My name is Catherine Chen, and this is my cat, Baobei. His name translates to “precious” or “treasure” in Mandarin. I am an American-born Chinese, and the first generation in my family to go to college. Growing up, my family was not wealthy, but we never struggled. My mother sacrificed a lot for my sister and I. My goal is to be successful so I can take care of her now that I am older.
I was in my sophomore year of high school when I realized I wanted a career in the dental field. It was career week and colleges were visiting our school to promote their campus and recruit students. Everyone was talking about what they wanted to do after they graduated high school. Some people wanted to join the army, some wanted to do accounting, some wanted to be doctors, but the most common one was nursing. None of those sparked my interest. A representative from NYU started talking to me about their college and what they offered, and that was when I developed an interest in dentistry. I did some research on colleges and the dental field. This was when I came across City Tech and the dental hygiene program.
After getting into the program, it made me love the dental hygiene field even more. I found the courses very interesting. When I started seeing patients, it made me realize how many people are unaware of their dental health. They don’t know how healthy gums are supposed to look like, and they think their teeth are healthy as long as it does not hurt. When I show them the plaque on their teeth, the recessions, and the radiographic bone loss, that is when they realize how bad their oral health really is. I would then educate them on how to better take care of their oral health. When my patients come back for a recare visit, they tell me how much they learned from the last visit and they’ve incorporated my home care instructions into their daily routine. From the assessment of their oral health, I can see that they are not lying. It is really satisfying and rewarding to know that I was able to make a change in someone’s life.