Dental Student Profile: Georgia Blackwell

Dental Student Profile: Georgia Blackwell

“I hope that I can leave a legacy of kindness throughout my time at the Hunt School of Dental Medicine and afterward. I know that dental school will get stressful and demanding for the entire class, but if I can make one person’s day better with a smile, joke or a pat on the back, I know I’ve achieved my goal.”

Tell us about your background. Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school?

I grew up on a cattle ranch in a small town south of Dallas called Venus, Texas, with a population of a little over 5,000 people. I attended Grandview High School and continued my education at Oklahoma State University. I majored in biochemistry and molecular biology with a minor in general business. During my undergraduate career, I conducted nutritional science research, studied abroad in Italy and Switzerland, and served as president of the Pre-Dental Club. I was awarded multiple honors, including the Ferguson College of Agriculture Dean’s Award of Excellence, OSU Senior of Significance and the National Junior Angus Association Gold Award.

Who or what moment inspired you to go into dentistry?

Growing up in the agricultural industry, I realized that I wanted to serve individuals who spend their lives providing food and clothing for the rest of society. I found that dentistry is usually ignored in rural areas, so I want to advocate for those who are lacking in dental providers. Not everyone can go hours out of their way for a dentist appointment. Having more dental professionals in rural areas will promote more agriculturalists to have routine dental care.

How does it feel to be part of the inaugural class at the Hunt School of Dental Medicine?

It’s an absolute honor to be selected for such an experience. I am so, so excited to make history in Texas dentistry along with this class. I’m ready to meet everyone else within the class and see how our similarities and differences will make us stronger together. I hope to build a community among each other and make connections that last a lifetime.

Do you have any mentors who have helped you along the way?

My university has given me so many wonderful, successful people to look up to. To me, I’ve really strived off the mentorship from my department head, Dr. John Gustafson at Oklahoma State University. I was able to study abroad with him during undergrad. His attention to detail, leadership style, and professional success have really stood out to me and showed me how to be a better student and leader. 

Do you have any family you would like to mention?

I would like to mention my parents, Clint and Kelly Blackwell. They’ve always supported my goals and have been my most prominent advocates. They taught me how to stand up for myself and gave me the confidence to apply for awards that I would have never had the courage to. I would also like to mention my fiancé, Tanyon Hejny. He’s been a massive part of my support system and is always there to pick me up when I’m at my lowest.

What challenges have made you who you are?

Growing up, I had a speech impediment, but I eventually overcame it after years of speech therapy. However, it somewhat diminished my public speaking confidence and ability. I have spent most of my undergraduate career learning and forcing myself to participate in leadership experiences that would help me break out of my shell and grow my confidence in speaking. 

What do you like most about El Paso or what do you find unique about the region?

What I love about El Paso is the community. It’s such a unique blend of people with backgrounds, hopes and dreams different from other parts of Texas. I think it’s the perfect place to cultivate a new dental school and foster growing professionals of all ages. I’ve never lived in a desert environment, so I’m excited about all the outdoor activities that I’ll be able to experience in the region.