Why do you want to become a dentist?
I want to become a dentist because it will give me an opportunity to provide not only treatment but also education to my patients. I think a major cause of the oral health disparity in West Virginia is due to a lack of education surrounding oral healthcare and prevention techniques. As a dentist, my hope is to alleviate some of the mistrust and anxiety that comes with going to the dentist and create trusting and supportive relationships with my patients.
What was it about West Virginia University that was the right choice/why WVU?
WVU’s School of Dentistry prides itself on creating a learning environment that addresses the present and future oral health needs for the citizens of West Virginia, which is something I feel very strongly about, so it was a perfect match. Attending school in-state also allows me to see my family more often than I would be able to if I attended school out of state, which is important to me.
Tell me about your experiences here.
As a first-year dental student, I don’t yet see patients, so I spent the majority of my time in lectures, pre-clinic simulation labs and studying around the Health Sciences Center. I have been very fortunate to find a group of wonderful friends that are a great support system. With the rigorous course load that we carry, there is no way that we could make it without each other.
What's next for you after your degree?
After I get my DDS degree, I plan on returning to southern West Virginia to practice and to try and make a difference in people’s lives.
What was it about dentistry that got you excited?
Dentistry excites me because it is a career that will allow me to keep learning and improving throughout my lifetime. With all the new and improving technology and techniques, there will always be something new to learn and master. I also really love getting to interact with the public and share something with them that I am passionate about. Knowing that I have the capabilities of improving their overall health and wellbeing is very rewarding.
Was there a particular moment you thought 'This is absolutely the right career for me.'
I remember when I was in the second grade, my class took a field trip to my local orthodontist and family friend’s office. As we moved the chairs, played with the air/water syringes and tried on all the gloves and masks, I thought I’d like to be a dentist and planned my life accordingly. From that point on, everything that I did in school, such as taking more challenging classes, keeping a high GPA, shadowing and volunteering, all revolved around the hopes of eventually going to dental school. I guess this has truly been a lifelong goal of mine.
Did you participate in any clubs or groups at WVU?
I am the co-fundraising chair for my class and the community service chair for West Virginia’s Academy of General Dentistry. I am also a member of the dental fraternity Delta Sigma Delta, the American Student Dental Association, and WVU’s Pediatric Dentistry Club.
Looking back, would you have done anything differently?
Looking back, the only thing I would change about my experience so far is that I would have become more involved in my first semester, and made a greater effort to get to know my professors early on. Professors are truly always there for their students and want to help them learn as much as possible.
How has your time at WVU shaped you?
My time at WVU has made me more socially aware, which I think will make me a better dentist. We have a diverse class, faculty and patient base, so I feel like I am more aware of other people’s perspectives, health beliefs and customs because of that.
I will always remember _____________ while at WVU.
I will always remember how fortunate I was to have professors that were so invested in our success and competency as health care providers while at WVU.
I would tell my freshman self _____________.
I would tell my freshman self to relax and trust that studying hard and doing the best that you can do is enough.
My degree will allow me to _____________.
My degree will ultimately allow me to alleviate people’s pain, boost their self-confidence by improving their smile and improve their oral health and overall wellbeing.