Hometown: Costa Mesa, CA
Career Plans: Go into private practice.
“Pacific Dugoni provides the best clinical experience for students.”
You know that feeling when you're trying to decide whether you want to be a helicopter pilot or a dentist for a living? Neither do I, but Storm Hagen does. While he is happily enrolled at the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry now, dentistry was never destiny for him.
Sure, it could have been an easy default choice. After all, he basically grew up in his parents' dental office. However, he - and his parents - wanted to make sure a dental career was something he wanted to for himself. "My parents never pushed me into dentistry," recalls Storm. "They told me to explore other paths."
Storm had always had an interest in science, so he majored in Integrative Biology and Physiology while attending the University of California, Los Angeles. However, he also had a fascination with aviation, and enrolled in an introductory helicopter flying class during his freshman year. He absolutely loved it and started to consider a different possible career. "Do I become a helicopter pilot or a dentist?" he had to ask himself.
"I felt like that was the defining point for me," says Storm. He started thinking long term, weighing the pros and cons of each path. Ultimately, Storm decided that dentistry provided more stability. He also figured that once he was an established dentist, he could continue flying helicopters as a hobby.
When it came down to deciding on a dental school, Pacific Dugoni was at the top of his list. His dad is a graduate from the Class of '84, but the biggest selling point for Storm was that the school provides the best experience in the clinic for students. The fact that it was a three-year program was also a big draw.
"Pacific Dugoni was always my number one choice because they were by far the best clinically," said Storm. "No other school compared to that."
One thing that's blown him away is how helpful everyone is here. From faculty and staff to his fellow classmates, everyone is willing to lend a helping hand. "I know people have said this many times before, the humanistic approach really shows here," says Storm. "It's a very supportive environment."
Now in his second year, Storm is starting to see patients, which is something he really enjoys. He also sees the difference in patient flow now that the school has moved to its new location in downtown. Just the other day he assisted with screening about 28 new patients.
"There's definitely a higher patient flow in this building," says Storm. "People are really happy with how easy it is to get here by public transportation. Even if patients drive, the parking garage is right next door."
As far as being in the new building, Storm feels like he got the perfect experience. He got to be at the old building with so much history and explore the Pacific Heights neighborhood. Now, he loves the change of pace being in downtown where there is so much to do and see. He can't rave enough about the new state-of-the-art building.
Looking ahead, he plans on joining a private practice, one with which he is very familiar. He feels fortunate to have a job as soon as he graduates, and his parents couldn't be happier to welcome him into the practice. So many of the patients remember Storm when he was a kid playing in the front with the receptionist, and now he'll be working on their teeth.
"I've been in the office forever and it's like I'm going back where it all started," says Storm. "Pacific Dugoni has given me the education and training where I can go straight into private practice and be successful and I'm looking forward to it." Returning to his family from the Pacific Dugoni family, there's no doubt that he will be bringing that humanistic touch to his work in the practice as well.