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Marquette University Alumni Association

School of Dentistry Award Recipients

Young Alumna of the Year Award

Allison Rhodes DowdALLISON RHODES DOWD, D.D.S., DENT '01
Middleton, Wis.

For Allison, finding the right professional fit meant joining a practice that had an established model for taking care of the underserved, which aligns with her priorities of making a difference in her patients’ lives every day.

Says Allison of working at the Children’s Dental Center of Madison: “Not only are my colleagues all great dentists, but they’re great family men. They have found a balance between work, family and faith and have helped guide me as I find mine.”

In addition to her daily professional responsibilities, she teaches pediatric dentistry to the residents of the Meriter Hospital Max Pohle Dental Clinic, delivers care to children in the Dane County Headstart and Give Kids a Smile programs, and treats children whose insurance is limited to Medicaid.

Past roles have included working with the Wisconsin Dental Association Mission of Mercy, serving as a trustee for the Dane County Dental Board and on the WDA Bylaws committee, and lecturing on behalf of the WDA and Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin.

“Every extracurricular dental organization that we work with contributes to society in different ways,” says Allison, who, during her free time, is working toward her black belt in karate. “Starting at Marquette, then through my residency in Colorado and, finally, in my private practice, I have been fortunate enough to have been surrounded by dentists who do the right thing — in their professional and personal lives. I just try to do what I know the best that I know how.”

Fun Facts

Your hometown: West Allis, Wis.

Your favorite book or favorite quote: “The face of a child says it all, especially the mouth part.” — Jack Handy

Name someone (past or present) with whom you'd like to have dinner: "I would give anything to have dinner with my dear friend and colleague Erin Lovell, Dent ’01. She passed away from cancer last year."

Marquette faculty or staff member who had an impact on you, and how: "Dr. Tony Ziebert was a big part of my dental education. He was there for preclinical and clinical education. He was a tough teacher, but I definitely learned from him. I think the politically correct term for his teaching is tough love. I remember telling him that I wanted to go into pediatrics, and he said, 'You know, Allison, to be a pediatric dentist, you have to work on children, not be one.' To this day, I still think that was actually a compliment. I think one of my gifts in life is that I will always be a kid at heart."

What is one of your favorite Marquette memories? "I wouldn’t say favorite, but maybe longest-lasting memory — gross anatomy lab. In one lab session midway through the semester, some of our classmates switched our cadaver with a classmate in a body bag. When we went to open the bag one day, it sat up! I think that experience took a year off my life."

When you were in grade school, what did you want to be when you grew up, and why? "I wanted to be a jockey. I think every little girl grows up loving horses, and being a jockey sounded like a great way to ride horses and get paid for it. Seeing as how I am allergic to them and am almost 5 foot 9, that didn’t work out so well."

Who is your Marquette legacy? "My grandfather, Vandeline Kosmatka, and his brother-in-law, Adolf Popovich, both graduated from the College of Engineering in 1933."

Who has been the most influential person in your life, and why? My parents. They have supported me throughout the years, both financially and emotionally. They made sacrifices in their lives to help me succeed. I may be all grown up with children of my own, but I still call them all the time for advice. I feel I will never be able to pay them back for what they have done for me."