.

Can you walk us through your career journey?

I have an undergraduate degree in mathematics from the University of Calgary. After my degree, I took some time off and worked in an optometry clinic. It’s funny, I’ve wanted to be in the dental field since I was two years old, but veered off that path. Once I was working in health care, I decided to revisit my passion for dentistry and applied to the UBC Bachelor of Dental Science program in 2015. After graduating, I went right into my Master of Science in craniofacial science.

Tell us a bit about your current work.

After finishing my degree, I worked as a clinical dental hygienist for a few years. By virtue of my Masters, I’ve worked part-time as a dental hygiene instructor at UBC. In spring of 2021, I began my role as a dental hygiene advisor with the regulatory body, now known as the British Columbia College of Oral Health Professionals. The College regulates six oral health professions in British Columbia, and my role involves reviewing policies across various scopes of practice and assisting dental hygienists across the province with inquiries.

What do you love most about the work you do?

As an instructor, I love being able to translate knowledge to students and see the light bulbs go off when it clicks for them. Bringing theory and practical skills together is such an exhilarating feeling.

As a dental hygiene advisor with the College, I appreciate the opportunity to work with registrants by providing them information and support.

Where was your favourite place to study at UBC?

The conference rooms inside the dental buildings are where I would study the most. Otherwise, I would study near the fountain across the street.

What advice would you give to students currently in the Dental Hygiene program?

I like to remind my students that as long as they’re doing their best, they will succeed. It may not be in the way they’re expecting, but they will get to the finish line.

How has UBC Faculty of Dentistry shaped where you are today?

I would not be where I am today without the Faculty’s support. I made numerous connections, and in fact, it was one of my professors who encouraged me to do a Masters. We often don’t see the potential in ourselves, but the Faculty want us to succeed so they help foster and nurture each student’s skills.

What’s your idea of a perfect Sunday afternoon?

Playing cricket! I’m originally from Calgary and have played for both the Calgary and Alberta women’s teams. It’s my biggest passion.