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  • 7/28/2019 Final Ethnography ENC 1102


    Trials and Tribulations of Past, Present, and Future DentistsKristen Spencer

    ENC 1102 Matthew Bryan

  • 7/28/2019 Final Ethnography ENC 1102


    The Beginning of the Rest of your life; Starts HereThe journey was long but I finally did it. I made it through the four long years of high school and now I

    was off, on my own, to the University of Central Florida for freshman orientation. It was summer 2011 when I

    drove up the winding road that is Central Florida Blvd and my eyes were opened to new beginnings as I entered

    campus. I circled campus in awe of what was in front of me, imagining the new and exciting life that I would

    create in Orlando. I pulled into garage B and followed the signs to the check in center at the Libra Dorms. I wasescorted to the room I was staying, placed my bags down, and jumped on the bed that was up against the white

    brick wall. I took a look around the cold white room and a sea of emotions rushed at me like a tidal wave.

    Sitting in that room by myself was the first time that everything became real for me; in a month in a half Iwould be on my own, making my own decisions, and taking on new responsibilities. With these new

    realizations in tow, I prepared myself for the long weekend I had waiting for me when the sun rose in the


    I met up with my friend in the morning and we made our way over to the Student Union for the

    welcome meeting. Front and center, we watched the O-Teamers perform their dance to get the incomingfreshman excited that they chose UCF as their school. After a few presentations we were split off into groupsand given a tour around campus stopping at various landmarks on our way. After a long day of stop and go, we

    came back to the Student Union. We were then split into groups again, but this time it was according to our

    major. I sat timidly in the back row of Sand Key 220 and I paid close attention as Anna Maria Schwindt started

    to talk. Anna Maria is one of the advisors for Biomedical Science majors at UCF; her job is to scare you intodoing your work so you can get into professional school, and let me tell you, she did. As she talked I could feel

    my eyes widening and my heart racing. Am I cut out for this? I thought. Do I have what it takes?

    And at that moment of panic, a calming force came into the room; The Pre-Professional Medical Society(PPMS). As I would find out, The Pre-Professional Medical Society is a club at UCF that caters to all pre-health

    students. At the time the president was Leslie and the Vice-President was Shay and as they gave their

    presentation there was an odd calm in the room. How could the thought of joining a club make everyone seem

    so at ease? The answer is simple. Even though the club pertains the future of students, it is where you can meetnew people and have fun while still doing something to benefit your future. I joined PPMS my freshman year

    and became an honors member and my sophomore year I became a director for the volunteer coordinator.

    Going into my junior year, I was elected president of PPMS; it is exciting to see how the club has grown andhow I have grown with the club.

    Before a student endeavors into a career in dentistry I feel that it is important to understand past

    literacies that evolved into what we study today.

    History of Dentistry

    Dentistry, defined by the American Dental Association, is the evaluation, diagnosis, prevention and/ortreatment (nonsurgical, surgical, or related procedures) of diseases, disorders and/or conditions of the oral

    cavity, maxillofacial area and/or the adjacent and associated structures and their impact on the human body;

    provided by a dentist, within the scope of his/her education, training and experience, in accordance with the

    ethics of the profession and applicable law (ADA 1997). This definition was adopted in 1997 but dentistry hasbeen a practicing art since the early Egyptians (Slavkin 28-35). The first dentist in ancient Egypt was Hesi-Re

    (Slavkin 28-35). He used gold wire to bind replacement teeth together; dated back to 3000 BC (Slavkin 28-35).

    Later evidence of dentistry was discovered in Rome dating back to 700 BC (Slavkin 28-35). The Romans used

    bones, eggshells, and oyster shells mixed with oils to clean teeth (Slavkin 28-35).

    Jumping to 1530, we find the first textbook published about dentistry; originally written in German and

    later translated to English (Woodmansey 1052-61). Dentistry wasnt always an educated profession; dentists

    were trained by apprenticeship with experienced practitioners (Woodmansey 1052-61). It wasnt until 1839 thatthe first dental school, The Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, was opened (Woodmansey 1052-61). Dentists

  • 7/28/2019 Final Ethnography ENC 1102


    were now educated with literacies passed on from generations before and discovering new ones throughout their

    academic journey.

    With the development of dental schools sweeping the nation, new and profound

    dental literacies were also evolving. The first dental journal, American Journal ofDental Science, was published on June 1, 1839 (Woodmansey 1052-61). Spawning

    from this journal came many others containing articles on new treatment plans, disease

    prevention research, new techniques and other similar topics. In todays world there are

    approximately 7,000 new scientific articles written every day pertaining to dentistry(Woodmansey 1052-61).

    Dentistry has evolved tremendously

    from the ancient Egyptians and has been apopular career choice for many undergraduate

    students to pursue. It is a rigorous field to get into and because of that

    the undergraduate work is extensive and can be intimidating to some.

    By using research that I have done and interviews that I conducted, Iwill explain the different literacies associated with the different aspects

    of pursuing dentistry as a career. The overall goal: create a guide that

    inexperienced undergraduate students can use to help them on their pre-

    dental journey by using personal experiences from my interviewees.

    Defining Literacies

    When asked about literacy sponsors pertaining to dentistry, one may not think that there are none.

    However, I can think of several literacy sponsors that have guided me to pursue a career in dentistry. First, letme define a literacy sponsor with the help of Deborah Brandt. Brandt defines a literacy sponsor as a person,

    place, or idea that has influenced the student; the influence can be positive or negative (Brandt 1-24). She

    describes literacy sponsorship and the ideas that they are teaching as a snowball effect in which the student

    can develop (Brandt 1-24).

    When I was four, I went to the dentist for the first time. I was nervous at first but my mom calmed medownby saying that Dr. Johnny was my aunts dentist when she was a little girl. When I was waiting in the

    office my mother asked me if I wanted her to come back with me, Dr. Johnny came out with a big smile on his

    face and a giraffe button on his lab coat and I bravely went back to get my teeth cleaned. I remember sitting inthe huge green chairs asking question after question about what all the different tools were and what they were

    going to do next. From that day forward I always loved going to the dentist. I always prided myself on being the

    self-proclaimed best brusher and cavity free. I even dressed up as a dentist in second grade for Halloween.

    When I entered middle school it was time to go to the other side of the office, the orthodontics side.

    Eric Pleasants article Literacy Sponsors and Learning: An Ethnography of Punk Literacy in Mid-1980s

    Waco, describes the process of studying a subculture (Pleasant 137-144). He states, it is interesting to look at

    the origins of different behaviors, beliefs, terminology, and ultimately all of the different elements that define it.(Pleasant 137-144) My experiences can relate to Pleasant in many ways. When I was in sixth grade I got my

    braces on and I loved seeing the X-rays and the different charts they had showing my progress. I started tovolunteer at the office in high school; this was when I was able to get a feel for what it was like working in a

    dental office. I learned how to set up trays and how to read patient charts. I was also able to get some experience

    with common procedures like bracket and wire changing and I knew that this was the career that I wanted topursue. I have encountered other subcultures throughout my journey in becoming a dentist. Being in the Pre-

    Professional Medical Society has opened many opportunities for me to volunteer at dental clinics and shadow

    dentists in my area. I agree with Pleasant one hundred percent that observing and experiencing subcultures is an

    important aspect in literacy sponsorship.

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    Dr Maggie Interview

    When I went back home to Tampa for the summer after freshman year I continued volunteering and

    shadowing at my orthodontist and pediatric dentist office. Going over to the pediatric side of the office I met a

    new face, Dr. Maggie Davis. She is a fairly new graduate of the University of Florida Dental School working atDr. Johnnys office since he retired. Dr. Maggie and I had had an instant connection since she is a young dentist

    and she can relate to the hardships and successes that I am facing in my undergraduate journey. I wanted to

    discuss with her the literacies that she has had through her life and through her undergraduate and dental schoolyears. Since Dr. Maggie is