Kayla Weatherwax

First Impression - Predoctoral

Hometown: St. Johns, Michigan

Chapter: Michigan

Graduation Year: 2019

Position Held At Chapter: Predental Committee


What inspired you to become a dentist?
Growing up, I knew that I wanted to do something in the health care field. I shadowed at a local dental office in my hometown and was offered an after-school position as a clinical assistant. I fell in love with all aspects of dentistry. I worked with so many amazing professionals and witnessed so many patients’ lives changed. It is amazing what a simple change in a smile can do for one’s self-confidence. I often get the question of, “Why do you want to work inside people’s mouths all day?” My reply is simple. I get to spend every day helping people function better, feel better and smile bigger. Dentistry is not just a health care service — it is an art form. And just like a piece of art, a dentist can shape and mold a patient’s smile into a masterpiece, one that both the dentist and the patient can be proud of. 

Before starting dental school, I wish I had known…
How our class would develop into a community of well-rounded individuals who would become some of my best friends. Dental school may seem competitive to most, especially while you are applying, but that definitely does not last throughout dental school. Our class helps each other when someone is in need, and you can always find a smiling face around every corner of the building. I will cherish the memories that were formed and the friendships that I made for the rest of my life! 

What is your favorite thing about your current year in dental school?
At University of Michigan, D4s go on three-month long rotations throughout the school year. These rotations give us the ability to work with dentists in the state at Federally Qualified Health Care Centers or community clinics. These rotations also allow us to experience different offices and dental products and technology. You also get to experience the dynamic of a dental team and how everyone works together to provide the best care for the patients. We are given a real-life experience of dentistry before we graduate and are able to help those in need throughout the state.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in dental school so far?
Don’t sweat the small stuff. There are times that dental school can get frustrating, or you feel that you don’t know what you are doing. Lean on your friends and classmates, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Faculty also are great resources and love to lend a helping hand when you are lost or don’t understand something.  

What is your favorite place you’ve traveled and why?
I traveled to France for two weeks before starting college. I dreamed about going to Paris ever since taking my first French class in eighth grade. I stayed with a French family during my trip and went to high school with my host sister. I absolutely loved learning about and experiencing a different culture in such a dynamic way. 

What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?
Growing up a die-hard Michigan State Spartans fan and going to Michigan State University for undergrad, my family groaned at the thought of having a Michigan Wolverine in the family. I had to admit, I was nervous about how everyone would take my fandom of the enemy school. But to my surprise, I met 17 fellow Michigan State graduates on day one of orientation, and we still wear green and white every year on game day. They have softened me, somewhat, as I now wear maize and blue to every game besides the MSU game. 

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
The best piece of advice that I have ever received is in the form of a quote that one of my best friends sent me when I first started dental school: “Great leaders don’t set out to be a leader; they set out to make a difference. It’s never about the role, but always about the goal.” This has stuck with me throughout dental school. I want to be able to make a difference in my community and be a small part of a greater group improving the lives of others. Dentistry isn’t about how much money you can make or how many letters are behind your name. It is about being the best clinician you can be and always putting your patients’ well-being first. 

What are you looking forward to most after graduation?
I am looking forward to getting the chance to travel to Europe with my identical twin sister. She and I have been together from birth to undergrad and were college roomies. The first time that I moved to a different city or even a different place to live was dental school. We’ve been planning our European adventure for a couple of months, and it will be an amazing way to celebrate graduation and spend some quality sister time, exploring different countries.