“I hope to help establish a relationship of trust and confidence between our school and the community. Dental care, as well as the costs of care, can be stressful and daunting for many people, but we can help alleviate those anxieties for individuals in our community.”
Tell us a little about your background. Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school?
I grew up in a small town in Southern California called Yucaipa. After graduating from Yucaipa High School, I attended a vocational school for dental assisting. I worked as a registered dental assistant for six years in Palm Springs and Banning, California, before moving to Fort Worth, Texas, with my husband after he medically retired from the Marine Corps in 2015. We decided that it was the perfect opportunity for me to return to school to pursue dentistry. I enrolled in Tarrant County College in 2015 and transferred to Texas Christian University in 2017, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in biology in 2019.
Who or what moment inspired you to go into dentistry?
I was always fascinated with the dental offices I visited growing up, which inspired me to start assisting. Once I began working in offices, seeing how impactful quality dentistry could be and building relationships with patients motivated me to pursue dentistry as a career. I really believe that my years as a dental assistant will be immeasurably beneficial during my time at the Hunt School of Dental Medicine and as a dentist in the future.
What will be your challenges?
My biggest challenge will be balancing professional school and being a mom and wife. Thankfully, I have an amazing support system with my family to help ease that challenge. My husband has been the most significant source of support for me during this process. With me going back to school as an adult, we became a one-income family. He took on extra hours at work and countless overtime shifts, all while being a source of encouragement for me on days I felt overwhelmed.
How does it feel to be part of the inaugural class at the Hunt School of Dental Medicine?
It really is such an honor to be part of this group. We’ll always be the inaugural class, and I feel that we’ll have a unique opportunity to shape how the program looks for the future. We’re incredibly lucky to be the first group of students to use the amazing facilities on campus and learn about the state-of-the-art equipment.
Do you have any mentors who have helped you along the way?
James Lloyd, D.D.S., will always be who I consider my biggest mentor. I worked as his assistant for several years and learned what truly compassionate care looked like. He treated every patient as if they were close family and always with the utmost respect. He encouraged me to go back to school to pursue dentistry, believing in me and cheering me on every step of the way.
Do you have any family you would like to mention?
My parents. I’m a first-generation college graduate, and they’ve been huge cheerleaders for me along the way. Their support has meant a lot, even as an adult.
What do you like most about El Paso or you find unique about the region?
The sense of community. Since arriving here, we’ve been overwhelmed with how friendly and welcoming everyone has been. We haven’t sat down for a meal at a restaurant yet without having amazing conversations with the strangers at the table next to us.