Wednesday, February 8, 2012

We Have a Future Dentist in the House!

It is with great joy that we celebrate Nick's acceptance into the UNC School of Dentistry! Some of you may remember his journey up to this point, but I thought it might be fun to look back at some memorable steps along the way.

Nick took his first dental mission trip to Honduras in the summer of 2007 and by the end of the week, actually got his hands in people's mouths, confirming that this was what he wanted to do. The setting was primitive to say the least, but the people were brave and grateful for relief from the pain many of them were experiencing due to rotten teeth.

Here he is graduating from UNC in May of 2009 with his degree in Biomedical Engineering, minoring in Chemistry. It DID take him five years, but he loved it and did very well.

Wanting to travel a bit and explore the west coast, he moved out to Oakland, CA in August of 2009 and earned a good living as an amateur online poker player.

Unfortunately Multiple Myeloma entered our lives in January of 2010 and Nick came back east to work from home and help out as his dad underwent treatments and a stem cell transplant.

In the Fall of 2010 he began diligently studying for the Dental Admission Test (DAT) in order to take it in December. Here is the schedule he mapped out, and a picture of him after he dominated the test, despite exhaustion and a terrible cold. We were so proud of how hard he studied and how disciplined he was, deeply desiring to do well.


In January of 2011 off he went to Cuzco, Peru for three months to volunteer with with IVHQ, eventually working under a Peruvian dentist. Here is the lovely extraction chair...yikes!

 He became much more fluent in Spanish and met lots of interesting people from all over the world, of course traveling whenever he had a free moment. The highlight of the trip was his hike up to Machu Picchu with three friends who had flown over. Amazing...

In April Nick returned home to begin getting all his materials together for applying to dental schools. Unfortunately for him, the FBI froze all the poker sites and went after the executives for tax fraud, so Nick suddenly found himself without a "job" or source of income.

So what did he do? He decided to work as a lifeguard and began the process of certification, eventually landing a sweet job less than a half mile from our house.

As the end of the summer drew near, Nick decided it was time to look for a "real" job as he waited for word on interviews and hopefully acceptance to one of the four schools he applied to (UNC, ECU, Midwestern, and VCU). Enter a pharmaceutical services company whose global headquarters is in Durham. Nick was hired in November as a simulation analyst on a joint venture, working in Indianapolis Monday-Thursday, and either from home or in Durham on Fridays. He finds it challenging and thoroughly enjoys working in both cities (no he didn't get tickets to the Super Bowl) and feels like a perfect fit for the job he is doing. He felt blessed to be where he is, should he not be accepted to dental school, but definitely hoped he would get interviews. Here he is (reluctantly posing for a picture) on his first day of training as a bonafide full-time employee with a Blackberry, laptop, office space, benefits and badge!

He heard first from ECU and spent a morning in late September at their facility interviewing with faculty and dental students. He was impressed with their program and just waited to hear whether or not he would be accepted. Then came the interview on January 7th at UNC...totally at home back on the campus. Then all he could do was wait. On January 26th, he got the call from one of the members of the admission committee that had interviewed him at UNC. HE WAS ACCEPTED and would become part of the Class of 2016, the first class to graduate from the new state of the art dental school facilities...a far cry from Honduras and Peru! He sent in his deposit last Saturday and will begin orientation in August (hopefully he will be able to continue working at his current job until then!). 

And so he will begin another exciting chapter in his life, back to the books and a campus he loves, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. We are so grateful for his help, love and support these past two years, as his dad battled multiple myeloma. He unselfishly gave up his independence and new life in California to move back home, and get us up on our feet again, and we have thoroughly enjoyed spending this time with him. We are thankful he will be just up the road and look forward to great things in his future. We love you Nick and are so proud of you!

Mom and Dad


  1. Congratulations to Nick for his efforts paying off and congratulations to you two for raising such a neat guy! Thinking if I have a cavity now is 2016 too long to wait?

  2. How exciting for him! Congratulations for being accepted to UNC - I am sure he will be right back at home at his alma mater!

  3. exciting stuff! i know you guys are so proud of what he has already accomplished and what he will continue to do. congrats.

  4. Congratulations Nick! What an amazing accomplishment!

  5. I am just so so so proud of Nick. Loved your recap of everything he's done over the past couple years too. Can't wait to celebrate with him!

  6. Congratulations to Nick - and you two too - it will be handy having a 'family' dentist with the need to keep an eye on EZ's teeth. :D

  7. Very excited for Nick! He has worked very hard and it has paid off. I know you all are so proud. Congrats!

  8. What a great recap!!! Loved the pictures and his journey to now... We are so proud of Nick!!!!

  9. Congratulations to the entire family!

  10. Very remember able for Nick. Photographs are so live.Really an amazing accomplishment. Thanks for sharing. Family Dentist