D.D.S. Class of 2015
Before choosing to attend the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry, Kandice Klepper, now a third-year dental student, was not planning on a career path in dentistry.
She started her career at VCU in 2008 as a drug development researcher in the Department of Anesthesiology. Around the same time, a friend encouraged Klepper to participate in a Missions of Mercy Project in Grundy, Va. The dental outreach event, which took place on her birthday, opened her eyes to all that dentistry could offer.
“It was through my participation with mission of mercy that I realized dentistry incorporated health care and artistry, and those were a lot of qualities that I wanted in a career,” said Klepper.
Klepper continued working in the lab, using her vacation time to squeeze in 100 hours of shadowing, until she was accepted into dental school. Her shadowing helped her during her early clinical experiences. “One of the strengths that I feel is most important about the VCU D.D.S. program is the fact that students are introduced to the clinic at such an early point in their career,” Klepper said. “We're introduced in the clinic in our first semester, and I think that's wonderful.”
Aside from her studies, Klepper takes an active role in student activities and organized dentistry as a way of preparing for her future and advises prospective students to do the same. “We have a wealth of knowledge at VCU – some faculty have been practicing for over 35 years – so just take it all in, and don't just stick to the bookwork,” shared Klepper. “Really get involved, get involved in our organized dentistry and the activities – there’s really so many outlets to utilize while you're in dental school and really learn and become a well-rounded dentist before you graduate.”