What years did you participate in UROP? 

I participated in UROP my freshman(and maybe part of sophomore) year from 2000-2001

What UROP Program(s) were you a part of? 

I was in the UROP program for class credit.

What made you choose UROP?

Going into school, I knew that I wanted to be a dentist.  Getting into dental school was and is very competitive.  In addition to DAT score and GPA, having a well rounded background is important in helping one's candidacy.  Research experience was a feather in the cap!  For a young man who had no previous research experience and did not know where to start, UROP was a perfect opportunity.  Not only did the program facilitate research experience, it also provided a reward in the form of class credit or work study.

What do you think you have learned from your UROP experience?

I gained my first experience in statistics while participating in UROP.  I worked with Dr. C. Loring Brace and Dr. Noriko Seguchi in the anthropology department on a study that measured tooth sizes of ancient human civilizations.  I learned how to use science to understand and explain human history.  I gained an appreciation for the power of data.

What is the extent to which you have kept in contact with your Research Mentor?

Unfortunately, I did not keep in touch with my mentors after I left campus.  At the time, I had no idea I was working with a legend!

How did your UROP experience shape or inform the next steps you took in your academic and professional journey?

UROP prepared me for an evidence based learning environment in dental school and dental practice.  We are best served by knowledge, skill, and approaches that are honed via the scientific method, rather than anecdote.  There is a place for anecdote, instinct, and theory.  Science allows us to sharpen our tools.  A good idea can be harmful, if popular but unproven.

What advice would you give to a current UROP student?

The best advice I can give is to dive in.  I was fortunate to find a project that was related to my course of study, but that is not critical.  The university is replete with amazing researchers who are on the cutting edge of their fields.  Their studies are relevant and important.  Resources are plentiful.  Commit yourself to a project and you may be surprised how much you learn and how beneficial the experience can be.

What are some recent publications or accomplishments that you are proud of?

In 2017, I purchased an orthodontic practice outside of Washington, DC.  My dream has always been to have my own practice and I am very proud and grateful to have the opportunity.  Although I am not a clinical researcher, a factor of my practice that I consider paramount to our success is our attention to data.  We gather and interpret data on marketing, inventory, and clinical performance.  This is the information that informs and confirms our methodology.  My appreciation for data has never been greater.

Is there any other advice you would like to impart to current or future UROP students?

For the student considering UROP who is apprehensive because research sounds boring and tedious--I was that student.  If your goals in life include being successful at anything, you will use research at some level!  Research is just the scientific term for learning.  However, science is key.  The difference between research and learning is like building a kids swing set with or without the instructions.  It can be done, but clearly there is a method.  In your professional life, whatever that profession may be, you will be tasked with interpreting and utilizing data.  Understanding research and the scientific method gives one the skills to best interpret and utilize the data!