Starkel attributes getting into his first-choice dental school to the University of Montana Westerns Experience One (X1) program.
X1 gave me the flexibility to intern with local dentists in the area which significantly strengthened my application and prepared me for the real world, Starkel said. I had the time and freedom to pursue real-life
work experience in my field of interest.
Starkel also said that by being taught with the X1 system he was able to learn terminology and apply it in conversation effectively because of the immersive nature of the classes.
While interning as a dental assistant with local dentist Dr. Orme and the Birch Creek Dental Clinic, Starkel identified a need in the industry for bilingual dentists.
I want to become a bilingual dentist to avoid the language barrier between myself and my Spanish-speaking patients, Starkel said. I was attracted to Colorado because they encourage hands-on learning and they have a study abroad program which would allow me to learn Spanish and spend part of my summers doing clinical practice in Guatemala.
Starkel will graduate this May with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology with a molecular bioscience option.