Iry Tak

Iry Tak

D.D.S. Class of 2016

As a child, Iry Tak never enjoyed going to the dentist.

"I actually never wanted to become a dentist," recalls Tak, now a second-year D.D.S. student at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry. "I was one of those traumatized kids."

Tak, a Korean native who moved to Orlando, Fla., intended to study pharmacy at VCU when a friend in the pre-dental club invited her to assist as a volunteer with the SRTA board exam at the School of Dentistry.

"I assisted a fourth year dental student, and when I saw her treating the patients from beginning to the end, it actually opened my eyes because I realized there is so much more to dentistry than what I was used to. At that point I wanted to see what dentistry was all about."

Tak started volunteering at CrossOver Healthcare Ministry's free dental clinic in Richmond.

"I wanted to really see if this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, so I continued to volunteer and saw the health care providers, including dentists, giving up their time to serve the community — that's when I got really hooked on it, that's when I knew this is what I wanted to do."

Tak, a 2013 receipient of the Karen and Warren Sachs Scholarship, is grateful for the generosity of alumni and friends and wants to continue to give back after finishing school, perhaps returning to teach, to contribute as an alumnus and to serve at the CrossOver dental clinic, this time as a clinician.

"I want to be able to give back to the community, give back to the school and give back to the students — that's my goal."