There are many
routes and career paths within dentistry. One such route is academic dentistry.
Academic dental careers allow individuals to work outside of private clinical practice.
These roles may look like part-time or full-time positions at a dental school
through involvement in research, teaching a didactic or clinical course,
serving as an attending in clinical practice or fulfilling an administrative
Why Am I Drawn
school, I was an eager learner who always looked to help my peers succeed in
the classroom. As I grew older, I often found myself in teaching and
mentorship-like roles. Working as a tutor in high school and college allowed me
to develop a great appreciation for teaching. I loved being able to share my
strategies with others and seeing them light up when they finally mastered a
have been grateful to have had amazing educators in my life who have helped me
succeed as a student. These passionate individuals have made me who I am today,
and I believe I have the obligation to pay it forward to the next generation by
Why the ADEA
Dental Careers Fellowship Program?
experiences motivated me to seek out opportunities to combine my interests in
dentistry and teaching when I began dental school. One experience I pursued was
a fellowship with the American Dental Education Association
Academic Dental Careers Fellowship Program (ADEA ADCFP). This program was founded to provide
students and residents with the opportunity to become involved in academia through
mentorship and exposure. Through the fellowship, I was able to work closely on
a project with a faculty mentor and present a poster at the 2022
ADEA Annual Session & Exhibition.
I also had the opportunity to interview many faculty members who shared their
personal journeys to academia and offered their advice.
Overall, ADEA ADCFP is a program I
highly recommend. This experience bolstered my view of what it means to be a
dental school faculty member. I realize the role can take many different forms
and is unique to each individual. One of my biggest takeaways is that you are
never too young or too old to enter an academic career. I previously had the notion
that this path is more so for career changers and those who have devoted the
majority of their lives to private clinical practice. I have found, however,
that it is becoming increasingly more common for younger individuals to enter
an academic dental career directly after completing their dental education.
an academic dental career, I have also realized that as you advance up the leadership
hierarchy, it often becomes less diverse in terms of representation of different
ethnicities and nationalities. This has driven me to pursue a career in academia
in order to offer more diverse representation in these spaces and encourage
those after me to pursue a similar path.
This sentiment came into perspective
when attending the 2022 ADEA Annual Session &
Exhibition for which the
theme of the conference was “Lifting As We Rise”. This resonated deeply with me
as I watched many women of color get recognized for their contributions to
dentistry. They were honored as “Undaunted Trailblazers” who were featured in
the book of the same name by Drs. Jeanne C. Sinkford, Sheila S. Price and
Marilyn P. Woolfolk. These women make up today’s dental school deans,
distinguished faculty, researchers and more. It is inspiring to see that
although they faced challenges, they still persevered to get to where they are
now. I hope to use this as a motivation to go after my goals during my journey
and to one day be where they are.
Why YOU Should Consider an Academic Dental
An academic dental career offers many
opportunities for growth and professional development. You have the opportunity
to constantly learn and grow, influence findings in dental research and
education and positively impact the lives of future dental professionals.