5 Questions With … Dr. Erin Gross

Erin Gross
Erin L. Gross, D.D.S., Ph.D., M.S.
Assistant Professor – Clinical Director of Pediatric Dentistry
The Ohio State University College of Dentistry, Biomaterials Sciences

1. What drew you to dental education (or dentistry)?

I told my parents that I wanted to be a dentist when I was eight years old, but it never occurred to me that there were people who taught in dental schools. I just never thought about it! As an undergrad I started working in a research lab in the College of Dentistry and learned that my research mentor was also a pediatric dentist and a teacher in the college. Watching her over the years, I got to see how fulfilling a career in dental education could be and came to be sure that it was right for me. Dental educators are lucky enough to build careers that include all the things we love!

2. What makes you excited to go to work each day?

One of the things I love most about my job is that every day is different. Some days I’m mostly a dentist, and I feel like I have the best job in the world because I get to take care of little kids. Some days I’m mostly a teacher, and I feel like I have the best job in the world because I get to work with students and residents in the classroom and clinic. Some days are about other things, and some days are completely unexpected. It’s always an adventure!

3. What’s the one piece of advice you would give to anyone in dental school?

Set yourself up to be able to do anything you want after graduation, even if you already know what you want to do. Some students enter dental school with a plan for their future, but along the way, they find out they want to do something different. Sometimes that “something different” is something competitive, like applying to residency, and you want to be in a position to be able to pursue your new goal. Don't close any doors on yourself early because you have so much to learn!

4. What’s one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?

This year I spent three days hiking across the Grand Canyon and camping at the bottom. Even I was surprised that I actually went through with it! I’d never done anything like it before and I can’t wait to do it again.

5. What skill or talent would you most like to develop?

I’ve been trying to become an outdoorsy person. It is definitely not in my nature (see what people would be surprised to learn about me, above), but I didn’t like feeling like I was missing out on things because I was afraid. I’m getting better at hiking, camping and shopping for gear!