Young Alum of the Month: Lauren Fangman

Name: 
Lauren Fangman
Title and Company: 
University of Iowa College of Dentistry; Third-year Dental Student
Hometown: 
Carroll, IA
Major and Graduation Date: 
B.S., Biology, May 2012
Major Job/Position Responsibilities: 

While my first two years of dental school consisted of a lot of coursework, I did get to see patients once or twice a week.  Now that I’m in my third year, I help patients with their dental needs every day.  Regular cleanings, fillings, root canals, crowns and dentures are just a few of the things I do each week.

What you like most about your job/position: 

Although dentistry carries a negative connotation for most people, I decided to become a dentist to help people in the community.  I truly love interacting with my patients and seeing the difference I can make in their life. A great example would be when I treated a young woman who had teeth with so much decay that she never smiled and was self conscious.  After completing her treatment plan, she was immediately grinning from ear to ear. She tried the dentures in, and I could see her smile and confidence coming back to her.  The sight of pure happiness and gratitude on my patient’s face has truly made my years of studying worthwhile.

What advice would you give to current students: 

Diversify yourself and never be afraid to try something new.  While I knew I wanted to be a dentist, I was a member of Ag Council, and worked with a local engineer to design a biogas system for an Iowa farmer.  Even though these have nothing to do with dentistry, they gave me exposure to matters outside of medicine and made me more well-rounded.

Volunteer! It was something that kept me grounded during my time at Iowa State.  Whether it was being a Peer Mentor at a local elementary school or helping out at a FFA pancake feed,  I really enjoyed it and made some great friends.  You won’t regret it either, and stepping away from school, even just for an hour, can put a lot into perspective.

Utilize your time and resources.  Summers are a great asset to utilize.  Overall, having an internship or a research opportunity is a great life experience.  It will help you decide whether a job/career path is something you should pursue.

Travel Abroad! This is the one thing I regret I didn’t do and wish I would have.  If you have the opportunity to do so, or even have the slightest inclination, do it!  Maybe travelling abroad isn’t a possibility, but do some domestic travelling instead.  I actually went on an ISU Outdoor Rec trip to Escalate, Utah during spring break.  It was by far the best vacation I have been on, and something I will never forget.  When else, would I ever have gotten to rappel down a 400 ft cliff while anchored to a 16-passenger van?

Consider a Minor. I decided to obtain a business minor and am glad I did.  Budgeting, 401Ks, insurance, etc. are all becoming a reality, and I know it helped me navigate through them.  While not all students want to have a business minor, getting a minor in an area you’re interested in can be greatly beneficial later on.

When it’s all said and done, just remember, Thomas Edison once said, “There is no substitute for hard work.”  This is very true, but always save time for the things you love…, and remember to brush your teeth!

Favorite ISU Class
I enjoyed a variety of classes for different reasons.  Histology was a class I really enjoyed and was very helpful going into to dental school.  I really enjoyed my Business Management course, because it taught me how to motivate future employees.  I also randomly took the Ice Skating class for fun, which got me out of the classroom and taught me something I now enjoy.  And although I hated all things chemistry, Chemistry 332 Lab did bring me a great lab partner—now fiancé!  So never be afraid to take a random course because you might just love it or meet the love of your life!