By Janeal Downs
When she was 7 years old, treat Skyler Dewitt chipped one of her front teeth. When she went to the dentist, after seeing how they made her teeth look brand new, she knew she wanted to be a dentist. Later, she looked into other options in the dental field and she decided to pursue a career as a dental hygienist. To see what it would be like, she often informally shadows one of her own dental hygienists when they are working on her siblings’ teeth.
The next step in Skyler’s path to becoming a dental hygienist is to continue her education at Virginia Commonwealth University. One lesson Skyler will take with her to college is “if something gets hard, then don’t give up. Just find a different way around it.” While this is not always the easiest thing to do, Skyler’s creative mind helps her figure out alternative ways to get through a challenge. Other than the school’s dental program, another reason Skyler chose VCU is because of the school’s partnership and proximity to the Children’s Museum of Richmond, where she currently volunteers. “I put all my time and effort into there because I just really enjoy being around children,” Skyler said. “The kids are throwing temper tantrums, trying to get what they want, and so you find different ways to calm them down.” Skyler has an interest in being a pediatric dental hygienist. Working at the museum offers her a chance to see the different sides of children and learn different techniques of working with them. Skyler’s main goal is to make sure children are not scared when it comes to taking care of their hygiene. Many of her own friends are scared to go to the dentist because of what happened when they were younger. Skyler wants to change this.
Outside of maintaining her 3.97 GPA in school and volunteering at the Children’s Museum, Skyler is also busy as a competing member of her school’s Future Business Leaders of America organization and also works. In her free time, some of her favorite things to do include spending time with friends, cooking and writing. Skyler’s passion for writing started when she was little. “I kind of felt like I had a lot of feelings trapped inside me, so sometimes I would just write and make different scenarios to try to express myself without having to talk to other people,” Skyler said. “It made me feel better and it also improved my writing skills and helped me out in school.” Fantasy writers, who incorporate realistic elements in their writing are typically who inspire her own work.
One of her biggest influences is her mother. “She has always kind of shown me, if there’s something you really want, don’t let anything else get in the way,” Skyler said. When her dream of being in the dental field started at 7, Skyler’s mom showed her that financial reasons and what others said about the occupation should not change her mind and to “just keep pushing for what you want.” While things will not always be easy, Skyler’s mother taught her that she will be happy if she just keeps working toward what she wants.