ASU graduate Devany Detwiller established a scholarship to help pre-dental students
Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2022 graduates.
As an Arizona State University honors student majoring in biological sciences on the pre-dental track, Devany Detwiller found out how expensive it is to pursue dental school.
There are costs for dental school entrance exams, exam preparation materials and application fees.
So, as her honors thesis project for Barrett, The Honors College at ASU, she established a scholarship called F.L.O.S.S. (Future Leaders of Smiles Scholarship) to help cover these expenses for pre-dental students.
Detwiller, whose hometown is Phoenix, Arizona, recently graduated from ASU with a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences and a minor in business marketing, with honors from Barrett Honors College.
“Being a self-supporting student pursuing the pre-dental track, I quickly came to realize how expensive the application process can be. Not just financially, but opportunity-wise as well. The application itself is very expensive, as well as many of the requirements, such as the DAT (Dental Admissions Test) and preparation materials, and I noticed how difficult this was for myself and therefore, there must be many other students who are in the same position as me finding that they are at a disadvantage when applying to dental school due to their socioeconomic status,” she said.
“I decided that this was an unfair obstacle for these students to face and therefore, created a scholarship to help compensate for these extra hurdles need-based students had to go through."
Detwiller has created a PitchFunder account and met with potential donors in order to develop a fund for the scholarship. The plan is to make the scholarship available to students starting in 2023.
We asked her to reflect on her undergraduate experience at ASU. Here’s what she had to say.
Question: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?
Answer: I really became interested in dentistry when I first got my braces off junior year of high school. I realized how much confidence it gave me and the importance of a smile. I spoke with my orthodontist about her career satisfaction and I received nothing but positive feedback, and that is what first got me interested in pursuing dentistry.
Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?
A: I learned that there are many students I related to, as well as many students who had so many other backgrounds to offer. I have met so many people from different facets of life, which has made me a much more understanding person and has taught me to always approach situations with compassion.
Q: Why did you choose ASU?
A: I have always lived in Arizona, and my older sister, who is my biggest role model, went to ASU, so it was always my No. 1 choice. I also loved how large the school was, which made me feel like it had so many opportunities to offer.
Q: How did being in Barrett Honors College enhance your undergraduate experience?
A: Personally, I loved being a part of a tightknit community as well as taking The Human Event (Barrett’s signature course for first-year students). The Human Event helped me gain a deeper understanding of the world around me, as well as allowed me to get closer to my professor and other like-minded students. Many of the deepest friendships I developed in college were because of Barrett.
Q: Did you receive any scholarships? If so, which ones?
A: In addition to scholarships provided by the university, such as the Dean’s Scholarship, I received the Obama Scholarship, which really allowed me to go through college, and without it, I would not have been able to afford tuition.
Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?
A: My Human Event professor, Dr. Joseph Foy, was easily the most influential professor I had during my college experience. He taught us so many valuable lessons regarding relationships, science and overall how to view life that I will always carry with me.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?
A: To try your best to say “yes,” especially when it comes to new experiences. This is such a developmental time in your life, and the best memories I have are when I went out of my comfort zone and just went for it.
Q: What was your favorite spot on campus for studying?
A: Hayden Library is always where I went to study and really focus. There were many late nights spent there.
Q: What are your plans after graduation?
A: I will be applying to dental school in June, and hopefully attending dental school in the fall of next year. In my gap year, I intend to work as a dental assistant and go on volunteer trips to countries where people are in need of dental treatment.
Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?
A: With $40 million, I would hope to attempt to solve the current environmental crisis weare facing. I really do believe this global crisis impacts so many. It is top priority, and certain preventive and proactive measures need to be taken.