Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing series of articles that features accomplished Galt area graduates. If you are interested in being considered as part of this series or you know a GHS or LRHS graduate with notable accomplishments, career or otherwise, please email Faith Lewis at faithaeriel14@gmail.com or Bonnie Rodriguez at editor@galtherald.com.

If you had asked Courtney Mietz what she wanted to do when she grew up when she was still in fifth grade at Valley Oaks Elementary School, you might have been surprised by just how certainly she answered “dentist.” Now the Liberty Ranch High School graduate has a Bachelor of Science under her belt and is attending dental school in Glendale, Arizona.

“Ever since I was a little girl, I have had this dream of becoming an orthodontist,” Mietz said. “It started with my older brother getting braces and I really loved visiting the orthodontist with him. It was always so intriguing to me how they would place different bands and wires on his teeth and how, in about two years, his smile was totally transformed.”

As a member of LRHS’s second graduating class, and the first class to attend all four years at the new high school, Mietz took advantage of the excitement on campus and was involved in cheerleading, student government, leadership and yearbook.

“LRHS really helped me to step out of my comfort zone and transform me from a shy student to very outgoing and social,” she said.

She graduated from LRHS in 2013 and went on to study at California State University, Sacramento. Mietz was as active in college as she was in high school, participating in the Honors Program; Cru, a Christian community on campus; studying abroad at the University of Technology, Sydney; and even started a hammock club to create a space for students to take a break and relax. She was also active in the Pre-Dental Association.

“This club provided me with great opportunities to gain experience in the dental field. We held events to reach out to the local community and provide them with dental education or dental care. One of the main events in the Sacramento area is the Smiles for Kids Dental and Orthodontic Program, which provides free dental and orthodontic treatment for the underprivileged children in the community.”

She also had an internship in a periodontal office in Sacramento at this time.

“I assisted in surgeries, cleaning and setting up the operatory rooms, and sterilizing the dental instruments,” Mietz said. “This was incredible experience for my future career as a dentist because it really immersed me in the dental field.”

Mietz earned her Bachelor of Science in biomedical science and a minor in chemistry with cum laude honors in December 2017, and started the lengthy process of applying to dental school. She completed several applications and follow-up applications, and dedicated herself to preparing for the interviews that would follow. The first school to offer her an interview was Midwestern University, College of Dental Medicine in Glendale, Arizona.

“I finished up my interview and went back out into the waiting room,” she recalled. “All of a sudden, the second-year student came and called me back in because ‘they forgot to ask me a question.’ Come to find out, they offered me an acceptance right then and there. It was such an exciting experience because this is when I knew I was on my way to fulfilling my dreams of becoming a dentist.”

She declined the offers she received to interview at other universities and was accepted into Midwestern University’s four-year program with an anticipated graduation date of May 2022. At that point, she will have earned her Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD) degree and anticipates returning to the Galt area to work as an associate under a dentist.

“After working as an associate for a few years, I would love to be able to buy into a practice and continue to work in private practice,” she said. “If I decide I want to specialize and further my education, I will apply to specialty programs and go wherever I am accepted.”

She is currently serving as the Class of 2022 class representative as well as the American Student Dental Association (ASDA) social chair representative, and is eager to start her career.