Don’t wait! File your 2023-2024 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) today.

amanda smiling in a lab coat

A Dragon Dental Student – Amanda Fire’s TU Story

One benefit of receiving an education from Tiffin University is that TU, unlike many institutions, recognizes the curveballs college life often throws at students, and that sometimes, plans for the future need changing. This is exactly why the foundational set of skills earned through TU’s coursework (no matter one’s major) are transferable to any graduate program, career or professional endeavor, and why program-specific knowledge can still be applied to similar fields.

For Amanda Fire (`21), graduate of TU’s exercise science program and current dental student at The Ohio State University, this was precisely her experience as an undergraduate. Amanda is living proof that through hard work and tenacity, Dragons can become anything – even dentists. Of course, gripping floss with those claws is still a bit challenging.

amanda in a lab coat holding dentures

“I flip-flopped on which major to declare earlier in my college career,” admitted Amanda. “I knew I wanted to work in the healthcare field, because I would be able to help people. I just wasn’t sure how to narrow my focus. So, I decided to shadow as many people as I could – physical therapists, occupational therapists, an ophthalmologist, gynecologist and a podiatrist. I even spent one summer working as a hospital aid for dementia patients. Nothing felt like the right fit. Oddly enough, it wasn’t until I was visiting my old pediatric dentist’s office for my first cavity that something clicked,” she joked.

She continued this thought, citing with a laugh how distraught she was over having a cavity, and that her dentist – with whom she had become quite close over the years – filled a void as well as a tooth that day.

“I ended up confiding in her about my struggle choosing a career end-goal,” Amanda explained. “She actually offered to let me shadow her for the rest of the afternoon, and I instantly fell in love. I saw that the work is equal parts science and artistry and was fascinated by this. I admired everything my dentist did to make her other patients feel at ease and comfortable, like she did with me, and remember thinking it would be so great to help people both medically and aesthetically.”

Amanda’s love for the profession quickly grew and took off completely when she spent a summer working for the same dental practice – seeing the ins and outs of the business firsthand. While she didn’t ultimately pursue a career in exercise science, she doesn’t regret choosing it as a major. In fact, she thinks TU’s program better prepared her for life as a dental student as opposed to many of her peers at Ohio State.

“I don’t regret any part of my journey,” she offered. “Even working on the dementia floor gave me some hands-on healthcare experience, and I think Ohio State liked that when I applied. Much of my coursework revolves around human anatomy. Dental students actually take the same anatomy classes as medical students, and the work is notoriously hard. My background in exercise science, which requires a working knowledge of the human body, was a huge help to me during this period. I have my professors at TU to thank, in large part. In fact, I think their guidance gave me an advantage over some of my peers who studied general chemistry or biology. TU’s curriculum emphasized that it all fit together, and interwove one subject with another.”

According to Amanda, her time at TU was well spent, both inside and outside the classroom. She played on the women’s basketball team, worked with the Office of Equity, Access and Opportunity and took full advantage of the intimate academic setting.

“In addition to the all-encompassing and rounded coursework, one of my professors took it upon themselves to attend some research seminars on dentistry with me,” she offered. “I had expressed an interest in graduate school post-graduation, and she wanted to do all she could to ensure I was ready. This same instructor also wrote me a letter of recommendation when it came time to apply and was always willing to offer guidance and moral support throughout the process.”

Much like her own childhood dentist, Amanda wants to enter the world of pediatric dentistry after she graduates from Ohio State and has every confidence she will achieve this goal, despite any other curveballs thrown her way.

“That’s one thing I love about TU – it prepares you to face the unexpected, and doesn’t just train you to do one thing well. A TU education means you’re well equipped to make a change and still succeed.”