Blue and gold and pearly whites
An operations manager and a software engineer living in Manhattan, Tiffany Kaissal ’20 and boyfriend Brandon Bakhshai ’19 were on very successful, yet surprisingly unfulfilling, career paths. Then came the idea of dentistry.
“My boyfriend just looked at me one day and said, ‘I think I want to be a dentist,’ “ said Kaissal. “And I was just like, ‘what?’”
The idea caught her off guard, but piqued her interest.
“This was something I had never thought of as an actual job, but considering I had no idea what I wanted to do, I thought, maybe this is something I should look into. “
The couple moved to North Carolina, both now interested in a pathway to dental school. Bakshai had a degree in engineering from Columbia University, so he opted to do the post-bacc pre-health program that UNCG offered – now referred to as the Premedical & Predental Post-Baccalaureate Program, in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Kaissal came to UNCG shortly after his commitment to the University, as a non-traditional student. Taking into account the courses she had completed at other colleges, she narrowed down her future bachelor’s degree to psychology, English, or economics.
She ultimately settled on economics.
“With dental school, you’re on your own after four years, so you could start a dental practice if you wanted,” she noted. “And I just felt like I was setting myself up to head in that direction.”
And she has.
Kaissal and Bakshai are currently in dental school at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and one step closer to their dream jobs. But even across the country, they’ve maintained their Spartan pride.
“We loved it. UNCG was just this special, magical place,” said Kaissal. “And for me, the big thing was the environment. There’s just so much lushness and life, you just feel it when you walk around.”
By Brittany Cameron
Courtesy photo of Kaissal and Bakshai.