Now 25 years old, I have spent the last 10 years getting to know the USA; especially where I live in Oklahoma, learning English and adjusting to American culture. I have had my sights set on dentistry as my chosen profession, my calling, for several years now.
We left our native Korea when I was 15 and I immediately started high school in Oklahoma. 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 passions for dental medicine; witnessing my own family suffering from the lack of proper oral care, I came to realize that selfless service is what a dentist provides on a daily basis, and I became committed to my career goal of achieving the fullest level of contribution to my community through dentistry as human service.
My dream is to develop a dental practice that is specially geared towards the increasing numbers of immigrants in Oklahoma – those that 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 to come. I feel strongly that dental care is optimized as a result of the level of quality communication between doctor and patient; and, thus, it is enhanced when doctor and patient have the same understanding, which is why I seek heavy levels of engagement as a dentist for the underserved community.
Like many Korean immigrants to America, I am passionate about peace and security, not only here 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, serving the military as a dentist is one of the career options that I will be exploring down the road.
My long term goal is to serve my community by developing a low-cost clinic, where the underserved would be able to access basic oral health care. Some of my dearest friends at my church are in medical school and we spend a lot of time talking about and planning for the development of clinics for the underserved.
I have volunteered at free healthcare clinic events and fairs as well as 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. Every week for the past 5 years I've been helping some of them with visits to the doctor's office, banks, or running other errands.
I have worked as a dental lab technician in training for one year at XXXX Dental where I've learned a great deal about dentistry. I also had the privilege to shadow and assist Dr. Mark XXXX at XXXX Smiles for 3 years, during which I was able to extensively explore the dental professions. The shadowing experience has helped me to appreciate the importance of developing and maintaining highly efficient dental office procedures, solidify my interest in the field of dentistry, as well as learning a great deal about doctor-patient relations.
My central professional goal in life is to help low-income families through cooperation with different charities and non-profit organizations. I have long wanted to participate in dental missionary activity even though I am currently limited by my undocumented status; especially because 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 why I would like very much to serve for some years as a dentist for the military, as it would be especially good training for decades of mission activity that would follow.
My personal experience as an undocumented, financially-struggling immigrant helped me to be humble, yet diligent and it also made me particularly aware of the importance of dental care to the underserved. It will be my firm intention to excel as a dental student and I undertake to apply all my diligence, hard work, and passion throughout my education and career practice.