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I Am a Dentist

Otterbein University offers many opportunities for students to get involved on campus. For most people, building houses with Habitat for Humanity and joining Alpha Epsilon Delta, the health professional honorary society, would be enough to keep busy. But Curtis Baker wanted to do more. He discovered that Otterbein didn’t offer the program that he was interested in, so he set about making changes.

In December 2012, Curtis traveled to Lima, Peru with the MEDLIFE chapter at The Ohio State University. MEDLIFE allows students to travel to South America to participate in mobile health clinics, which help benefit underprivileged communities.

“I enjoyed the experience so much that I had to pass it on to students here at Otterbein, so I decided to start a MEDLIFE chapter on campus,” he said. 

“While in Peru, I gained a whole new outlook on life that I didn’t think I could have. I learned to take nothing for granted, no matter what, and to always find the positive in everything. I learned to appreciate simple things such as electricity, steady food, clean water, and loving parents at home every night. I cannot wait for more students to go and experience the memories I had the chance to capture.”

As an aspiring dentist, Curtis has volunteered at a free dental clinic to assist dentists in serving people in need of dental work. He also found inspiration from professor of biology and earth science, Dr. Michael Hoggarth. 

“(Dr. Hoggarth’s) outlook on life is contagious because of his sense of humor. He always has a sense of humor that brings everyone’s mood up when they’re around him,” Curtis said. “He is a tough, but fair, professor that knows a ton in his field of expertise. He taught me a wide variety of things, while not making me dislike the material, like some professors do. I hope to keep in touch with him throughout my life and to one day show him some of my successes.”

Curtis has overcome a lot in his quest to become a dentist. Not just academically, but also in his personal life.

“My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time my junior year. She never was going to let cancer beat her, so I used that same mentality in my studies. I wasn’t going to let one test, nor one course, ruin my dream of one day becoming a dentist,” he said.