As University students anticipated getting into spring semester, spring 2020 brought its own unforeseen challenges. Sophie Bell was unfazed. “My reaction to the pandemic was what my reaction is to every chaotic and unknown situation I encounter: I am going to learn about it and figure out how to fight it so that we can overcome it.”
Vision for the Future
Sophie had been working as a dental hygienist since she graduated from the dental hygiene program in 2015. Her long-term vision was to attend dental school—“I’m considering the DDS/PhD program,” she says—and her path to that was the Master of Biological Sciences program with CCAPS. Anxious to get the academic ball rolling, she started with a course in 2019 that would transfer to the MBS program. “Since the MBS application was due in October and I knew my intentions of applying to the program, I figured why wait until spring of 2020, when I could start a class and transfer it?”
"My reaction to the pandemic was what my reaction is to every chaotic and unknown situation I encounter: I am going to learn about it and figure out how to fight it so that we can overcome it."
Her studies have proved immediately useful to Sophie. “I’ve already been able to apply many concepts I learned from my MBS to clinical practice,” working in a metropolitan dental clinic. What’s more, her classes have opened her eyes to the interrelatedness of health care fields. “The MBS program has prepared me in that it has been a good reminder that every health care discipline works together in some fashion or another. We have a tendency to see things only through the lens of our own field, but we always get a better result when we understand that there are different viewpoints and try to work with the people that have those viewpoints.”
Advancing Like a Boss
She has no fear of pushing herself forward: self-described as acrobatic and competitive, she enjoys obstacle races with her husband, Ian. She geared up for work with additional PPE, since she worked on maskless patients all day. For her personal life, she made a point of checking in on friends and loved ones. She also ran her own research on the latest medical updates and shared her findings with her contacts, in a gesture of caring.
Optimism and concern for her community motivated her to look for opportunities for better information, which arose in the pursuit of her MBS. “I was very lucky to be in a program where I could learn about this pandemic from experts in the field,” she says. “When we learn more about threats, we can create strategies to fight them, which reduces the scare factor.”