On Sunday, March 23, 2014, approximately 30 students of Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine (GSDM) gathered in the GSDM cafeteria for the American Association of Women Dentists (AAWD) Annual Women in Dentistry Brunch. The students heard the inspiring stories from four women, who spoke on the theme of “Exploring Unconventional Careers in the Field of Dentistry”: Dr. Andrea Fraser, Junior Faculty Advisor for the BU chapter of AAWD; Dr. Paula K. Friedman, AAWD’s Senior Faculty Advisor and the host of the brunch; Dr. Adele Scheele, author of several books on women’s careers and a career coach in Los Angeles; and Dr. Kristin Zitterell, a dental anesthesiologist.
“We learned that there are so many different career paths within dentistry and that we should use the time we have—while here in school—to explore these options and find our passion,” said Monica Schmidt DMD 17, Public Relations Vice Chair for AAWD. She continued, “Hearing the personal stories from such driven and accomplished women motivated me to continue working hard while in school.”
Dr. Friedman shared her own personal story as Past President of the American Dental Education Association, Immediate Past President of the Massachusetts Dental Society, and soon-to-be President of the American Society for Geriatric Dentistry.
Dr. Fraser spoke to the group about her career path into dental academia and how she enjoys practicing dentistry by helping students learn the importance of holistically treating patients.
Dr. Kristin Zitterell shared her unconventional path towards dentistry that began with earning a bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy. She is a current clinical faculty member of the Lutheran Medical Center’s Advanced Education in Pediatric Dentistry and Advanced Education in General Dentistry residency programs. Dr. Zitterell also shared that she is the mother of four young children and still manages to successfully combine family life and a professional career.
Dr. Scheele is an internationally recognized transformational career strategist who motivates individuals to achieve new successes throughout their careers. She emphasized the importance of reaching beyond what may seem comfortable as a student and future dental professional, including networking with others and trying new opportunities that may come your way.
Schmidt summarized the overall message from the speakers: “It is important to have a career goal in mind, but remember to consider the various possibilities within the profession and ultimately choose the path that you enjoy most. Remember to stay motivated, work hard, and a rewarding career will follow.”