Faculty Mentoring Program

Who Mentored You?

Dorothy Perry, RDH, PhD, MS and Gwen Essex, RDH, MS

I couldn’t resist the opportunity to sing about my amazing mentor, Dr. Dorothy (Dabby) Perry. I feel unequivocally that without her guidance, advice and support I would not have the career I enjoy so much.

I’ve known Dabby since my time as her student in the dental hygiene program in 1994. Our mentoring relationship began when she asked me to come back after graduation to volunteer in our clinics, but that was only the beginning. Looking back I think she just wanted to keep me within arms reach while she coaxed me through my master’s degree so she wouldn’t miss a beat in strongly (and with great repetition) encouraging me to apply to a doctoral program. Being a dutiful mentee I followed her advice and am now working on my dissertation.

However, Dabby’s support and encouragement go far beyond keeping me from missing opportunities and facilitating my professional growth. She has been a safe place I can go when I have felt overwhelmed, she has been the kind email when I appear stressed, and she has kindly and necessarily saved me from embarrassing myself more times than I care to mention.

I am poised to finish my degree soon and will no doubt continue to develop my educational research career – goals I did not have in 1994 when I met Dabby. I don’t think I even understood the potential for an academic career until Dabby and I began our conversation those many years ago about my passion for teaching and how I could best contribute. I am deeply grateful to Dabby, and feel incredibly blessed to have somehow captured her attention and mentorship.

Submitted by Gwen Essex, RDH, MS, Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Preventive and Restorative Dental Sciences on behalf of Dorothy Perry, RDH, PhD, MS, Associate Dean for Education and Admissions, School of Dentistry


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