Alumni Profile: Sean Welander C'08
Sean Welander C’08 wanted a job that would allow him to stay active, work with his hands, and interact with people. With an interest in healthcare, he decided to become a dentist.
To achieve this goal, Sean majored in biology, minored in chemistry, and was on the pre-dentistry track, where North Park’s faculty provided him with a solid foundation of knowledge and the appropriate exposure to science and healthcare. They also gave him advice on coursework, counseling in the application process, and wrote letters of recommendation. “The faculty helped me achieve my goals,” said Sean, who graduated from University of Iowa College of Dentistry in 2012.
Sean points to many of his North Park classes as important steps on his path to dentistry, preparing him to take the dental admission test (DAT) and succeed in graduate school. For example, microbiology taught him about infectious diseases and bacterial infections, and biochemistry illuminated the way the body functions at the molecular level. Anatomy and genetics classes stood out as well, including a course with Dr. Jeff Nelson utilizing a cadaver lab at Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center, where Sean gained important hands-on experience. Research alongside North Park faculty taught him how to critically read scientific literature.
North Park provided him with other ways to develop important life skills that served him well in graduate school. He gained leadership experience as a residence assistant in the residence halls and learned how to be a team player though his participation in the men's rowing club. “The North Park community allowed me to grow and develop as a person outside of the coursework,” he said.
Although he passed his boards and became licensed to be a dentist after dental school graduation, Sean opted for a four-year residency in oral and maxillofacial surgery at University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics, where he is in a program that will eventually allow him to do clinical and surgical work, such as wisdom teeth removal, dental implants, and bone grafting, in a private practice.