Three women in white coats pose for a photo
From left, Nancy Young, DMD, dean of the Dental College of Georgia; Juliann Marmal; and Annette Rainge, DMD, president of the Georgia Dental Association

Stepping out of her comfort zone leads DCG student to national editorial board

For Dental College of Georgia student Juliann Marmal, her path to the dental field has taken a few detours along the way.

Marmal, who is from the Augusta area and attended Lakeside High School, was first introduced to the dental field by her Sunday school teacher and shadowed some residents during her senior year in high school. Afterward, she got away from the field and did her undergraduate work at the University of Georgia.

That’s where she found public health, and that became what she called her heart and soul. She graduated from UGA with a public health degree and decided to get her master’s in biomedical science. Now, after all that, she’s come full circle and is a second-year DCG student.

“I feel like once you do one big jump outside your comfort zone, you can make any move,” she said. “Something I learned from one of my public health professors as an undergrad was, if it makes you uncomfortable, then good. Do it.” 

Juliann Marmal

Marmal was recently accepted to the editorial board of the American Student Dental Association, and she said her background in public health helped her land that position. Having been involved in the DCG magazine and with the encouragement of Roslyn Joseph, a classmate and friend, she decided to get involved with the ASDA. Now her work will be seen on a bigger stage.

“I was really missing out on my public health degree, and I feel like with writing, research and getting other people’s stories, it gives you an avenue to tackle topics that are relevant to oral health, but also to health care in general,” said Marmal.

She’ll be working with other students nationwide and collaborating for a monthly national publication. The position also allows her to better network with others from across the country.

“Roslyn, when she pushed me for this, said, ‘Do this because you will have so many connections. Maximize your connections. Not only will it help you there, but it will help in your writing as well because you have other people you can reach out to and collaborate with.’ That’s what I’m most excited about – meeting and working with other dental students across the United States,” she said.

With two years left in dental school, Marmal is keeping all her options open. She hasn’t nailed down a specialty yet or whether she’ll work in a private practice or non-profit practice. Her love of helping patients with oral care has become a priority.

She really likes working in the community and, even if she is involved in a private practice, would still like to be able to commit a good amount of her efforts to the community, having seen the importance of dental care through her studies at DCG and UGA.   

Marmal has never shied away from taking chances. It’s a point that was instilled on her by Katie Hein, PhD, a professor at UGA. It was suggested she step out of her comfort zone, and that is a challenge she continues to do today.

“I feel like once you do one big jump outside your comfort zone, you can make any move,” she said. “Something I learned from one of my public health professors as an undergrad was if it makes you uncomfortable, then good. Do it.” 

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Written by
Kevin Faigle

Kevin Faigle is Media Relations Specialist at Augusta University. Contact him to schedule an interview on this topic or with one of our experts at

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Avatar photo Written by Kevin Faigle

Jagwire is your source for news and stories from Augusta University. Daily updates highlight the many ways students, faculty, staff, researchers and clinicians "bring their A games" in classrooms and clinics on four campuses in Augusta and locations across the state of Georgia.

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