“I truly believe that the Hunt School of Dental Medicine admissions committee deserves all the credit for choosing 40 individuals who are so caring and interested in helping each other succeed. It makes the dental school experience even more enjoyable.”
Tell us a little about your background. Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school?
My name is Michelle Ortiz, formerly Michelle Hernandez. I recently married my high school sweetheart on our 10th anniversary. I’m a native El Pasoan and attended public schools, including Silva Health Magnet High School. I graduated from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, with a degree in communication disorders and a minor in counseling and educational psychology.
Why is the Hunt School of Dental Medicine the best place for you?
I believe the school offers so much to the students, faculty and community it serves. I especially like that the school encourages us to immerse ourselves in the unique culture found throughout the Borderland. It’s been nothing short of a dream come true to be part of the inaugural class in my hometown.
What aspects of the unique curriculum are you most looking forward to?
Working with patients all four years will further prepare me to become a compassionate health care provider, which I believe is the most important part of becoming a dentist. I also believe the flipped classroom teaching style will allow me to learn from my classmates and their unique background experiences.
What will be the most satisfying part of dental school?
The most satisfying part of dental school will be seeing my classmates and myself accomplish our goals. We’re forming bonds that will last a lifetime, and I’m excited to succeed together.
What kind of impact do you hope to have on the community as a dental student at the Hunt School of Dental Medicine? And after?
I want to give back to the community that’s raised me and shaped me into the person I am today. I plan to serve El Paso as a general dentist promoting oral health education throughout the Borderland.
Do you have any mentors who have helped you along the way?
My experience working as a dental assistant in El Paso under my mentor, Jim Bowden, D.D.S., introduced me to the importance of fostering a positive team environment and leadership skills that I hope will describe me as a dentist one day.
Have you received any life-changing support you would like to mention?
I’m a recipient of the GECU Foundation Scholarship. This scholarship is more than a generous financial contribution toward my educational career. It signifies the opportunity and blessings that come from my community. I’m humbled and thankful to be a recipient of this scholarship because it shows me that although the journey toward becoming a dentist may be tough, I have the support of my community and peers to push me through.
What are your interests and hobbies?
I enjoy embroidery and have recently picked up cycling to manage stress and stay healthy.
Do you have any family you would like to mention?
My mom has been one of my biggest supporters throughout this journey. She studied dental medicine in her hometown of Zacatecas, Mexico, and continues working in the dental field as a dental hygienist here in El Paso. After procedures, I call her to ask her for pointers and advice for treating patients. This has taken our already close bond to a new level.