Meet 2018 Norma L. Kelly Scholarship recipient: Valerie Burks

I am extremely grateful to have received a generous scholarship from the OMS Foundation Alliance. It afforded me the opportunity to accompany my husband to the 2018 AAOMS meeting.

It was quite the dynamic being a general dentist myself and finding myself married to an OMS resident. The long hours, demanding schedules and long years of schooling still take a toll, it was very nice meeting other dentist spouses. They understood the unique challenge of having to put your career on hold, and the inability to put down roots at your office as you’re only a temporary presence, counting down the years until graduation.

2018 Kelly Scholarship Winners – Standing: Kenny Estelle (with Owen), Valerie Burks, Ashley Barzan, Alison Mancia, Ansley Bunnell, Emily Boggess, Vivian Marechek (with Micah) Seated: Catherine Cagino and Maria Tandon

It was good to meet all the other spouses and learn how they juggle their home lives, managing a household, children, pets, etc.

The Alliance members I did get the chance to meet and speak with were all very pleasant and very welcoming. I enjoyed chatting with them and learning where all they are now and how much everyone’s hard work had paid off in the long run.

What I really enjoyed was being given the chance to see deeper into my husband’s world. Aspects of our careers may have some overlap but it was eye-opening to see and meet the people that have made such an impact on him. We had dinner one evening with his future employers and, before the end of the week, he had signed a letter of intent to commit to working with them. Without this scholarship, we wouldn’t have been able to meet these individuals as we’ve met every other decision in our marriage, together as a team.

Again, I am grateful I was afforded the opportunity to spend a week with my husband supporting, networking, and accompanying him at AAOMS this year, I am grateful to the Alliance for all it has to offer. It is my hope to return the favor in kind to some spouse who is looking to do the same in the future.

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