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Dr. Kay Mash, Restorative Sciences

Dr. Lana Mash

Dr. Kay Mash, associate professor

Photo by Steven Doll

“I had some excellent mentors who showed me that the negative way I was sometimes treated as a dental student did not have to be repeated with the next generation of dentists.”


One evening many years ago, Dr. Kay Mash and her husband, Tony Aragona, decided to finish some work on the freshly installed Sheetrock in their home. Considering Aragona is an architect and the two were renovating their first home, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that they took on the home improvement task. What Mash wasn’t expecting was the wide-eyed reactions she got at work the next day.

“Sheetrock compound has a way of drying out your hair, so even though I washed my hair daily, it had a rather wild, frizzy look to it,” recalls Mash, now an associate professor in restorative sciences. “Apparently, Dr. Richard Bradley, BCD’s dean at the time, mentioned it to my chairman, who called me in to say that the dean had discussed the state of my hair.”

The next day in clinic, Mash remembers that Bradley walked past as he often did, stopping along the way to chat with her and a clustering of other faculty members. Mash couldn’t help but interrupt the conversation; the opportunity was just too good to pass up.

“I asked him if I could be excused,” says Mash. “I told him that I had been ordered to take a 15-minute clinic break in the morning and a 15-minute break in the afternoon to go brush my hair. He and I laughed about that for years afterward.”

More than three decades into her career at the college, Mash, who is course director for the preclinical operative lecture and lab, spends her days teaching D1s and D2s and overseeing D3s as a group leader.

“I’ve stayed because I love teaching and the daily interaction with the dental students,” Mash says. “They have only a short time to learn so much.”

To this day, Mash carries with her some poignant lessons learned early on in her teaching days, when she was an assistant professor at the dental school.

“I had some excellent mentors who showed me that the negative way I was sometimes treated as a dental student did not have to be repeated with the next generation of dentists,” says Mash. “It requires virtually no effort at all to treat the vast majority of dental students with respect and kindness.

“However, the most important lesson I’ve learned at Baylor is that it’s the quality of my interactions with that small percentage of students whose personality or learning style doesn’t mesh with my own that will define me as a teacher.”

What you may not know about Mash:

“For the past 10 years I have served as the international judge for a regional dental student competition held at Moscow Medical Academy’s dental school. One unusual aspect of the event, which can probably be attributed to the Soviet era’s historical emphasis on the arts, is that the dental students use this venue to demonstrate their artistic skills by participating in musical and theatrical productions, painting and sculptural exhibits, all related to dentistry.”

Family stats:

“My husband and I recently celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary and will travel this year to the island of Sicily, a favorite destination, to mark the milestone. We have two sons. Our eldest, Capt. Ash Aragona, a graduate of Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health, is a dentist in the U.S. Army, stationed at Fort Lewis, Wash. Our younger son, Andrew, is in his final year of study at the University of Arkansas – Fayetteville.”

Dr. Lana Mash
Mash and her husband, Tony Aragona

Photo courtesy Dr. Kay Mash