On Her Way to Becoming a Dentist
Transfer student aims to be role model
An inspiring high school chemistry class set Jennifer Pierce ’19 on the path to becoming a dentist, and she’s already compiled an impressive resume. A transfer student, she worked for three years as a dental assistant before starting classes at Elmhurst.
As a dentist I want to be a leader in the community and a role model for other people of color. And I want to work in areas that are underserved by dentists.Jennifer on her career choice
When Pierce arrived on campus, she was surprised there was no club for pre-dental students. Her health industry mentor suggested that she start one, and after a lot of paperwork and a presentation to the Student Government Association, the club was approved. The Pre-Dental Club aims to raise awareness of oral health through workshops and promotional campaigns—the group, for example, gave a presentation to children with autism at a local elementary school.
Although a pre-dental program requires a heavy science course load, Pierce is majoring in intercultural studies and minoring in chemistry and biology because she believes understanding ethnicity and culture provides a broader dimension. “It will make me a better health care provider,” she said. “Many people are scared when they come to the dentist. You have to ease them, make them feel comfortable.”
As secretary of the Black Student Union, Pierce takes notes, sends minutes and reminders of events. “I hold the key to communications, keeping members informed,” she said. At weekly meetings, she highlights a book by an African American author. She also recommends a “word of the week” that students include in their vocabulary such as effulgence, meaning “radiant splendor,” and voracious, meaning “to have a huge appetite.” “We always are striving for excellence and improvement,” she said.