A passion for science has led Dr Victoria Tamara Perchyonok into a fulfilling and ever-evolving career.
Dr Victoria Tamara Perchyonok has a long association with the University of Melbourne, having completed a science degree and a PhD before returning to study oral health.
Today, as an oral health therapist with Mobile Dental Clinics Australia (MDCA), she helps vulnerable Australians achieve better oral health.
Why the University of Melbourne?
After arriving in Australia in the middle of Year 11 and completing my VCE in a new country with a new language, the natural progression was to study at university.
My father wanted his children to study at the University of Melbourne as the most prestigious university in Australia. That made the decision pretty easy, and I am really proud I was able to achieve it.
I believe the University of Melbourne gave me a lot of opportunities to achieve many of my dreams and create new ones.
What motivated you during your studies?
I consider myself quite a motivated person, but I think that having great academic staff and mentors at each stage of my journey through the University, newly made friends who later become colleagues and numerous opportunities throughout my academic journey motivated me to try and achieve my absolute best.
Tell us more about your journey to your current role.
I have been a student at the University of Melbourne across different schools at different stages of my life. I completed my science degree with honours, as well as my Doctor of Philosophy (majoring in chemistry) and had a successful science career which led me to work in some amazing place in Australia and Europe.
In 2015, I returned to the University of Melbourne to complete Bachelor of Oral Health and started a new profession as an oral health therapist, delivering evidence-based oral health care to children and adults.
While the field is different, the skills, training and passion which led me in my science career are directly relevant and useful in my career now as oral health therapist. Being able to help people every day makes my career very rewarding. Since graduation I have become a passionate advocate for bringing dental care to anyone in need.
What are some career highlights so far?
There have been many proud moments in my long career, but the highlight is being able to help elderly and vulnerable people improve their oral health with the amazing Melbourne-based mobile dental health care provider, Mobile Dental Clinics Australia (MDCA).
I do not think there is another job in the world where you can be called an angel and thanked by a 103-year-old patient you have helped. It is very special.
What does a normal day at work look like for you?
No day is the same as part of the mobile dental health provider. We travel to provide oral health care in aged care facilities, homes and schools as well as mentoring new graduates and working on innovative ways to improve oral health outcomes.
When I am not seeing patients, I continue my scientific career and this is the whole another area of my passion and expertise.
What advice do you have for current students?
Be the best you can be. There is no limit to what you can achieve – you just need a dream, supportive people around you and lots of hard work.