Rifle High School student accepted into dental program

Staff report

Rifle High School senior Jasmine Sandoval has been accepted into a selective undergraduate dental program at the University of Colorado, according to a news release from Colorado Mountain College.

Sandoval said she has been interested in orthodontia and dental medicine since the sixth grade.

“The experience of having braces myself was the thing that first made me consider becoming an orthodontist,” she said in the release.

She will complete four years of undergraduate studies at CU Denver followed by four years of dental school at the CU School of Dental Medicine

Sandoval is only one of five students statewide to be selected for the program this year, and the only student from the Western Slope.

Sandoval has participated in TRIO Upward Bound, a federally funded high school program administered in by Colorado Mountain College, since her junior year.

“No one in my family has graduated from college. And being the eldest of my siblings, high school was overwhelming,” Sandoval said.

“My Upward Bound mentors have helped me learn about education after high school. They made me feel confident in myself and my academics,” she said.

Through Upward Bound, Sandoval participated in many activities that she might not have done otherwise, including career-shadowing local dentist Dr. Chad Burgess and local orthodontist Dr. Casey Johnson, learning American Sign Language and teaching it to local elementary schools, and participating in Glenwood’s Miss Strawberry Days scholarship competition.

“Jasmine has taken full advantage of all of Upward Bound’s services, individual mentoring and advising,” said Yesenia Arreola, local director of TRIO Upward Bound.

“She has been a top student at her high school, pursuing the International Baccalaureate Diploma, but lacked the confidence to see herself successful in college and achieving her goals. Through our activities, we saw her blossom,” Arreola said.

Sandoval is looking past college to consider opening up a private practice to benefit her community.

“Being a bilingual speaker is something that I think can benefit my community,” Sandoval said. “I would like to be able to help both [English- and Spanish-speaking] communities and to help educate as many community members as I can.

“One day I’d like to be an inspiration to other minorities, like myself,” she said. “I’d like them to see me in the future and think, ‘If I work hard for it, I can earn the future that I dream of.’”

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