Now 25 years old, I have spent the last ten years getting to know the USA, especially where I live in Oklahoma, learning English and adjusting to American culture. For several years now, I have had my sights set on dentistry as my chosen profession and my calling.
We left our native Korea when I was 15, and I immediately started high school in Oklahoma. Especially as an immigrant whose family lost everything in a green card scam, I have been through my share of poverty and struggles. Even though I was faced with the harsh reality that I was undocumented and poor, it only made me grow stronger and helped me to develop my passion for dental medicine; witnessing my family suffering from the lack of proper oral care, I came to realize that selfless service is what a dentist provides daily, and I became committed to my career goal of making important contributions to my community through dentistry as human service.
My dream is to develop a dental practice geared toward the increasing number of immigrants in Oklahoma who are underserved or lack access to oral health care. I look forward to a lifetime of service, especially to the underserved, and gaining increasing experience going on missions for many decades. I feel strongly that dental care is optimized due to the quality of communication between doctor and patient. I seek intense levels of engagement as a dentist with the underserved.
Like many Korean immigrants to America, I am passionate about peace and security, not only in America in these trying times but especially back home in Korea. While I am not fascinated by the idea of becoming a soldier on his way off to war, I will explore serving the military as a dentist.
My long-term goal is to serve my community by developing a low-cost clinic where the underserved can access primary oral health care. Some of my dearest friends at my church are in medical school, and we spend a lot of time discussing and planning to develop clinics for the underserved.
I have volunteered at free healthcare clinic events and fairs and Oklahoma Mission of Mercy events, a 2-day free dental clinic held at a different location annually throughout the State of Oklahoma. I also have been volunteering at my church as a translator for a group of Korean immigrants who struggle with English. For the past five years, I've been helping some of them with doctor visits and banks or running errands weekly.
I have worked as a dental lab technician in training for one year at XXXX Dental, where I learned a great deal about dentistry. I also had the privilege to shadow and assist Dr. XXXX XXXX at XXXX Smiles for three years, during which I explored the dental profession extensively. The shadowing experience helped me appreciate the importance of developing and maintaining highly efficient dental office procedures, solidifying my interest in dentistry, and learning much about doctor-patient relations.
My personal and professional goals are to help low-income families, collaborate with charities and non-profit organizations, and participate in dental missionary activity, even though my undocumented status currently limits me. I am close with friends who visit South America each year on a medical/dental mission. I look forward to going on dental care missions to where I am most needed on at least an annual basis. My dream of providing dental care to those most in need in the Developing World is another reason I would like to serve for some years as a dentist in the military. It would be excellent training for the dental missionary activity I seek to engage in. My experience as an undocumented, financially struggling immigrant has helped me stay humble yet diligent. It has also made me acutely aware of the importance of dental care for the underserved.