Hometown: Alton, Illinois
Career Plans: Keeping her options open; perhaps specializing in endodontics.
I walk into the clinic as a new and nervous clinician and I walk out feeling like a rock star. The faculty give me the encouragement, the tools and the knowledge to help my patients.
Challenging, constant learning and relationship building; these were important aspects that Hannah Hurley '18 wanted in a career. Now in her second year at the Dugoni School, she feels incredibly lucky to have found the perfect fit for her interests — dentistry.
With a strong desire to pursue work in the health field, Hannah was drawn to dentistry the most because of the relationships she would be able to build with her patients. She wanted a career where she would grow with her patients and provide preventative care.
"Dentistry really had everything I was looking for," recalls Hannah. "I didn't want patients to come see only when they had problems. I wanted to be able to build a relationship with them and improve their overall health."
Hannah also feels like the Dugoni School is a perfect fit for her. Although she considered going to the dental school in her hometown, she realized that she needed to get out of her comfort zone and experience something new and different. A strong clinical background, patient to patient interaction and communication with faculty were things she was looking for in a dental school.
"This is the most important aspect of my education and I wanted to be in a place that really invested in me being the best that I could be," said Hannah. "The moment I stepped into the building during interview day, I felt the family environment here and I could see that their values were in line with mine."
Being in the clinic has been Hannah's favorite part of her education so far. She loves interacting with her educators on the clinic floor and feel like they're really invested in her learning, whether it's telling her about her strengths or letting her know what she can improve on. "I walk into the clinic as a new and nervous clinician and I walk out feeling like a rock star," she said. The faculty give her the encouragement, the tools and the knowledge to help her patients.
She's pleasantly surprised by how much the patients trust her. It's been a huge motivator for Hannah to learn even more and to be the best because of their faith in her.
One thing she notes that's been particularly helpful in the clinic is her decision to minor in Spanish when she was getting her undergraduate degree. With the diverse patient population in the San Francisco Bay Area, being able to speak Spanish has helped her communicate better with some of her patients and form a bond with them. "My patients are super diverse and I enjoy that," says Hannah. "I think minoring in Spanish has been the best thing I've done to prepare for school."
A three-year dental program can be intense and stressful; Hannah credits her classmates for getting her this far. The culture of the school is very encouraging. The bond and camaraderie is apparent in her class with everyone willing to help each other rather than bring each other down. She loves that whether she's having a tough day at school or not, they will always give her a reason to laugh or give some form of encouragement.
"I think if you have good people surrounding you, you can get through anything," she says. "I find that to be true among my classmates and I feel lucky to be around them."
After graduation Hannah will fulfill the three-year commitment that is part of her Navy scholarship. As for her plans after that? She's not entirely sure but she's ready for a new adventure. She's going to take those three years in the Navy to figure out where she wants to practice and if she wants to specialize in endodontics.
"I'm excited for whatever the future holds for my dental career," exclaims Hannah. "And I know that the school has prepared me well to pursue anything."