"I really wanted to come to Pacific because of the people and the overall environment. All the faculty are like friends and colleagues and it’s so easy to speak to everyone."
Ask Yevgeniya how she decided to pursue dentistry and she'll laugh and say it's a funny story — she dreamt she was a dentist. No really, that's how it happened. Growing up in a small town in Ukraine, she never had a desire to pursue anything in the medical field. Then during her last year in high school, Yevgeniya began having recurring dreams that she was a dentist. She took them as a sign and applied to dental school.
"It was a rather sudden decision," recalls Yevgeniya. "But after I decided on becoming a dentist, I never changed my mind so I knew it was the right choice."
Since the school system works a little differently in Ukraine than in the United States, Yevgeniya went from high school straight into dental school. In her country, there's no such thing as a four-year undergraduate degree. Students who choose to further their studies go to graduate school right after high school. Yevgeniya attended dental school at Ivano-Frankivsk State Medical University, where the program requires five years of classes followed by a two-year internship.
However, it was also a dream of Yevgeniya's to study dentistry in the U.S., where she felt she would gain the best knowledge and expertise possible. While researching dental schools in the states, she decided that the Dugoni School was the best match for her. She didn't bother submitting applications to other U.S. dental schools because this was the place she wanted to be. She admits it might not have been the best idea to only apply to one school, but considering she had decided on a career based on a dream, this wasn't too much of a stretch.
"I really wanted to come to Pacific because of the people and the overall environment," said Yevgeniya. "All the faculty are like friends and colleagues and it's so easy to speak to everyone."
A passion of hers is helping people in need and as a representative of the school's Student Community Outreach for Public Education (SCOPE) program, she hopes to take part in community outreach and projects to help those less fortunate. However, other priorities are competing for her time and energy. Yevgeniya, at the time we interviewed her for this profile, had given birth just three weeks earlier to her son, Oleksandr. She took a scant five days off for maternity leave before returning to school.
"I feel like I don't get any sleep but I wouldn't trade it for anything," says Yevgeniya. "I love motherhood and I love being a dentist."