I trace my adult aspirations back to the age of 9. At this time, my father returned to college in his late thirties to pursue a master’s degree in anesthesia. Since I was the oldest of three children, my mother was also unable to work and we soon found ourselves scrounging out an existence on welfare. I will never forget my first Christmas on public assistance, my parents agonizing over how they could buy presents in addition to putting food on the table. Our church taught me the most important lessons in life at that time, compassion and generosity. And these moral imperatives have become my principal frame of reference, what I aspire to accomplish myself.
One morning, my mother woke up in excruciating pain, and we realized that the local dental school clinic was our only option as welfare recipients. John, a dentistry student, recommended a root canal and patiently responded to each of my mother’s concerns in a simple, straightforward way with illustrations; even I could understand at 10 years old. I could see that my mother felt safe and comfortable, fully trusting in John. During the procedure I saw the tears roll down her face as I held on to her hand. John let me hold the suction for part of the procedure. John became my first real life hero; and from that day forward I have nurtured and treasured the dream of becoming a dentist myself, and attending to the weakest among us, the underserved. Later, we would move to Florida where I constructed a hockey workshop in our garage with numerous stick handling drills that helped develop my natural dexterity and coordination. One professional experience that has helped to prepare me for the great challenges of dental school was my employment with XXXX Marine Services. We helped to train helicopter pilots in the fields of search and rescue. Coast Guard helicopters would hover within 10 feet of my head while I was raising and lowering rescue baskets.
Since entering high school, I have cultivated noble goals of wanting to give something back to the community. One of my early forms of engagement with the community in high school was serving as Captain of our ice hockey team. Despite the fact that we lost the state tournament, I went on to serve as Assistant Captain of the XXU team, helping to bring XXU Ice Hockey to its first winning season. Yet, when I realized that my grades were suffering, I quit the team to be able to devote myself full time to my studies. During my freshman year I co-founded the XXXX Leadership Organization, beginning with only ten members. My first title was Social Service Coordinator and I was in charge of designing and organizing our efforts to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Foundation. Within 3 years, we had 150 members. I see my natural inclination for organizing philanthropic activities to be my greatest asset and I feel strongly that the greatest contribution that I might be able to make to society would be to provide free dental health care to members of our American societies with scant resources.
I see my home as the entire Caribbean area and I have spent a lot of time in Jamaica, the Bahamas, Cozumel, Belize, the Grand Cayman Islands, Haiti, and Puerto Rico. I was a close observer of healthcare systems on these islands, especially Haiti, and it is my sincere hope to make major contributions to dental missions to these islands in the future. I studied Spanish for 3 years in college and continue to improve through a concerted effort to practice. I have also dedicated a lot of planning to my goal of someday operating a free mobile dental clinic in rural areas of Florida, especially for the benefit of migrant farm workers and their families. I assure you that I will give my all to my studies if admitted and I want to thank you for consideration of my application.