“I want to help others in need of dental services, especially those in underserved communities, to smile and improve their oral health.”
Christine Mendoza, College of Dental Medicine-Illinois, Class of 2024

Christine has a Master of Science in Medical Physiology and a Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her hometown is Darien, IL.

What inspired you to pursue a healthcare career?

My family inspired me to pursue a career in dentistry because I saw how improving oral hygiene can affect a person’s overall health. My youngest sister was in pain due to extensive cavities growing up, to the point where she would not want to eat. Being the oldest, I would take care of my sisters while my parents were at work. I felt helpless not being able to do anything to relieve my sister’s tooth pain. Luckily, a generous dentist provided our family with free dental care when we could not afford it. I saw a dramatic change in my sister’s quality of life as she finally had a pain-free smile. I want to help others in need of dental services, especially those in underserved communities to smile and improve their oral health.

How did your background and history factor into your career choice?

I am a first-generation student and the oldest child in my family. It was difficult growing up with divorced parents and experiencing the struggle of making ends meet. Dentistry would provide me with financial stability and a good work schedule to raise a family. Dentistry would also allow me to create smiles and help people in the community improve their overall health.

Why did you decide to attend Midwestern University?

I attended Midwestern University because I would be able to stay close to my family. I also chose Midwestern for the state-of-the-art clinic and resources that are available for us to use. The amazing faculty-to-student ratio was also enticing.

What about a Midwestern University education do you want to carry forward in your career?

Midwestern University taught me to view a case comprehensively and consider how to improve the patient’s overall health. I learned to listen and gather good quality information from the patient to aid in their diagnosis. Then use evidence-based dentistry to provide quality treatment that best fits their situation. These are useful planning and clinical skills that I will keep with me throughout my career.

Why is it important for Midwestern University to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month?

It is important for Midwestern University to celebrate Hispanic Heritage month along with other cultures because we are all unique. It allows us to come together and share with others who we are as a person. We all have a story, come from diverse backgrounds, and had different experiences that helped shaped us into who we are today. It is a way we can celebrate diversity and learn more about the strong presence and culture of the Hispanic community.

What do you wish others knew about your culture?

Our culture has a strong focus on family as it is an extremely important part of shaping our identity. We pass down many stories, traditions, and delicious recipes from generation to generation to keep in touch with our roots.

Anything else you'd like to add?

Continuing education is crucial to have as we carry forward in the future. Not just to increase our knowledge in our specific profession, but also to benefit our society through awareness of other cultures and backgrounds. If we take the time to listen, learn from, and understand each other, we can collaborate and create something extraordinary.

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