Where are you from?
Where you currently practicing?
What are your future goals?
I am starting a new job on December 13th that is a dream job! I will be in a public health clinic treating patients and supervising fourth-year dental students from Indiana University School of Dentistry that rotate through the clinic. I will also be supervising dental assisting students because the clinic is in a career center in a local Indianapolis public high school. Outside of work, I am starting to train to run the Indianapolis mini-marathon in May. I do not run, and I have never been a runner so this is going to be a bigger accomplishment in a way, than finishing dental school.
Finally, my mother is kind of a social media sensation. She has a personal Instagram page highlighting her travels, and she has accumulated quite a following. Our goal is to put together a trip to Iceland next summer through her Instagram page with the travel agency she usually uses. I am working to get people to join us on the trip and do promotions for that.
What makes you ambitious and sets you apart from being average?
I have always been pretty focused and goal oriented but I think in the last year and half my ambitiousness has increased tremendously. I was in a bad relationship that ended in May 2015. I didn’t realize the relationship was unhealthy while I was in it. I had to admit to myself that I had been emotionally abused. That was a really hard and embarrassing thing to admit! I was so upset with myself. I never considered myself ‘the type’ to end up in a mentally/emotionally abusive relationship. I didn’t tell people for a very long time about a lot of it out of embarrassment. It took a lot of prayer, reflection and time alone to heal. I am SO glad that God got me out of that relationship and spared me from an unhappy and unhealthy marriage (we were engaged). I feel like I owe it to Him to make the most of what He’s given to and kept from me. To heal, I sort of went into hyperdrive of living my life to the fullest – hence, becoming more ambitious. It started out to keeping busy with productive things to not think about the disappointment and to not beat myself for feeling like a fool, and it really hasn’t stopped since then. My brain is always going with ideas. I think that being single with no children has made me more ambitious also. I like to say that since I don’t have children, and I’m not married, all my mental energy and my time is mine. I’m settled and confident in my career so there is a huge peace that comes along with that. But am I going to use that abundance of mental energy and peace to be selfish and think about what new pair of shoes I am going to get, or new dress I’m going to get for an upcoming event? No! Don’t get me wrong – I worked hard to get where I am personally and professionally and definitely am a subscriber to “treat yo’self!”, but I have been so blessed to be where I am, and so many people poured into me along my journey that it’s my duty to make the lives of people around me – and subsequently my life – better. I am truly ambitious about making my life and the lives of those I encounter better.
What sets me apart from being average and makes me ambitious are sort of one in the same, and I feel SO strange saying this but I think I have an commonly kind/thoughtful heart. It’s probably my favorite thing about myself. A great amount of my mental energy goes to thinking of new ways to bless the people in my life. Career/community-wise I am starting a mentoring program that pairs dental students at IU and local high school students interested in dentistry. I am also trying to organize a big meet and greet of the dentists who work in community health clinics around Indianapolis. I volunteer with an agency called CASA: Court Appointed Special Advocates, in which I meet with two sisters who I have been paired with who have been removed from their home due to their mother’s negligence. I see them about once a week. I bought them new outfits for picture day at school and I’ve gone to have lunch with them at their elementary school. On a smaller scale, most recently, I made an engagement gift basket for one of my friends getting married. I knitted a blanket for my mentee. I decorated a pumpkin for Halloween for the clinic I work in. Last week, I was getting my hair done and another lady there was getting color on her hair. After the stylist had finished her color, she washed it out, towel dried her hair and the woman left. My stylist was telling me that right now the woman can’t afford the wash, style, and color so she gets the color and then goes home and finishes her hair herself. I gave my stylist the money to make up the difference and told her to style the woman’s hair next time, on me.
Often at the end of the day, I think to myself, what difference did it make to someone else that I am alive? No one cares what my profession is. My patients, in a sense, don’t care that I’m a dentist. They care about the experience I create for them and the work I do. Outside of work, generally people are impressed when you tell them you’re a dentist and you get a certain amount of respect for that reason (warranted or not), but at the end of the day people only care about who you are, not what you do.
What is your favorite quote or motto?
I could never choose a favorite so I’ll give some that come to mind pretty quickly:
“The purpose of life is living a life of purpose.”
“Enjoy your life and what’s accessible to you. Make it big!” My mom
“When you’re waiting on God’s timing you’re waiting on His best.”
“Self esteem comes from committing estimable acts – by being of service to the world and your dreams and your family.” Tracee Ellis Ross
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” Galatians 6:9
“What do people get when they get you? What do they lose when they lose you?” John Beverly in the book Extraordinary
Any advice or biggest thing you’ve learned about being in real world dentistry?
That people hate the dentist and aren’t afraid to tell you! When I told my mother I was going to apply to dental school back in 2004 she said, “Listen. People hate the dentist.” I’ll never forget that. In public health many of my patients haven’t been to the dentist in years, if ever! My job is to change their experience and feeling about being at the dentist and to educate them about oral health and to treat them as gently as possible. In private practice, setting a tone is a little easier because you have more freedom. In a public health clinic we are slightly more restricted in setting up our clinic and services we provide, therefore you have to give more of yourself emotionally to your patients. We don’t do sedation for patients, and many of our patients can’t afford to go to another office to get sedated so I like to say, “I’m your nitrous!”
What do you do to ensure a positive work life balance?
Dentistry is trying on your body and your mind so a positive work/life balance is essential. As I said before, people hate the dentist. You are giving a lot of your emotion to make them comfortable, and you are doing physical work, hunched over them, sometimes in uncomfortable positions. Therefore you have to be able to balance what you’re giving at work with that you are giving yourself to make you mind and body better.
I get massages about once a month and I go to the chiropractor twice a week. I am trying to eat better – we all know how much diet can affect us physically and mentally. I try and get at least 7 hours of sleep a night. Also, I am a list maker. I am very anal about keeping my calendar up. I don’t like having on my calendar that I didn’t do anything after work. All my volunteer work, exercise, shopping trips, creative projects – they are all on there. Everything is penciled in until I do it, and then I ink over it once it’s done.
There are lots of days where I come home and watch TV until I go to bed, but it’s been a conscious decision “Today will be a rest day”. Other than that, I am very intentional about my free time: seeing friends, doing volunteer work, creative projects, etc. Sometimes I go through my text message list and make sure I have contacted friends and family out of town recently just to let them know I am thinking about them.
Where can dentist contact you for future questions?