A little nudge

Name: Michael Brooks

“Aha” moment: As a college sophomore, Brooks climbed into the dental chair to get ready for a check-up. His dentist, knowing Brooks was an excellent student who was considering various careers, had cleared his schedule to talk about dentistry before beginning the appointment. “You have the pas­sion for it,” he told Brooks. “Don’t let mental obstacles weigh you down.”

Career beginnings: It was the nudge Brooks needed, and three years later he was study­ing at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry. Soon he was nudging other young people toward dentistry, spending two Saturdays a month volunteering with the U’s Building Bridges to a Career in Dentistry Program.

Current career: Brooks is now practicing at Northpoint Health and Wellness Center, which serves a low-income population in Minneapolis. Most of his patients have few resources and many needs.

How scholarships gifts help: Brooks says the Holland/Jensen and Roland R. Jones schol­arships he received as a student made it possible for him to take a job that paid less than others because he had manageable debt when he graduated in 2013.

His mission: Simply to “help those who need the most help,” says Brooks. As he knows, a little help can have a big impact. “Without a couple of subtle reminders about pursuing your passion and the financial assis­tance, I probably wouldn’t be where I am.”

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