Humanitarian Dentistry: A Scientific, Artistic, and Activism-Oriented Profession

Scholarship Entrant: Lillian from Los Angeles, CA
Essay Question: If you could earn a living doing what you love most, what would it be, and how would it change the world? Describe the specific goals you would set to make that dream a reality.
Vote for Lillian: 1

I am now a student at Pitzer College, where I had my first identity crisis: what was I going to do with my life? After thinking, I decided I wanted to be a dentist. No one was expecting it, since my passions lie in activism, but this profession is everything I want and more.

Because changes in oral health reflect changes in overall health, dentists are in a position to notice early signs of disease. As a result, dentists are health educators. Because I want to focus on the treating the oral health of patients with diabetes and AIDS, I will also be working with the underserved communities in the fight for health justice.

Next, dentistry is an intersectional career: art and science are essential. Science takes care of oral functioning and health, and in many cases taking physical pain away, while an aesthetic sense leads to improved self-esteem in patients.

Furthermore, one gets to spend the day talking to others and making their days brighter. This is all at the added bonus of being one’s own boss and deciding one’s own hours, therefore being able to pour more time into other things I love as well. Finally, it gives me the opportunity to be a mentor and support for other first-generation Latina students.

I cannot fail to mention that I also just really enjoy teeth. Overall, the mouth is an incredible miracle, and I would love to commit the rest of my life to studying and healing it.

Vote for Lillian: 1

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