Only a few years ago, Scott Martyna came to class on skateboard, sporting high top sneakers and a pink baseball cap worn backwards over his shaggy mane.
“Looking back on it now, I’m sure my profs were thinking, oh, man, who is this kid!” says Martyna, who graduates this month with a doctor of dental medicine (DMD) degree.
To celebrate, Dr. Martyna is heading off to Hawaii for a week with fellow grads. Martyna is also celebrating his acceptance into the prestigious oral and maxillofacial surgery program at the Washington Hospital Center, a renowned health care, research and teaching institution in Washington, D.C.
Martyna was introduced to this field six years ago when he volunteered for a summer at the Children’s Surgical Centre of Cambodia in Phnom Penh. Martyna was invited to scrub up and assist the oral surgery team treating patients including children with cleft lip and cleft palate.
Prior to their operations, the children with these deformities had difficulty eating and speaking, Martyna recalls. “And because of cultural superstition, these kids and even their families were shunned. I saw how rewarding it could be to help children function, feel and look normal.”
Martyna says the years ahead will build upon the discipline, critical thinking and decision-making skills he acquired at UBC. “The UBC program has been great for teaching us how to be very methodical and also open minded.”
Martyna says he’ll greatly miss the Faculty’s annual “Battle of the Bands.” Over beers and much competitive spirit, instructors and students jammed on their instruments and forged close friendships.
“I thought everyone would be bookworms, but I’ve never met a more interesting and diverse group of people. Everyone is so talented,” says Martyna, who enjoys playing guitar and banjo.
Growing up in a tight-knit family, Martyna says his heart is set on eventually returning to B.C. “Both my wife and I are from Kelowna. I grew up working in the cherry orchards. And there’s nothing like summer in the Okanagan, kayaking, biking, wakeboarding and swimming in the lake.”