Since entering college, what have you learned about yourself?
That I am more self-reliant, and that I can do things on my own with excellent results.
Why did you choose UMKC?
I chose UMKC because of the dental school and because it’s close to home (Overland Park, Kan.). My parents were probably going to follow me wherever I went to college since I’m the baby.
Are you a first-generation college student?
I am. I am very fortunate to be able to attend college at all, and even more to be at such a wonderful school. My parents never had the money to go to school.
What motto do you live by?
Dad always told me the harder you work, the more you get out of life. Through all the jobs I’ve taken – and I was a store manager at 15 – I’m always getting called in because they like working with me. The little things matter most. Whatever work you put in will pay off eventually.
Where is UMKC taking you?
I want to own my own dental practice. I’ve had braces since I was 4 and I still have them at 18. I don’t remember what it feels like to not have braces. If all goes well, my braces will be removed in a year or so.
When I was younger, they discovered I had a rare open bite. I had jaw surgery last year and afterward had my jaw wired shut for eight months.
My orthodontist, Kelly Toombs (who completed his D.D.S. and orthodontics residency at the UMKC School of Dentistry), is really good with kids. Kids inspire me and keep me smiling. Dr. Toombs made me smile, and I want to make children who come to the dentist smile, too. He’s not selfish with his job, either. He has a lot of programs for people who can’t afford braces.
What is one word that best describes you?
Heroine. My name actually means heroine, which is defined as a woman admired or idealized for her courage and outstanding achievements.
What’s your greatest fear?
My greatest fear is that I will put so much work and effort into dentistry and then won’t be accepted. But I think that I have great potential as a future dentist and that if I work very hard, I will one day achieve my dream.