Iremember sitting in my room during my sophomore year at John Carroll … watching coverage of the “Shock & Awe” campaign in Iraq that President George W. Bush initiated. The Shock & Awe campaign made me think more seriously about serving my country.

I knew I wanted to be a dentist, which was slightly unusual considering how many times my friends switched majors. During my time at Carroll, I was a shift leader for JCUEMS (John Carroll University Emergency Medical Services). I knew I liked treating patients. My experiences before and during my time at Carroll in observing different dentists in the Cleveland area confirmed my decision. During my senior year, I had to start applying to dental school. The pre-dental program at Carroll and the Pre-Health Professions Society (now Pre-Health Professions Program) helped guide me in the right direction.

As I began the application process, I wanted to look into programs that would lead me to becoming a dentist while in the military. My decision was easy because I had been thinking about military service for years. I wanted to ensure I was accepted into dental school before signing on the dotted line. I wanted to serve, but becoming a dentist was my long-term goal. After getting the much-anticipated letter of acceptance, I applied for the health professions scholarship program through the Army.

After several weeks of waiting, I was notified that I had received the scholarship that would pay for dental school in its entirety. In return, I’d serve four years as an active-duty dentist.

I graduated from The Ohio State University College of Dentistry in summer 2010. I started active duty in August 2010 at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. After residency training, I was assigned to Fort Drum, New York, as the only dentist for 3,700 soldiers.

John Carroll prepared me well for dental school, which then led me to be successful in my dental career and in the Army. I can’t thank my professors enough for the well rounded and challenging education I was afforded. Carroll provided me not only a great education, but also with the tools that served me after graduation, during dental school, and in Afghanistan.