The Operatic Dentist
Alaina Edelmuth, of LCW, is a singer and a future dentist
A multitalented graduate of Lander College for Women is on her way to becoming one of the first graduates of Touro College of Dental Medicine at New York Medical College.
As an accomplished high school student, Alaina Edelmuth (’15) wasn’t short of options on where she could go to college. She was a classically trained opera singer and a dedicated student at Bais Yaakov High School of Chicago. Working with an anesthesiologist, she had received a grant to study retinal ischemia, a condition that causes permanent blindness in approximately one in a thousand patient following prone back surgeries. After two years at a Midreshet Shmuel in Israel, Edelmuth decided Lander College for Women (LCW) was right for her.
“I wanted a place where I could get a good education but still be in a Jewish environment,” she recalled.
The decision paid off.
“I really liked everything about it,” Edelmuth explained about her time at LCW. She took full advantage of the opportunities offered: she served as co-president of the honors program and as a Resident Advisor in student housing (or the Student Residence) for two years. LCW’s small class sizes were also a boon. “I got the most personalized undergraduate educations you can find,” she added.
During her summers, Edelmuth continued her medical research, working with a neurobiologist at the University of Chicago. She managed to complete her BA in six semesters and credited the help she received from Dr. Tova Werblowsky, chair of LCW’s Chemistry and Physics department, with helping her finish.
As for her career, Edelmuth wasn’t sure what her next step would be. In the summer before she started at LCW, she had attained a pharmacy technician license, but didn’t think the work was for her. The summer between her first and second year at LCW, she worked as a medical assistant at a neuroscience center that developed experimental drugs for intractable neurological and psychological disorders. And then, in her last summer between semesters at LCW, Edelmuth shadowed a nurse anesthetist who gave outpatient anesthesia for general dentists, pediatric dentists, periodontists, endodontists and some oral surgeons.
“I really loved it,” Edelmuth said. “It was the perfect combo of evidence-based medicine, science, art, business and all for the sake of healing and helping others. I decided to dedicate the rest of my life to a career in dental medicine.”
After she graduated from LCW with a degree in biology, Edelmuth got a job as a surgical dental assistant and applied to dental school. She reached out to her mentor Dr. Werblowsky for help in the application process.
“She was there when I didn’t know what I was doing and helped me decide what in the end I really wanted to do,” Edelmuth said.
Edelmuth was accepted into Touro’s Dental school and is scheduled to be part of its first graduating class in 2020.
“I got into a couple of school but I wanted to be in a place where I wouldn’t have to fight to be Jewish,” she said. “The whole campus is kosher. Thanks to a generous donor, the school just erected an eruv.”
Her experience at LCW helped her along the way.
“I was able to maintain a level of yiddishkeit that might not have been possible in another environment and I’m eternally grateful,” she said.