Write an essay where you tell us about what drives you in your pursuit of your graduate degree.

I pulled out my first tooth in the middle of a sugar cane field in the Dominican Republic. My Dad is a dentist who is partnered with an organization that sponsors mission trips to third-world countries to deliver quality dental care to the underprivileged. The puss and the smell was not too appealing.

I wasn’t immediately hooked on dentistry because I didn’t understand what my Dad really did on a daily basis. Sure, I shadowed him and had been on a few mission trips, but I never ‘worked’ with him. When my dad opened up his new practice, Strickland Family Dentistry, he asked if I would like to help manage the practice. I had been cutting my teeth in the small-business arena in Sarasota, so I was happy to join the team. I love going into our practice, specifically, because I smile and laugh All. Day. Long. The way our team is built, how we function together, and the way in which we practice dentistry opened my eyes to what true healthcare looks like.

Dentistry is where I want to hang my shingle in the professional world. I want to continue the family practice. That is why I accepted my position in the Masters of Oral Science at the University at Buffalo, School of Dental Medicine.

Matthew from Florida
University at Buffalo