In 2009 when I came to Gonzaga, I felt that the odds were against me. But soon the welcoming atmosphere helped me feel at ease and the fact that my advisor, Dr. Jeff Cronk of the Chemistry Department, believed in me so much was really inspiring. After finding study partners and meeting friends with similar goals, I felt that my dream of becoming an orthodontist wasn’t out of reach. I found that professors were readily available and they never made me feel bad for having questions. I think that by not being afraid to set my sights high and by asking questions, I was able to succeed.
Most importantly, following my passions was vital to my accomplishments. I love science and asking questions, which is why I pursued a B.S. in Biology, even though I knew it was an all-too-common major for a dental school applicant. I did not have a lot of time for research, so I didn’t force myself to do research in my spare time, even though I’d heard it would help me get accepted to dental school. Instead, I found myself volunteering for the Children’s Miracle Network, Rebuilding Together and SMILE, an elementary school mentoring program at Gonzaga. I was also a TA for CHEM 240L and tutored high school students, which I found very rewarding. In addition, I needed scholarships to pay for my education, so I competed in Miss America Organization (MAO) pageants, which paid for $18,000 of my tuition at GU. This helped immensely with interview skills as well! Without the help of MAO and the GU Career Center for interview experience, it’s unlikely that I’d be attending HSDM in August. Plus, when I had my interviews, I was able to talk about activities I really loved rather than activities that were placed on a resume to simply look good.
Above all, I’m thankful to Gonzaga for being the vehicle that allowed me to achieve my goal of attending Harvard School of Dental Medicine. The school accepts 35 DMD students each year and I believe that the well-rounded, holistic education I received helped me stand out. Jesuit educations are well-respected and well-rounded. The study abroad program at GU, too, helped me stand out and grow as a person. I studied abroad in Chimfunshi, Zambia and Turkey for a total of two months. My experiences on these excursions changed my perspective on the needs of the world and humanity in general. Studying abroad is a transformative experience and I feel GU does its students a great service by offering so many educational opportunities that nurture holistically. Gonzaga allows its students to simultaneously pursue their dreams, help others, see the world, and grow as individuals. GO ZAGS!
Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM), Boston, Massachusetts
Class of 2013 - B.S. in Biology (Hogan Entrepreneurial Leadership Program for first two years)