Bendigo Dentistry student wins the 2021 ANZSPD Undergraduate Essay Competition

We catch up with Bendigo Dentistry student Megan Khaw about winning the Louise Brearley Messer Essay Competition, and what inspired her to study Dentistry with the La Trobe Rural Health School.

Here at the La Trobe Rural Health School we could not be prouder of Megan Khaw.  Not just because she was this year’s winner of the annual ANZSPD Undergraduate Essay Competition* in 2021, but because her attitude and approach to her career as a Dentistry graduate is nothing short of inspirational.

We caught up with her earlier this month.

Let’s start with a bit of background.  Why did choose to undertake your course: Bachelor of Health Sciences in Dentistry/Master of Dentistry?

For work experience during high school, I had the opportunity to shadow my family dentist, who gave me a great insight into dentistry. It made me realise that being a dentist can be so rewarding when you are in a position to build trusting relationships and meaningful connections with your patients.

What inspired you to enter the competition?

I was granted the opportunity to enter the competition through a literature review for my final year research project. Professor Hanny Calache, the Academic Lead of Paediatric Dentistry, was my supervisor for this competition. Professor Calache has such a wealth of knowledge and experience across academia and clinical dentistry, and a strong passion for teaching and giving back to the community. I feel fortunate and grateful for all his support and guidance.

Tell me, what was your most memorable experience during your course?

During the rotations for clinical placement, I had a lot of fun exploring different parts of regional Victoria including Bendigo, Ballarat, Ararat and surrounding areas like the Grampians, Warrnambool and Horsham whilst forging unforgettable friendships along the way.

What are your career aspirations now that you have graduated?

I look forward to exploring various areas of dentistry through more hands-on exposure. This will then facilitate any opportunities for potential advancement into specific or emerging fields of dentistry, enabling me to continue giving back to the wider community.

I feel privileged to have been a part of La Trobe; it has encouraged me to stay committed to a life-long journey of learning and professional development, especially in this constantly evolving field.

*The  Professor Louise Brearley Messer Undergraduate Essay Competition is an annual competition  run by the Australian & New Zealand Society of Paediatric Dentistry (Inc) (ANZSPD)

Learn more about studying to become a dentist HERE.

Media contact: Julia Henery,