What does Dentistry mean to you?
Working in the field of dentistry requires hardworking dedicated individuals that have good communication and teamwork skills. Therefore, to me Dentistry means giving patients a sense of acceptance about their teeth while also giving them some guidance about how to better care for them. It has come to my realization that many patients view dentist as only helping to maintain good oral health. However, in my eyes this is not the case. Dentistry can make a difference to one’s life. I see many people around the world who were once insecure about their smile, but with the help of specialist in dentistry they have gained a sense of belonging. Not only can dentists fix a smile, but they also are genuine individuals. I have noticed every time I go to the dentist, they are eager to start a conversation and build a bond with me, that is what a dentist should strive to do. Not only does working in the field of dentistry acquires having good technique skills, but they also have the desired interpersonal skills as well.
Why did you choose the profession of Dentistry?
Since I was 13 years old, I have developed a passion to start a career in dentistry. I remember sitting in an orthodontist office where I was waiting to get braces and after leaving, I knew that this profession would be something I was interested in. While experiencing the friendly environment and outstanding service I was intrigued by the progress of my teeth. Ever since then I began to love going to the orthodontist every time I had an appointment. I was very amazed at how the end results came out to be after my braces were removed. It made me realize how much of a great impact that dentistry can have on changing one’s life. It changed my life, and I can firmly say I love my smile. Pursuing a career in dentistry will allow me to make this same change in others.
Also, I discovered that my uncle was an oral surgeon, so I started shadowing at his office. While I was there, I became more interested in the field of dentistry. After seeing him and other specialists great work ethics and such advanced skills, I became eager to want to do the same. As a result, I started an internship at his office where I helped clean and prepare dental trays, comfort patients, and examine procedures. I enjoyed this experience, and I knew then that working in the field of dentistry is something I wanted to make a career out of.
What would you bring to the field?
There are various of traits that I possess which reflects the ideal dentist. The field of dentistry involves hardworking, caring, and talented individuals. I believe these qualities is a good way to describe who I am. All my years I attended school I have showed that I was a hardworking dedicated individual. I have been motived to never give up even when times are hard, which I feel is an important aspect in dentistry. I have also maintained a positive attitude and caring demeanor while growing up. I feel as though that this can make a huge difference while pursuing a career in the field of dentistry. In this field it is important that one has a positive attitude going in because being unmotivated only makes things worse. Also, I have developed effective leadership skills and communication skills that I am able to bring into this field. Being able to mentor a group of high school students has made me into the leader that I am today. With this being said, I am eager to show these qualities while pursuing a career in dentistry.
What are your strengths and weaknesses and how are you planning on using them to matriculate the rigors of dental school?
I have many strengths and weaknesses that I can identify within myself. Some weaknesses that I have would be that sometimes I am too hard on myself and often find myself being too nice. I feel as though being too nice to people can cause a lot of people to run over you, especially while acquiring a big position such as a manager or boss. I also believe that there is still room for me to improve in my communication skills. I can come off very shy at times and it is important that one knows how to communicate effectively when it comes to the working. However, some strengths that I can conclude about myself would be that I am dedicated, trustworthy, respectful, and a team player. I also have a lot of patience when it comes to arduous situations. I often see a lot of people struggle with having patience in which it is not that easy to obtain. I would use these strengths and weakness to matriculate the rigors of dental school by being motivated and not giving up throughout my journey in dental school. I will also be reliable when it comes to certain task in assignments. Being able to work well with others and be open to new ideas is something that I do best so I am eager to apply this in dental school. Also having a positive attitude and being respectful will allow me to get through rigorous times. My patience will also allow me to do so as well, based on how competitive dental school is. I want to develop effective communication skills all throughout dental school because it will allow a successful journey that isn’t very difficult. In addition, I won’t go as hard on myself because it would only make things go by slower and make my path extremely difficult.
How would this scholarship help you reach your goal of becoming a Dentist?
After experiencing 4 years as an undergraduate in college I have been through a lot of financial crises. Not receiving as many scholarships and having to apply for numerous of student loans has negatively impacted me. In addition, dental schools require countless amounts of debts which consist of paying for application fees, tuition, and registering for the DAT. Thinking about all those horrendous payments can be dreadful for many prospective candidates including myself. Therefore, receiving this scholarship won’t only benefit me financially it will also benefit my dental school application, As mentioned, I have never received any scholarships throughout my entire college experience so receiving this scholarship to help me reach my goals of becoming a dentist would be a memorable life changing experience.
How does your personal code of ethics align with those of Dentistry?
My personal code of ethics aligns with those of Dentistry in numerous ways. For example, I have gone all my life respecting others no matter the circumstance. In those of dentistry respect is very essential because it ensures that the patients can trust dentists and know that they are being cared for. Also, I feel as though my honesty can align with those of dentists as well. I have learned to be always truthful because being dishonest will only make problems worse. Being a dentist requires honesty because it allows the patients to be informed and diagnosed with the proper care. I have always thought it was necessary to treat others the same regardless of their background, race, looks, etc. It is only right to do so as discrimination is a big issue in society. In relation to those of dentistry, equality is what makes them so impactful. They can care and for others without discriminating. With this being said, my personal code of ethics is a perfect example of what describes those of dentistry.
What does leadership mean to you?
It was my sophomore year in college when I developed the ability to lead. I have discovered that this not an easy task and one must fit the qualities that makes up a leader. Therefore, to me leadership means being inspirational and being able to push a group forward no matter what happens. Having leadership can make a huge difference in one’s life. Not only does leadership requires being able to lead a group of people, but to also influence someone in the right path whether it be achieving their goals or helping them through tough situations. I always look at leaders as guidance and growth because without them we wouldn’t be where we are today. I often was influenced by many leaders, and it made me want to step out of my comfort zone and try leading myself. It felt good to know that I was greatly impacting others’ lives. For example, I was able to build a bond with rising African American high school seniors visiting The University of Mississippi by guiding and supporting them through the admission process and throughout their freshman year. Therefore, obtaining leadership is what made me better improve the person I am today.
As a young black man from a rural community in South Louisiana, dentistry means more than just being a “tooth doctor”. Dentistry means providing adequate oral health care for minority communities to help diminish health disparities found within diverse populations. Dentistry means educating all communities on the importance of good oral hygiene practices to help reduce systemic diseases that originate from the lack of adequate dental care and education. Dentistry means inspiring other young black youth to recognize their capabilities in pursuing a health care profession that is so vital to the overall wellbeing of all minority communities. Most importantly, dentistry means saving someone’s life and preserving their smile. Throughout my childhood, I grew up with a diastema and crowding. As a result, I suffered from a lack of confidence and much humiliation because of my “imperfect” smile. Once I was able to receive orthodontic treatment, I gained back some of that confidence that I had once lost, but I also recognized how much my smile affected my overall mental and physical health. Though I was very fortunate to receive this form of dental care, there are still many underserved communities that do not have access to some of the simplest oral care treatments. I’ve recognized through my journey that dentistry is truly about using your talents to contribute to the promotion of a more just and humane society.
I chose dentistry because I understand the importance of serving others and educating my own community. In addition, growing up with many life’s struggles, my mom always stressed the importance of giving back and understanding the needs of a community. Throughout my life, I had never received any health care services from Black healthcare practitioners from my community at home, and I knew that I had to do something in the realm of health care to give back something that my community lacked. After shadowing multiple dentists, I understood that this profession would allow me to put my artistic abilities to use while also helping others obtain their healthiest smiles. Furthermore, I learned through my dental experiences that most of the systemic health issues that many of my family members struggle with all originate from their oral health practices and their education on dental care. After learning how much of an impact dental caries and missing teeth have on one’s overall systemic health, I knew that this profession would allow me to help prevent some of these health concerns that disproportionately affect the African American population and my community specifically. Moreover, through my education in the field of public health, I have learned the importance of minorities providing care for minority communities to help diminish the inequities that are found within the field of dentistry. In conclusion, dentistry provides me with an opportunity to help others see the beauty and resilience that lies within a smile and offer care that I am truly passionate about.
As an African American with a passion for oral health, I bring representation to the field. I represent not only the Black community and those who came before me that dreamt of this opportunity, but I also represent individuals from rural communities that grow up with very few academic and career opportunities. I will bring dental services to underserved communities and always put the needs of others first. I also offer my creativity and leadership skills to the field of dentistry and my ability to excel in diverse teaching and learning environments. Lastly, I bring my motivation to contribute to promoting a more just and humane society in all of the impacts that I intend to make.
Some strengths that I have include my ability to connect with others, my determination to cater to the needs of others, and my understanding of patience and faith. Throughout my collegiate journey, I have constantly placed myself in leadership roles such as the Mister Xavier University of Louisiana and the Xavier University of Louisiana Pre-Dental Club President, to strengthen my abilities to withstand challenges and understand the importance of servant leadership. These strengths have been developed while also maintaining the educational rigor of the Xavier University of Louisiana. I plan to keep these strengths a priority as I matriculate through dental school, as these skills will allow me to become a more culturally competent and observant doctoral student and community leader. Two of my greatest weaknesses are that I am very critical of my own work and like to complete tasks in a conventional manner. It is sometimes very difficult for me to find satisfaction in my achievements and my own work. However, I have recognized with this weakness, I will never lose motivation no matter the result or outcome. Also, I find comfort in doing things the conventional way, but I am always open and optimistic about finding new ways to complete tasks. My strengths and weaknesses will continue to help me grow as a faith-driven and selfless individual determined to impact society by improving one smile at a time.
This scholarship will assist me in my journey of fulfilling my dream as a dentist so that I can give back to my community. This scholarship with also help me financially as I complete my dental school applications and motivate me to continue on my path of excellence knowing that others are sowing into my future. This scholarship will not only benefit me but also the young individuals that I inspire and the underserved communities that I will provide care for. Applying to dental school has placed a financial burden on my family, but my parents truly value the difference that I will make in marginalized populations, and they want to see me fulfill my dream. Additionally, by receiving this scholarship, I will be able to spend more time exposing myself to the dental field this summer. I believe that my will to give back and my pursuit to diminish health inequities and other public health concerns align with the purpose of this scholarship. I am very inspired to see an ambitious dental student help other aspiring dentists pursue their dream.
My personal code of ethics follows the expectations of true professionalism and servant leadership that will ultimately promote a more just and humane society regarding dentistry. One of my most important personal codes of ethics that aligns with those of dentistry is confidentiality. Throughout my dental experiences, I have learned the importance of protecting the records and care of a patient. Another personal code of ethics that I stand firm on is the principle of beneficence. My purpose for practicing dentistry is to do good for all people at all times in the most selfless manner. Furthermore, I value professionalism and autonomy in the highest regard. I will do everything in my power to remain culturally competent and respect the needs and values of all patients and their practices. Furthermore, I will promote justice at all times and remain truthful for our society to progress forward by acknowledging and correcting the disparities and the inequities found within the realm of healthcare. Lastly, I will always keep service at the forefront and value science and my dental teachings.
Leadership is the ability to make a difference and the opportunity to achieve goals. Leadership is my lifestyle. Throughout my educational journey, leadership has been essential to the person I have become and the influence that I intend to make in this world. Through my leadership opportunities, I have served others, motivated my peers, and supported new ideas. I began my collegiate leadership journey my freshman year when I served as an honor guard for the 2018-2019 Miss Xavier University of Louisiana. I continued this journey of growth during my sophomore year of undergraduate studies by serving as the Pre-Dental Club Treasurer of my institution as well as the Xavier University of Louisiana Mister Sophomore. Beyond the titles, I was able to complete community service, provide educational programs to my institution, and enhance the professional opportunities for Pre-Dental students. Moreover, in my junior year, I served as the Xavier University of Louisiana Mister Junior and also the Pre-Dental Club President. While serving during a global pandemic, these two roles allowed me to understand what leadership truly meant to me and the importance of remaining firm to fulfill the needs of others. I now reign as the Mister Xavier University of Louisiana, with the responsibility of aiding in recruitment efforts, coordinating social and cultural events, and representing the institution. Within these leadership positions, I’ve learned the importance of representation and selflessness. Because of my many experiences of struggle, I understand the importance of leading to serve.