The way Jack Lupfer ’16 sees it, every aspect of his Stony Brook education will help him succeed when he’s ready to open his own dental practice.
The biology major and Honors College student has packed his résumé with organizations and duties that will serve him well when he welcomes patients into his office for diagnosis and treatment.
Jack was bitten by the science bug in high school during an advanced zoology course. It wasn’t until his freshman year at Stony Brook, however, when he took organic chemistry, that Jack foresaw a career in dentistry.
Like other medical professionals, dentists need to be good problem-solvers. Jack sharpened his problem-solving skills in the labs of Nancy Reich and Dr. Ann Nasti, DMD.
In Professor Reich’s lab, located in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Jack is working to understand better the roles that interferons, which help protect cells against viral infections, play in treating cancer and virus-based diseases.
With Dr. Nasti, clinical associate professor in the Department of General Dentistry, Jack has studied the implications of 3D imaging and printing in repair of dental bridges. He is also analyzing data gathered on fourth-year dental students to improve their curricula.
When he was a sophomore in 2013, Jack got an intensive weeklong preview of dental school when he participated in the Discover Dental School Summer Scholars Program. During that week, he participated in a dental specialty boot camp. There he learned about the intricacies of wire bending in the orthodontics field, took part in root canal procedures and glimpsed dental anesthesiology techniques.
“We were doing some things you wouldn’t typically experience until the third year of dental school, and yet here we were as undergraduates simulating a root canal,” he said.
As the president of the Pre-Dental Society at Stony Brook, Jack has learned how to network and socialize within the profession and helps his fellow dental students optimize their chances to be accepted into dental school.
Through his membership in the American Student Dental Association (ASDA) and its Pre-Dental Advisory Committee, a national student-run organization that advances and protects the rights, interests and welfare of dental students throughout the country, John Jack attends events such as Mock Interviews, Dental School Impression Days and the Greater New York Dental Meeting.
Every year only six pre-dental students are selected from hundreds of applicants to sit on the Pre-Dental Advisory Committee. They represent and advocate for the more than 2,000 ASDA pre-dental students on a national level.
Jack is one of 12 undergraduate juniors and seniors serving on the President’s Council of Student Advisors, formed by President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. in spring 2015. The Council performs research on a higher education topic that concerns the University and proposes a solution to the president and his staff.
Jack is also a counselor for Camp Kesem, which provides Long Island children whose parents are battling cancer with a weeklong summer camp experience. And through Alternative Spring Break Outreach, he has traveled and helped rebuild areas hit by severe weather in New Orleans and Colorado.
“I believe it’s essential for students on the pre-health track to take part in such programs because it teaches us so much about ourselves and introduces us to individuals who come from unique backgrounds and walks of life,” said Jack.
“One day when I am a dentist I won’t always know who the next person to walk through my office door will be or what their life story is,” he added. I will have to accept at face value and always treat, listen and respect them as I would anyone else, free of misconceptions and prejudices.”
Jack is obtaining those interpersonal skills as an orientation leader who helps welcome the more than 4,000 new students each fall. As a residence assistant who oversees three 250-person residence halls on campus, Jack is learning how to deal with ethical dilemmas.
“Any dentist who’s trained properly can fill and drill a cavity, but it takes more than that to become an excellent dentist,” said Jack. “You want to be able to foster a sense of community and provide a safe and welcoming environment for your patients. These are skill sets that will be of great value to me after I leave Stony Brook.”
— Glenn Jochum