"Set a goal and keep working at it until you reach the goal. Never give up if you know that it is the career that will make you happy."
Ms. Peralta attended SMDEP in 2016 at the University of Nebraska. Today, she is a dental student in the class of 2025 at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine.
What path did you take when you first started college?
What led to your interest in a health profession?
I have wanted to be a dentist since my experience with my orthodontist growing up.
Who are what inspired you?
Dr. Kimberly Carlyle-Clark inspired me to pursue a career in dentistry because I loved the environment when I went in for my orthodontic appointments. I worked as a dental assistant at a general dentist practice and was mentored by Dr. Gary Lease throughout my undergraduate education. He taught me a lot about general dentistry and kept me motivated throughout my studies.
What obstacles did you overcome in your educational or career journey?
As a first-generation American and college student, there was a lot that I did not know as I pursued a career in healthcare. I made sure to do a lot of research and seek out mentorship as often as possible so that I could achieve my goals.
What are some of your recent milestones?
As I finish up my first year of dental school, I look back and am extremely proud of myself and everything that I have accomplished. It is still surreal that I have made it this far and am loving every second of it!
What surprised you the most about graduate/health professional school?
How challenging it can be. I worked very hard in undergrad, working multiple jobs while taking full-time classes every semester. I thought I could handle whatever was coming ahead of me, but it was quite the adjustment in the fall. In undergrad, I had time broken up between my different jobs and classes, but here it is all classwork all the time, which can be a little much sometimes. It is better now though, as we move on to more clinical coursework and spend more time in the SIM lab.
How did SHPEP influence you?
SMDEP confirmed my desire to want to be a dentist. Even through the most challenging parts of my studies, I could always think back to some of the hands-on activities of SMDEP and know what was waiting for me on the other side of this work. Additionally, seeing my other SMDEP classmates get into and succeed in their desired programs always kept me motivated to join them!
What has been your favorite part of the process? The most difficult?
My favorite part of the process was interviewing for dental school. I would get very emotional before every interview because I had worked so hard to get there and seeing that the adcoms believed in me was the greatest feeling in the world. The most difficult was studying for the DAT, going back day after day to what seemed like endless topics was not fun.
What advice do you have for students pursuing a health professional career?
Set a goal and keep working at it until you reach the goal. Never give up if you know that it is the career that will make you happy.