Jessica Davis is an Atlanta native who has always been eager to help others. Ever since she was a child, Davis dreamed of becoming a doctor and a makeup artist. As a nine-year-old girl walking around with braces, she remembers her confidence skyrocketing as her teeth began to align. It was that feeling that became the catalyst for Davis to pursue dentistry. She knew that making people look and feel good about themselves was her passion. Dreaming about giving that feeling to her future patients guided her through Spelman College and now as she is in dental school.
On August 24, 2018, she received her white coat from the Dental College of Georgia. We spoke with Davis about how her HBCU experience at Spelman prepared her for becoming the woman she always wanted to be.
What HBCU did you attend and why?
I attended Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. My mother also attended Spelman College, so between her and my grandfather who loves Spelman, it was a natural fit for me. Spelman College is also the number one HBCU in the country. Spelman is rich in history, culture, and academia. It has maintained a long reputation as a prestigious college that produces successful elite women. Spelman nurtures young women into becoming great leaders who take pride in their heritage.
What was your major while in college and how are you using your degree in your career?
My major at Spelman College was Biology and Pre-Dentistry. I am currently a second-year dental student at the Dental College of Georgia at Augusta University. My biology degree has helped to prepare me for dental school. My goal is to practice in Atlanta.
What did your HBCU teach you about succeeding and competing in the world?
Spelman taught me many things. The most important lesson I learned was understanding how to believe in myself regardless of my background. Spelman also taught me to embrace every ounce of my heritage and to use the tools given to me to unleash my full potential in all endeavors that life challenges me with.
What do you feel you gained from attending an HBCU that you may have not gotten anywhere else?
What I gained from attending Spelman that I may not have gotten elsewhere, is a great support system. Spelman has a phenomenal support system from faculty members to my fellow Spelman sisters. People were always there to lift me up and reassure me in all aspects of life.
Describe your HBCU homecoming experience.
HBCU homecoming for me now that I am eight years removed, is like a family reunion. It is a time where I have the opportunity to reacquaint with old friends I haven’t seen since college. The atmosphere and vibes have always been unmatched to any other homecoming I’ve ever attended.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
In the next five years, I see myself honing my skills as a dentist by gaining additional knowledge. I will also be working toward my goal of owning my own practice.
What is your favorite vacation spot and where would you like to travel in the future?
I love to travel. I’ve traveled to 14 countries and my favorite vacation spot would have to be Jamaica, by far. I’ve been there four different times and enjoyed each trip. The trip from Atlanta is relatively short. The food is amazing along with the great vibes and friendly hospitality. In the future, I would love to visit Australia and Africa.
Reflecting on your college days, what would you tell your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to indulge in every group, function, and opportunity that could help you grow as a person and in your future career.