Scroll to top

From Foundation in Science to Dentistry at IMU: Steadfast, I Shall Remain

28 Feb 2024

My name is Dennis Chong Ming Jian and I am a Dental student at the International Medical University (IMU), working towards being “your friendly neighbourhood dentist”. Since the age of 7, my dream is to be a dentist who serves the community. Throughout my growing years, I had many issues with my teeth that necessitated frequent visits to my family dentist, who became my inspiration. He inspired me to be a dentist who is sincere in relieving people’s pain and giving them a healthy smile that will last their lifetime. I experienced first-hand that a dentist doesn’t just treat one’s teeth, a dentist treats the mind as well: giving people a renewed sense of hope and confidence in how they feel about themselves and to live a healthier life.


As I grew up, I have personally witnessed the dire need for both affordable and quality dental care in our community. From my experience in community service with Kechara Soup Kitchen to my shadowing experience with my family dentist and even in my own family, I have seen people who refuse to have their teeth treated due to the high costs of dental treatments and ultimately take a toll in their own overall health. I am resolute in standing in the gap for the needy and making dental treatments universally accessible to all.


With this childhood passion of mine, I dedicated my life to working hard towards achieving the best results in order to make my dream to being a dentist a reality. However, that dream took a substantial blow when I lacked only one A+ in my SPM examinations that saw my chance in attaining a full scholarship slip off my hands. You see, I come from a low-income family who have endured many financial challenges and we simply couldn’t afford the high tuition fees in Dentistry.

Therefore, I am humbled to be awarded the IMU-Need scholarship for Bachelor of Dental Surgery that has given me the financial assistance I need to unlock my potential to being an ambassador for IMU that is committed in making a difference in my community, starting with their oral health.

My first encounter with IMU was when I was still in secondary school (SMK Aminuddin Baki, KL), where I participated in a lab report competition held in conjunction with IMU Biomedical Science Week. Although it was an online event, the activity opened my eyes to the vast and fascinating world of bacteriology. I learnt a lot from the activity but what truly stood out was the commitment of the IMU students in organising the virtual event and making it a success despite the restrictions the pandemic brought. I recall Prof Chin Beek Yoke encouraging us to stay curious and to dive deeper into the limitless frontier of scientific exploration in her speech during the closing ceremony.


After graduating from secondary school, I started seeking pre-university programmes that would lead me to Dentistry. I attended the Higher Education Fair in Mid Valley Exhibition Centre to explore my options and based on positive testimonies from family and friends, as well as my pleasant initial encounter with IMU, I made a visit to the IMU booth. During my visit, I learnt that the Bachelor of Dental Surgery in IMU is one of the best in the nation as it is led by faculty members with extensive years of experience and it focuses on early clinical exposure, which is necessary to raise patient-centred dentists. Admissions Department was also very professional in advising me on my degree pathway with IMU and thus, I enrolled into the Foundation in Science (FiS) programme in IMU during the FS322 intake.


As IMU has been at the forefront in pioneering the nation’s healthcare education for over 30 years, the FiS curriculum is specialised for aspiring students in the healthcare sector, encompassing all the crucial topics (Biology, Chemistry, Biosciences, etc.) that would lay a strong foundation when progressing to the undergraduate level later on. The 1-year programme does not just focus on the academic side but also nurtures students to be socially responsible, through modules like Thinking Skills and Cross-Boundary Studies.


FiS was not exactly something I could take like a duck to water. Memorising and understanding the heavy topics taught required much time and effort but I am truly grateful for having the best lecturers, without whom I could not have achieved what I have. I remember vividly how all my lecturers would be more than willing to stay back after lectures or tutorials to clear all the doubts my friends and I had. When I asked them questions through Microsoft Teams, they were very prompt in responding to my queries and ensuring that I truly understood the concepts. Furthermore, I had the privilege of being surrounded with friends that were both fun-loving and studious, with whom I shared many precious memories.

In IMU, I was able to enhance my leadership skills by leading PBL and workshop sessions, which were challenging yet rewarding. In line with my curiosity in the world of science, I participated and won 6th place in the IMU Science Discovery Challenge Grand Final, outperforming 1680 participants from other leading universities / colleges in Malaysia. I also took part in the organising committee for Asian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) IMU First Aid Workshop as a facilitator to share my knowledge on first aid with other university students. Looking back, IMU has definitely given me many opportunities to grow and be the best that I can be.

I want to also express my heartfelt gratitude to all the people who have guided me through every step of my journey: my dedicated lecturers (Ms Saraswathy, Ms Shirley, Mr Chuah, Mr Alan, Ms Kanagamalar, Ms Chow Kit May, Ms Azlina, Ms Noraishah, Ms Siti, Ms Jessica, Ms Tung, Ms Maisarah, Dr James, Mr Liow, Ms Cheryl, Ms Sharmini, Ms Sharon, Mr Parkash, Ms Raja, Ms Shalini, Ms Pei Ling), supportive IMU staff (Ms Ella, Ms May Kuan, Ms Radziah, Mr Hakimi, Ms Lily and Mr Paramjit), my friends and most importantly, my parents and my twin brother.

I am looking forward to embarking in my new chapter in Dentistry with IMU but I know that this journey will be filled with its own challenges as well. Nonetheless, I also know that I will stand steadfast in this quest to realise my lifelong aspiration in serving the community as a dentist, and so can you! Do not give up on your dreams and remain steadfast when all hope seems lost…because miracles will happen!

Leave Comment

Your email address will not be published.