Hometown: Atlanta, GA
Name of Undergraduate Institution: Tennessee State University
Major(s)/Minor(s) in College: Biology Major; Chemistry Minor
Name of Dental School: Tufts University School of Dental Medicine
Favorite Quote: “The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion.”
LinkedIn: DeVonte Johnson, M.S.
Where are you currently at in your career path and why did you decide to pursue this career path?
Currently, I am a first-year dental student at Tufts University in Boston, MA. I have always had an interest in health care but dentistry came on my radar my sophomore year of college. Simultaneously, I coined myself as “Dr. Dental”. The more I began to explore the field and embrace and build my personal brand, the deeper I fell in love with dentistry. Now I am pursuing my Doctorate of Dental Medicine and plan on using my platform and education to be a global advocate for oral health care.
If you could go back and have a chat with your naïve college freshman self, what would you tell him?
Create more. “Shoot more shots.”
College is a safe haven for you to create as much as you want before you are off in the real world. There were so many ideas and events that I wanted to create but I didn’t harness enough energy to focus on myself and my thoughts outside of academics. Looking in hindsight, I would have definitely shifted my perspective.
Interestingly enough, many of the top brands and companies are marketing to young adults, 18-25 year olds. Individuals within this age range determine what’s cool and what’s not cool. They significantly influence people outside of this age range to conduct themselves in a certain manner. So, the question is where are most 18-25 year olds? College campuses! As a student at one of these universities, you have the opportunity to expose your brand or idea to roughly 5,000 to 25,000 trusted supporters. Why wouldn’t you take advantage of this opportunity?
Do you have another professional degree? If so, how has it impacted you?
I obtained a Master of Biomedical Sciences at Duke University. This degree gave me an opportunity to take more rigorous science courses. Many times, during my undergraduate education, I wasn’t completely focused when I needed to be. This wasn’t brought to my attention until I began to study for the Dental Admission Test (DAT). Instead of reviewing the material for the exam, it seemed more like me relearning the information. I had to make unnecessary sacrifices to prepare for the exam because I didn’t take full advantage of my undergraduate education.
My program at Duke gave me the opportunity to take classes that would mirror my first year of dental school. From Gross Anatomy to Histology, these classes have now given me a heads up on majority of my classmates and I am forever grateful for it.
What did you do during the summer before you started dental school?
Aside from my studies, I have deemed myself as a “lifelong servant”. Through my service, I have established oral health programs locally and globally. Most recently, I traveled to Kampala, Uganda for a second time to conduct the Smile for Uganda campaign. For a country of 30 million, Uganda has roughly 350 dentists. To address this dire need, the campaign focuses on oral health awareness and intervention. Through a partnership with International Paramedical Institute-Maya, they set up free clinics throughout the year to attack these issues head on. This is just the beginning of the project but I plan to continue to build the brand to serve more underserved populations.
What is it like attending school in your city?
Boston has been an amazing city thus far. This is the mecca of education. Each and every day I am immersed in a culture of academic excellence that pushes me beyond my limits.
Thanks a ton for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us DeVonte! You are much appreciated for everything you do! The advice you gave about shooting more shots is fantastic, and the work you've done in Uganda so far is amazing! You have a very bright future ahead of you man! Best of luck to you in all of your future endeavors!
Posted on December 27th, 2017