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Smile Train

Alumna polishes students’ clinical skills

Just as her dental anatomy project was wrapping up, her tooth broke.

The wax model of a tooth that Pam Maragliano-Muniz, D04, had been laboriously constructing had split in two. Seeing her panic and imminent tears, Clinical Professor Anthony Silvestri took her hand reassuringly and said, “Go home. Bring this back to me tomorrow.”

“He easily could have failed me” rather than allowing extra time to finish the project, Maragliano-Muniz recalls. That was the moment she realized just how life-changing a professor could be. “He saw how hard I had worked and how much I had tried. It was really nice to have somebody be supportive,” she says.

Now an associate clinical professor at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine (TUSDM), Maragliano-Muniz puts those lessons into practice teaching a TUSDM second-year class that helps students transition from training to clinic.

“I just love it,” Maragliano-Muniz says of teaching. At her 10-year reunion, she was touched when a former student approached her and brought up things she had taught in clinic years before. To be remembered the way she remembered her own professors was a wonderful experience, she says.

After a three-year prosthodontics residency in California, Maragliano-Muniz was amazed at how quickly she felt right back at home at TUSDM. “The faculty remembered me, which I thought was incredible given the size of our class,” she says. “Because they made me feel like faculty right away, I didn’t have as much of the ‘I can’t believe I’m wearing a green clinical gown’ kind of feeling.”

While at Tufts, Maragliano-Muniz received the Thomas B. Hunt Endowed Scholarship. “It was an honor to be recognized for my hard work,” she says. Because of that financial support, she didn’t have to take out as many loans.

As a faculty member, Maragliano-Muniz hopes to give new students the same transformative experience she had as a dental student—including the mentorship she found in Professor Silvestri. “I truly believe that if I can do for somebody else what the faculty did for me, then I’m really giving back to Tufts,” she says.