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.”