Senior Chemistry and Physics major Jennifer Franklin has been accepted into Howard University College of Dentistry (HUCD) with a full tuition scholarship. Her study will commence in the fall of 2017 as a member of the HUCD class of 2021. Jennifer Franklin is a native of Marion, AR. Her parents are Elizabeth and William Franklin. She graduated with honors from Marion High School in 2013 in the top 5% of her class. She began her college education at Arkansas State University with an academic scholarship and the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship. While at Arkansas State University, she was a member of the Arkansas Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (ARK-LSAMP) STEM Academy, the Experiential Learning Fellowship (ELF), and the Minorities in Health Care Club. After completing her first year of college, she transferred to the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and received the Transfer Student Scholarship. On campus, Franklin is an Arkansas Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (ARK-LSAMP) STEM scholar, a member of the American Chemical Society (ACS), Tau Iota Mu Biology Club, Pre Health Club, Alpha Chi National Honor Society, and the Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) leadership team. Franklin will graduate in May of 2017 with a degree in Chemistry and Physics (chemistry option). After finishing dental school, she plans on pursuing a specialty in orthodontics or oral and maxillofacial surgery.
The journey to dental school was first sparked when Jennifer received braces in the sixth grade. She had a gap between her two front teeth, which made her feel uncomfortable when smiling. There were no orthodontists near her home, and as a result, her parents relied strictly on the dentist’s recommendations. She finally received braces from an orthodontic student at the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry. She loved her doctor who made the process very easy; however, even at a young age Franklin noticed the lack of orthodontic doctors that look like her. Once the braces came off, she felt like a new person. Being able to finally smile with confidence made her feel beautiful and inspired her to one-day aid others in achieving their dream smile.
“My experience with the orthodontic student prompted me to enroll in the Medical Professions Education class from tenth to twelfth grade,” Franklin said. “In this class, I learned about a wide variety of health care careers, and had the opportunity to shadow a variety of areas such as nursing, radiology, ophthalmology, physical therapy, and dentistry. Even after shadowing within different health professions, dentistry was still the area that most caught my interest. I carried this desire to become a dentist into my collegiate career and majored in chemistry to better prepare myself for the DAT. Majoring in chemistry while participating in academic research throughout my college career has allowed me to gain greater insight into the dental profession”.
Franklin took full advantage of all the opportunities offered by the Chemistry and Physics Department, STEM Academy, and UAPB Administration who encourage students to maintain a high GPA and continuously seek internships that would enhance their chance to join professional schools. In Summer 2015, she was in the “Admissions Enhancement Program” at UMKC School of Dentistry. In the summer of 2016, she shadowed under the guidance of Dr. Debi Williams. The experiences were affirmation that dentistry is her calling and helped her gain a greater love and appreciation for the practice.
Franklin said she is thankful to all the teachers, instructors, professors, dental doctors and Interim Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Physics Dr. Grant Wangila, who have assisted her in accomplishing this milestone. Franklin encourages her fellow classmates and other UAPB students to work hard and join her in this transformative profession. Franklin lives by a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”