"Network and make connections with professionals in your future field."
Ms. Cooley participated in SHPEP in 2019 at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Today, she is a dental student (D1) at The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston.
What path did you take when you first started college?
I was interested in a health profession major but did not decide to major in Biological Sciences until my sophomore year.
What led to your interest in a health profession?
Shadowing health professionals and learning about the variety of interesting occupations in the field inspired me to pursue this path.
Who are what inspired you?
My skills and interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) courses had an influence on my decision. I wanted to have both a career that I enjoy and one where my talents can flourish.
What obstacles did you overcome in your educational or career journey?
Being in positions of leadership were great experiences for me and showed me how to see setbacks as more of an opportunity to learn and achieve.
What are some of your recent milestones?
In December 2020, I was accepted into the dental class of 2025 at The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston. I also graduated from McNeese State University summa cum laude that same month. Currently, I am working at the dental school doing research on a cell-based screening platform using salivary avatars for the evaluation of products indicated to provide xerostomia reduction.
What has been your favorite part of the process? The most difficult?
Networking and making connections with professors, friends, and professionals in the dental field has been a favorite part of the experience.
What is the best career advice you have received?
The importance of networking.
What advice do you have for students pursuing a health professional career.
Network and make connections with professionals in your future field.