Chair, WDA Communications Committee (Committee member since 2018)
1. You are starting your first year as Chair of the WDA Communications Committee. What are you most looking forward to in this new role?
It’s an honor to represent my peers and colleagues and serve in the capacity as Chair of the Communications Committee. I most look forward to connecting with more members in the WDA at the local and state levels and collaborating on ways to improve our membership communications. I feel this calling and responsibility is one that will not only help me grow as a young dentist, but will facilitate an avenue to help other dentists, seasoned or fresh-out-of-dental school, feel a sense of community within our organization through open, non-judgmental conversations about our profession and those we serve.
2. Who/what has inspired you in your career?
The amazing thing about being where I am today as a dentist is I could not have done it by myself and I credit a lot of who I am as a dentist to many of my mentors, classmates, and colleagues. It’s difficult to name a certain someone or a specific event that single-handedly inspired me in my journey as a dentist because there are so many. Though I will say, watching my dental school friends and classmates grow as dentists, grow as spouses, grow as parents and grow as leaders, inspire me to be greater in all aspects of life, including dentistry.
3. What has been the greatest challenge in your career?
The greatest challenge of my career has been managing expectations for myself. Even while in dental school I was my own worst critic. “Good” was never enough and I’m sure many faculty at Marquette will attest to that character challenge of mine. I felt there was always something I could do better to a filling, a wax up, or the way I managed patients. At the end of the day, sometimes “good is good enough” and I am doing my best to manage that and not let the expectation of “perfection” affect my performance.
4. What’s been the most memorable moment?
Dental school was the most memorable moment. The good, the not so good, the happy, and sad times. All of it. A moment that may have solidified some of my classmates in the “Marquette Dental School Historic Shrine” was when we decided to recreate a photo in the hallway between the Oral Surgery Department and Clinic B at Marquette Dental School. In the photo, a few classmates and I were studiously examining a typodont another classmate was holding, who pretended to be a professor. We printed the photo and over Christmas Break we swapped it with another photo already in the hallway. For the longest time, no one noticed it. Then, all of a sudden, EVERYONE noticed it. I believe it is still up in the hallway with the other photos of Marquette Dental School’s past.
5. How do you spend your free time?I spend my free time with my beautiful fiancée and our two dogs. We love working out together in our home gym we built over the pandemic. We love cooking together and doing a lot of home projects. We’ve been spending most of our free time the past year planning our wedding and getting everything organized for our big day.
6. What would be your dream job if you weren’t a dentist?
I’ve had many “dream jobs” in the past and it seems to change depending on my current interests. If I wasn’t a dentist today, I’d be an architect by day and a gym owner by night. I’ve always had an interest in drafting and designing cool and functional house plan designs. I always enjoyed going to open houses and getting inspiration from them. I am also obsessed with working out and CrossFit and built my home gym this past year. It would be cool to be a personal trainer at a gym I owned.
7. What advice would you give to new graduate dentists?
“Stay curious, be inspired, never settle.” Dentistry is a profession that is always evolving – new materials, new treatments, new methods of doing certain procedures. Staying current and updated with your continuing education will help you grow as a dentist. I would encourage new graduates to also find their “why.” Why did you choose this career? Why do you get up every morning? Those answers will motivate you and help you find your purpose every day. The moment you become complacent in life and in your career is when you need to find a jumpstart to get you moving forward again.
8. What are your hopes for the future of dentistry?
I hope dentistry becomes one of the leaders in medical science innovation, technology, and public health services. I hope our advocacy efforts as a dental community can help bring access to care to those underserved while also helping dentists run a successful business. I also hope dental school education becomes less of a financial burden for students with rising student loan debt. These are all hopes and we can continue to chip away at these hopes and dreams until they become realities.