UVA Wise alum was volunteer at dental event
WISE — Madelyn Lawrence, a 2021 graduate of the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, returned to the area July 22-23 for the 21st Missions of Mercy free dental outreach.
The Missions of Mercy project had been cancelled for the last two years due to COVID. When Lawrence learned that the MoM project would take place this year, she immediately applied to volunteer.
During her sophomore year in 2019, Lawrence met students from Virginia Commonwealth University’s dental program. She was immediately fascinated by the encounter because she is pursuing a career in dentistry. Those students helped Lawrence apply to become a volunteer for the MoM project and she was able to volunteer alongside them.
Lawrence said: “I was so excited to come back here. I love UVA Wise. I wanted to come back and help the people. That means a lot to me. Service before self is so important.”
Lawrence is originally from Harrisonburg. The science program, beautiful location, friendliness of the community and opportunity to play volleyball while earning an excellent education drew Lawrence to UVA Wise.
When asked what compelled her to become a dentist, Lawrence said she always wanted to help people overcome pain. She was particularly drawn to dentistry because she wants to help restore confidence in patients who have been affected by dental issues.
Lawrence said she is heartbroken by the many patients she has met who have told her they do not want to smile, go to work or go out because of dental problems. She wants to be able to help those patients overcome pain and restore confidence in who they are and in their smiles.
Lawrence is set to graduate from VCU in 2025. She said she is still undecided between general dentistry or a specialty.
The Mission of Mercy project began in 2000 and sets up clinics all over the state. Wise is the largest of those clinics. The clinic served 322 patients over the course of two days at the David J. Prior Convocation Center.
Students and faculty from the VCU dental school, board members from the Virginia Dental Association and other student volunteers joined local volunteers to provide free dental care to patients which included fillings, extractions, dental exams, denture adjustments, cleanings and referrals.
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