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Isabelle Ayngorn

A highly involved student during her time at Lake Forest College, Isabelle Ayngorn ’17 chose to pursue dentistry after majoring in biology and concentrating on a pre-health track.

Her experiences in leadership positions for campus organizations and the jobs and internships she held in her undergraduate years continue to serve her well in graduate school at the Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health.

What made you choose Lake Forest College?

I chose Lake Forest College for a variety of reasons: It was close to home, I received a partial scholarship, and its reputation as a school that holds itself to high standards of education. The College also has an excellent science department with ample research/lab experience and opportunities, and small class sizes. I was drawn in by the school’s overall commitment to community service, too. I knew I potentially wanted to apply to dental school when I was choosing a college, so these qualities were definitely what I was looking for.

How did a liberal arts education make a difference for you?

I really enjoyed my liberal arts education. My learning experience was very interactive and hands-on, my class discussions prepared me to go out into the world with an open mind, and I was willing to accept anyone—and their opinions. I received more attention from my professors and actually got to know them. 

What experiences outside of the classroom do you think helped prepare you for dental school?

Outside of the classroom, I was a member of Delta Gamma sorority in which I held numerous leadership positions and obtained many community service hours. Additionally, I worked as a part-time dental assistant, shadowed at numerous dental offices, nannied for local families, and also maintained a social life. I think these experiences highlighted the fact that I was a well-rounded and balanced applicant.

How did your time at Lake Forest help you prepare to apply to dental programs?

I learned several critical-thinking and reasoning skills during my time at Lake Forest College that helped prepare me for dental programs. I graduated already having hands-on lab experience—an opportunity that I wouldn’t have had at other schools—as well as good communication skills that I obtained from the numerous scientific poster and PowerPoint presentations I completed.

What skills and experiences did you gain that you believe will help you be successful?

The lab skills, public speaking and communication skills, research experience, and community service I obtained throughout my undergraduate education have set me up for success in dental school. Similar to Lake Forest College, the Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health is community-service oriented, which allows me to continue giving back to my community through volunteering and providing free dental care and screenings to underserved communities several times a year.

What advice would you give a high school student looking to pursue pre-health?

Lake Forest College is a great choice if you’re interested in any post-graduate health programs. You get the best education, a support system, and plenty of resources to pursue any health professional program you’re interested in. The faculty pre-health committee is also great: huge shoutout to Professor Karen Kirk for writing and organizing my recommendation letters as well as assisting me throughout the application process. My main advice is to do your research on what specific classes you need to take and other requirements for whatever health profession you’re interested in, get to know your professors and ask lots of questions, get involved on campus, and get experience working in the field you’re interested in, whether that be assisting, shadowing, whatever. Most importantly, don’t forget to take a break every once in a while and have fun… college goes by way too fast.

—By Sangjun Hornewer ’20