Andrew Hanna came to Rutgers–New Brunswick in search of his passion. Luckily for the public health major he discovered two.
An aspiring dentist, Hanna’s two loves – dentistry and humanitarian work – led him to Nicaragua last summer, where he spent a week providing medical and dental care in underprivileged areas with Rutgers Global Brigades.
“I love doing humanitarian work,” Hanna said. “Service is something I’m super interested in which is why I decided to do Rutgers Global Brigades – I wanted to tie in all my service work to my passion for dentistry. Hopefully one day down the line I’ll be able to reciprocate my privilege by providing humanitarian aid to those underprivileged. It’s my dream to start or to work with another organization that provides subsidized or free dental care in parts of Africa.”
Hanna, an Honors College student, has given back since his first days at Rutgers. Along with his Nicaragua trip, the pre-dentistry student has also participated in Rutgers Alternative Breaks, an organization that allows students to travel during winter or spring break to tackle a specific social issue.
Hanna’s experiences assisting communities in Washington D.C. with hunger and homelessness and citizens of Texas with food insecurity, have opened his eyes to the difference he can make.
“I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve learned a lot about service,” Hanna said.
In order to accomplish his goals of becoming a dentist and helping those around the world, Hanna knows he first must master his ability. As vice president of the Pre-Dental Society, Hanna helps organize activities and workshops for dental students to perfect what he describes as “art.”
“We do a lot of things. Something that’s emphasized more in dentistry than in medicine is the need for manual dexterity and spatial intelligence, which is basically just working with your hands and being able to be an artist,” Hanna said. “Everything from soap carving to bigger art projects help our members work on their manual dexterity skills and improve their hand-eye coordination. We cater to our audience and focus a lot of our work on building well-rounded students”
Hanna is quick to credit the Honors College experience, an academic environment that he recognizes as unique and fulfilling in many ways.
“I’m extremely grateful for having the opportunity to live in the Honors College,” Hanna said. “A big mantra of mine is ‘surround yourself with success,’ and I think the Honors College allowed me to do just that because I was surrounded by so many academically driven students who ended up becoming my best friends.”
For now, Hanna will focus on his studies and likely plan more service trips in the future. He’s confident the passions he discovered here at Rutgers will allow him to truly impact the world.
“Dentistry is something I discovered along the way and definitely something Rutgers helped me discover,” Hanna said. “I don’t know if I would be a pre-dental student now and discovered my passion had I gone to another university.”
FULL SOURCE: Rutgers Undergraduate Admissions | admissions.rutgers.edu/stories/andrew-h-new-brunswick