D1 Stories

Whether their dreams of a dentistry career started decades ago or more recently, the road to dental school has taken different paths for all of the 120 members of the University of Louisville School of Dentistry DMD class of 2025. This fall, shortly after the school year began, we asked five first-year dental students at ULSD to share their stories — along with some advice for others following a similar path.



Lebanon, KY | Western Kentucky University

"My journey took an atypical route, to say the least. I started out college as a broadcasting major, but taking those courses, I realized my heart wasn’t there. I found that through dentistry I could have a connection with my community. At first glance, broadcasting and dentistry appear to be polar opposites. However, the fundamentals of broadcasting actually parallel that of dentistry in several ways. Dentistry is not simply eliminating dental caries; it is an investment in one’s community and most importantly, an investment in each patient’s life." 

Read Caroline's Story »


Louisville, KY & Southern IN | IU Southeast

"I've always wanted to be a part of something that would make a huge impact on the community and take care of others. I grew up in poverty and grew up in a very rural area. I grew up in a family that would often have to choose between going to the doctor or miss a payment on an essential bill. So, I made the goal in wanting to not only help and provide the necessary oral health care needs within my community and for those in poverty, but I wanted to be able to reach out to those who did not readily have access to a dentist or provider, whether that was in the USA or outside the states, like in my husband's home country in Mexico."

Read Dakota's Story »


Lexington, KY | UC San Diego

"[In the Air Force], I learned leadership, discipline, resiliency, self-accountability, and teamwork. I know what a good and bad leader looks like. I understand the importance of making sure the team feels appreciated and valued. I understand the importance of having a good morale. I understand that you must sacrifice at times. I understand you can't live your life making excuses. I understand that you must put the patient's quality of life as the priority, service before self. Military gave me the structure and backbone. All those character traits and structure will allow me to value everyone around me, patients or staff, and make time for my family."

Read Mark's Story »


New Lexington, OH | The Ohio State University

"When considering a career in dentistry as an undergraduate, I would definitely recommend shadowing as much as you can. This will help you determine if you truly want to pursue dentistry as a career and will also help you build knowledge and passion for the field. Plus, a number of shadow hours are required for application so it is a good idea to start this early! Another piece of advice would be build a network of mentors (both current students and dentists) and build a good relationship with them. Having good mentors helps build your knowledge, answer your questions, and guide your journey to success."

Read Payal's Story »


Brooksville, FL | University of Central Florida

"After graduating UCF with a degree in biology, I decided to prepare for the DAT and complete nursing school to gain more experience in the healthcare field and differentiate myself as a dental school applicant. Nursing offered me many of the skills that I will be able to adapt and use in dentistry. Nursing allowed me to experience the diverse healthcare resources to deliver physical, behavioral, emotional, and social services to improve patient care. My time in hospitals, nursing homes, and mental health facilities opened my eyes to whole patient care."

Read Rachel's Story »