Network of Success

While many children dread a trip to the dentist, Deborah Simmers ‘15 found a passion for dentistry because of the positive relationships she built through frequent orthodontist visits. 

“I had braces following the placement of a palatal expander, which was daunting for a ten year old girl,” said the native of Anchorage, Alaska. “But over time, I began to see how dentists can make an impact on the lives of their patients and I thought it could be a way I serve and help others.”

Simmers began shadowing dentists and quickly discovered the importance of oral health relative to overall health. She enrolled at Malone as a transfer student to study chemistry, knowing that it would be challenging. She wanted a strong network of support to help prepare her for dental school.

“Malone helped me break past the barrier of embarrassment when I needed to ask for help,” she said. “If I was struggling to understand something in my chemistry courses, I could go to Dr. Chen and Dr. Goff to get clarification. Nobody looked down on me for needing help.”

Simmers, who played basketball for the Pioneers for two seasons, is attending East Carolina University School of Dental Medicine (ECU). She credited the experience she had in the classroom at Malone as one that prepared her to tackle professional school coursework with integrity and zeal.

“Much like when I was at Malone, when I collaborate with my dental school faculty members and peers, they see that I care about what I am studying,” she said. “We have frequent hands-on skills assessments, and I continue to feel supported along the way.”

She advocated for herself to gain the best experience her time at Malone had to offer. 

“College is the first step you take towards the career you want,” she said. “Make it a priority to learn all you can. The faculty and staff at Malone are ready to help you.”