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They Give: 2018 DTA Foundation Scholarship Winners Speak Out—Leke Olowokere

DTA Foundation scholarship recipient Leke Olowokere will be graduating from the Texas A&M College of Dentistry. Recently, we caught up with him to chat about his volunteer work as a dental student and how his scholarship will make a difference in his life.

With all you’re already doing, how difficult is it to find the time to volunteer and why do you think it’s important?

With the increased volume of patients, deadlines, and preparing for dentistry after school, it can be fairly difficult to find time to volunteer. But just like anything, you make time for what's important. Giving back to the community is and always will be important to me, mainly because it keeps me grounded in my purpose and reminds me why I am in this field—to influence and to be a blessing to the world around me.

What is your favorite type of volunteer work to do?

I really enjoy serving through dental missions, both locally and abroad. It is tremendously fulfilling to be able to provide for those who would not be able to get the care they need otherwise. I also enjoy mentoring and helping other students both in and out of dental school. It's difficult to do anything on your own and I hope to be a helping hand just as those before me were to me.

What was your reaction when you found out you’d gotten a DTA Foundation scholarship?

I was in the middle of a long day in clinic and, after I dismissed my morning patient, I saw that I had a voicemail. In the midst of all the craziness, I stepped out of the clinic to listen and heard the best news. It made my day! I forgot how tired (and hungry) I was from the morning and couldn't have been more thankful.

How will having the scholarship make a difference to you?

This scholarship will help provide financial aid to me during a financially demanding season of dental school. With board exams, licensing exams and student loan payments coming up, this scholarship is an incredibly helpful and encouraging gift to me.

What would you like to say to the donors who make the scholarship possible?

I'd like to say a huge thank you to the donors of this scholarship. You have not only given a financial gift, but also have strongly communicated how much you all value community service. I hope this message resonates within dental communities across the nation and encourages more students to serve.

How are you planning to continue your volunteer work after graduation?

I hope to continue playing a part in the service opportunities that I've been a part of throughout dental school. I look forward to the new role as more of a supervising dentist to students and hope to create opportunities as well as encourage providers around me to give back to the community.