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ATSU-MOSDOH, Kirksville are home away from home for second-year dental student

A.T. Still University’s Missouri School of Dentistry & Health (ATSU-MOSDOH) in Kirksville, Missouri, is a home away from home for second-year student Austin Kirby. 

“ATSU and Kirksville reminded me of home,” the Hannibal, Missouri, native said. “The close knit family that we have here and the love and respect we have for each other is second to none. We are a family that strives to help each other achieve our goals, while also having fun along the way. ATSU’s core values and whole person healthcare mindset set them apart from the rest and give me confidence in my ability to become a top notch dentist.

“I love being a part of a family while away from my family. There has never been a time where I have not felt included. I love the ability to be in such a tight knit group of professionals that are all striving for the same goal and are encouraging each other along the way. The clubs and endless possibilities that are provided to us as students are a tremendous way of feeling included as part of the family.”

Kirby graduated from the University of Missouri, majoring in biological engineering with a minor in computational neuroscience. At ATSU-MOSDOH, he serves as intramural sports co-chair and fundraising chair for the Christian Medical Dental Association. 

“My faith in Christ and sports played a large role in my life growing up and helped me become the person I am today,” Kirby said. “The ability to be able to continue to have those aspects be a part of my life is an amazing blessing.”

Kirby also serves as a student ambassador and hopes to bring some peace to the process, just as previous ambassadors did for him. 

“I remember the Q&A session the night before my interview and my tour of the campus. I tend to put more pressure on myself to perform than I probably should, and the student ambassadors during the Q&A session and the tour helped ease my nerves and showed me that even though I wasn’t accepted yet, that I was fully capable, worthy, and good enough to be in the position I was in,” Kirby said. “To be able to give that back to potential students that were in my shoes is a great blessing and opportunity.”

Outside of class, Kirby is probably playing or watching sports, watching a movie, and spending time with his fiancee, Madi. 

“We love to cook, mostly her, but we enjoy trying new meals, watching a good movie, or playing various sports together, too,” he said. 

In the simulation lab, Kirby is busy preparing to become a great provider for his future patients.

“Professionally, I want to be the best dentist that I can be in order to provide top notch care to my patients and my community,” he said. “I believe ATSU’s whole person healthcare mindset is perfect for helping me achieve my goals. The patients that we will see in the future are more than just teeth, they are family.”

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