Hugo Partida was inspired to a career in health care by his mother.

“She worked really hard being a single mom, raising four kids and getting a bachelor’s degree in nursing,” Partida said.

After spending time researching potential health care careers and shadowing professionals from different fields, Partida had an epiphany. “I knew either dentistry was made for me, or I was made for dentistry,” said Partida, who was particularly drawn to the ability to help others on such a broad scale.

“It’s common to believe that dentistry is only about teeth, but this is not the case,” Partida said. “This profession is vast and includes oral cancer screenings, diagnosis of soft and hard tissue diseases, nutritional counseling and preventative measures.”

The Ostrow School of Dentistry graduate hopes to use the knowledge and skills he’s gained during the past four years to pursue a life of service.

“To truly bring smiles to people would be very rewarding by itself,” Partida said.

After commencement, he plans to spend time with his soon-to-be-born daughter and begin working as an associate at a dental practice.

“I still want to volunteer as I do now,” he said, “because I believe no one should ever be without dental care — especially children.”

— John Hobbs