Smile! Alumnae Roots Lead to Dream Job as Dentist

A connection made during freshman year resulted in two Lebanon Valley College graduates practicing dentistry together at Cleona Dental, fewer than 10 minutes from campus.

Dr. Jennifer Davis ’96, who her earned her DMD at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine after graduating from LVC, serves as a mentor to science majors at her alma mater. She met Katie Wray ’15 during the spring semester of Wray’s first year. Wray expressed interest in her own dentistry career, so Davis invited her to observe weekly at her local practice. The relationship evolved into regular visits throughout Wray’s time at The Valley. 

“When I left the area for dental school, we kept in touch through email and phone calls,” said Wray. “Whenever I had the chance, I would shadow Dr. Davis for the day. Not to sound too cheesy, but I always thought working at Cleona Dental would be a ‘dream job’ because I respect Dr. Davis’ patient-centered treatment and her passion for dentistry.”

Davis echoed similar sentiments about the pair’s connection. “Before her third year at the University of Maryland, we spoke about the opportunity to work together one day. I assumed that this huge prayer I asked was a big ‘pipe dream.’ Well, Katie started seeing patients at my practice this summer,” said Davis.

Wray graduated from the University of Maryland’s School of Dentistry in May—something she felt well prepared for after her time at LVC.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today without the biological and chemical background I received,” said Wray. “My entire first year of dental school seemed to be a review for me because of the strong foundation in the sciences,” said Wray. 

She credits many of the biology and chemistry faculty at LVC for imparting the wisdom that helped fuel her success. 

“Dr. [Rebecca] Urban helped me find my love for ecology and plants. I was so fortunate to conduct research under her mentorship. Dr. [Wally] Patton and Dr. [Kristen] Boeshore are extremely knowledgeable and helpful about applying to professional schools—without them, I wouldn’t have attended dental school! Their guidance and wisdom helped me through the application and interview process, and their confidence in me helped my decision to enroll at the University of Maryland. Dr. [Rob] Carey is a great teacher and I think I learned and retained the most from him, something that helped me every day at school,” said Wray.

As Wray looks ahead, she hopes to continue learning from Davis.

“Cleona Dental always held a special place in my heart. Dr. Davis genuinely cares about how patients are treated and provides the best dental care possible,” said Wray. “She has been a role model and mentor to me for the past seven years, and I hope our professional relationship continues to strengthen over the years to come,” said Wray.

Davis said, “Our time and how we spend it always says a lot about our values and choices in life. I have always loved mentoring and giving back to others. The first years as a new dentist can be a bit challenging. If I can provide a bit of support and guidance for Katie as she begins her professional journey, then I feel grateful. She has given me just as much as she shares, especially her insight through the eyes of a new dentist.”