Dilmarys Peña

Dilmarys Peña

D.D.S. Class of 2014

When Dilmarys Peña, moved from Queens, N.Y., to Long Island as a child, she switched to new dentist whom she now refers to as her dental dad.

"I just fell in love with the office," said Peña, now a fourth-year D.D.S. student at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry. "I walked in and — it sounds kind of geeky but — I saw autoclaves roaring and all the instruments and different colors. I was just drawn to the office in general and the staff was really young and fun."

Peña asked her dentist if she could volunteer and observe in his practice on the weekends.

"He didn't think, after I saw blood, that I would come back," said Peña, "but I actually ended up coming back every Saturday from age 10 until 14, volunteering and cleaning up rooms. When I turned 14, the office trained me as a part-time dental assistant."

With support from her dental office and family, Peña joined the VCU School of Dentistry in 2010, drawn to its reputation and community outreach activities. After graduation, she hopes to complete a General Practice Residency and practice general dentistry for families.