Personal Statement

Did you know that the little empty space in letters like “o” is called a “counter”? Most people don’t really think about the small details of how a font is designed, the nuances of molar occlusion, or why a business would choose cost-based over value-based pricing, but the diverse career that led me to dentistry has taught me that the small details matter. Before I entered dental school, I earned a BFA focused on graphic design and an MBA focused on business strategy and innovation management. After a decade of combining design and strategy to help organizations develop new products and services, the details of incremental product development became less interesting to me, and I needed a new challenge. While I researched different industries to enter, I learned that dental care was America’s largest unmet health need. I also learned that a career in dentistry offered many of the aspects I enjoyed in my business and design careers, specifically working with diverse groups of people, learning skills that can be continually developed, and creating tangible products.  After much more research and deliberation, I decided that dentistry provided a unique opportunity to bring the skills I developed outside of the operatory to improve the lives of patients, the community, and the dental industry.

Already, during my time in clinic, I’ve learned that my background can provide some unique benefits. Before starting clinic last summer, The Ohio State Chapter of the American Student Dental Association distributes a clinical guide to the students. After using the guide for a few months I thought that while it was very useful, it hadn’t been updated in years, and was little more than a printed and bound word document. After asking the ASDA president if I could be appointment to a special position to redesign the clinical guide, I got the OK to start the redesign. I was able to coordinate with classmates to develop content that needed to be updated, and then I was able to put my skills to work. From my previous career, I knew that there were some limitations to printing guides because the information that people need can change and printed documents are static. So I redesigned the document to feel more like a contemporary magazine, with more photos than text, and adding QR codes linked to documents and videos that could be easily updated when aspects of the student clinic changed so that students could always have the most up to date information. The new guide was met with great appreciation, and it’s great seeing my work in the hands of students in clinic helping them provide exceptional care every day.

While I get to utilize my skills from previous careers in clinic, my focus has been on developing my dental skills, and I’ve realized that I’ve learned a lot. However, there is so much I still need to learn to provide the best possible care to patients. For example, surgical extractions are a skillset that I don’t get to practice in dental school but know is necessary for optimal patient care. This why I’m looking to attend a general practice residency: to take an additional year to focus on my craft in a faster-paced environment with more complex patients than I get to experience as a student dentist.