Fourth-year D.D.S. student
Few students, if any, have traveled as far as Ruth Molokwu to get to the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry.
“I am originally from Nigeria, but there’s not much in terms of options for dental school there,” Molokwu said. “I think there’s only one school in the whole country that even has a dental school that operates on a regular basis. So I had to come to the U.S.”
Now a fourth-year D.D.S. student, Molokwu’s interest in the field of dentistry began after she experienced firsthand the positive impact the profession could have.
“My younger sister had an extra tooth that required surgery,” she said. “But since back in Nigeria, dentistry is considered a luxury, it wasn’t really a necessity to my family. So she never fully smiled in pictures or when meeting people.”
When she finally underwent surgery successfully, her sister’s whole outlook changed, providing Molokwu with the drive to pursue dentistry as a career.
“As a dentist, you can actually see the effect you have on people’s lives,” she said.
Thanks to the efforts of her family, who helped provide the opportunity for her to come to the U.S., Molokwu has been able to pursue her goal. After completing her undergraduate work at Northern Illinois University, Molokwu joined the VCU School of Dentistry in 2008, drawn to its sense of community and small class sizes.
“I was really impressed by VCU’s diversity and when I came for my interview, everyone just seemed genuinely interested in me,” she said. “That is indicative of the program overall: You really get the feeling that the faculty, staff and even the other students are there to help you.”