Jeremy L. Masten
“Through the Hunt School of Dental Medicine, there is a convergence of support. The community and the school are providing an opportunity for us to educate the region about the importance of oral health and increase access to dental care for those who may not be able to afford it.”
Tell us a little about your background. Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school?
I grew up in the South, specifically Cairo, Georgia. When I was 18, I went to college in Atlanta, and after graduating from Georgia State University, I commissioned in the United States Marine Corps. For 11 years, I served as a combat engineering officer.
Who or what moment inspired you to go into dentistry?
While in the Marine Corps, I had an assignment in the Philippines providing security to Navy officers offering medical and dental care. I saw how much people on the island of Palawan wanted to see a dentist, even more than a physician. I thought it was wonderful how they responded to the opportunities we brought, and how amazing it was to offer something so crucial in such a remote place. My life experiences will support my dentistry efforts. As a condolence officer in the Marine Corps, I notified families of their loved one’s loss. That experience of offering comfort during their darkest days will enhance the compassionate care I will provide.
Why is the Hunt School of Dental Medicine the best place for you?
My wife is active-duty Army and studying to be a nurse practitioner. As I was applying for dental school, I wanted to make sure we went where we could stay together as a family with our three children. Having Fort Bliss and the dental school in the same area made that possible.
What aspects of the unique curriculum are you most looking forward to?
I think we’re all looking forward to the early clinical integration. Because it’s a spiral curriculum, it gives us the ability to learn, digest and transform what we learned into knowledge. We revisit topics, but every time we do, it’s a little more in-depth. It’s a mechanism to ensure we have a solid biomedical foundation and a way to apply that knowledge.
How does it feel to be part of the inaugural class at the Hunt School of Dental Medicine?
This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The admissions team did a great job. We are already such a tight group, sharing many of the same values.
What do you like most about El Paso, or do you find unique about the region?
The sense of community and unity in the region is impressive, and it extends into everyday life. There are so many great things I could say about the community, but notably, the pride that extends across the border is unique and special.
What are your interests and hobbies?
I always love spending time with my family, but a more personal hobby for me is surfing. It’s the most immersive and challenging activity in the world. I also really enjoy skating, which is great since I can’t surf in El Paso. Both are things I learned late in life and offered me new challenges and a sense of joy.