We recently caught up with Akeem Bentick, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and alumnus of Warrior-Scholar Project at Texas A&M University. Akeem is currently finishing his last semester as a philosophy major at Pacific Lutheran University in Washington state. He recently found out he was accepted to dental school at the University of Washington School of Dentistry.
WSP: Congrats on being accepted to dental school! How did WSP help you achieve your educational goals?
Akeem Bentick: WSP equipped me with the tools needed to be successful in academia. During my time at WSP, I was in the process of transferring universities, which was very difficult and painful for me. I had to acclimate to a new environment while adapting new routines for myself. Attending WSP gave me the confidence I needed to prepare for the tough road ahead of me. Whenever my semester gets stressful, I regularly refresh myself with the material I learned in the WSP to help me complete the semester in practical ways.
WSP: How did you know you wanted to pursue a health profession, and dentistry in particular?
AB: While growing up, I always had a strong unexplainable desire to work in the healthcare field. I spent a lot of time praying and contemplating my particular niche during my first two years in college. I decided to check out the field of dentistry since I’ve always enjoyed visiting the dentist growing up. The summer after my sophomore year, I spoke with the health advising community at California Baptist University to find shadowing opportunities in the local area. To my luck, I found an opportunity to shadow a dentist two hours away from my residence. I was excited to start as soon as possible despite the long commute, so much so that I arrived two hours early on my first day. When I began shadowing in the dental clinic at the Dream Center in Los Angeles, I instantly knew that I wanted to be a dentist. I love the hands-on nature of the work and the patient care aspect as well. After witnessing the radical life-changing impact that dentistry was able to make in the lives of people, I knew that this was where I belonged.
WSP: Before you attended WSP, would you have felt confident to pursue a career in dentistry?
AB: Participating in the Warrior-Scholar Project prepared me well for my pursuit of dental school. Balancing both my philosophy classes and pre-dental prerequisites was very demanding because I had to exercise grit and a lot of patience with myself. WSP taught me that I can succeed as long as I was willing to work for it. Even more so, it showed me that I was not alone on my academic journey. I owe my success and gratitude to many people including the staff at WSP. My voyage thus far reflects the time and investment that WSP has poured into me.
WSP: What advice do you have for other veterans who might have similar post-transition career goals as you?
AB: My greatest advice to veterans who are pursuing a career in healthcare is to always be humble enough to seek help. You will be surprised by the many resources that are available to veterans who reach out for assistance and are willing to receive it.
To learn more about Warrior-Scholar Project and how it can help you or other military veterans succeed in higher education, visit warrior-scholar.org.