Paola Olivares Carzoli

Paola Olivares

Paola Olivares Carzoli

“I believe the Hunt School of Dental Medicine is the best place for me because of the vulnerable populations I will serve in my hometown as I continue my family’s legacy.”

Tell us a little about your background. Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school?

I was born and raised in El Paso. I graduated from Franklin High School and moved for college to the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas, where I graduated with a degree in biology. My parents are originally from Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. After being there for over 20 years, they decided to move to El Paso to get away from the violence and start a better life for our family. Although my father can’t work in the United States, his dental practice remains in Juárez, and he crosses the border twice a day. My grandfather is also a dentist in Juárez. I’m inspired and motivated by their commitment to serve the underprivileged population in our region.

Who or what moment inspired you to go into dentistry?

It wasn’t until I began visiting my father in his dental office in Mexico that I realized I truly had a passion for dentistry. My earliest memories include assisting my father as he provided oral health care to many people from very diverse backgrounds.

What aspects of the unique curriculum are you most looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to completing the coursework for the school’s community health certificate, which will help me gain a deeper appreciation for dentistry. In addition, using conversational Spanish will be critical to earning trust from non-English speaking patients.

How does it feel to be part of the inaugural class at the Hunt School of Dental Medicine?

I’m humbled and deeply appreciative for the opportunity and the amount of support our city and community have given to Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso. This opportunity allows the underserved of El Paso and West Texas to receive empathetic and high-quality care. As the inaugural class, we’ll be the first to give back to our amazing community in such a great way.

Have you received any life-changing support you would like to mention?

I learned to appreciate my father’s work ethic and resilience amid the violence in Mexico. It didn’t stop him from working to provide for our family. Because of that, we have an opportunity to be in the United States, receiving a better education, and in turn, eventually providing health care to others. I also received life-changing support from Minyoung Lee, D.D.S., who provided the financial support I needed to continue my education in dentistry.

Where do you see yourself five years after you complete dental school?

I see myself in my dental clinic serving people in the El Paso community who lack access to dental care. A place that is open to all socioeconomic and cultural groups.

What is something about you people might not know?

I’m on the road to becoming a third-generation dentist in my family but a first-generation dentist in the United States.