Ripon College foundation provides path to dentistry for Ross Oberschlake ’07

The path to dentistry for Dr. Ross Oberschlake ’07 was built on a foundation made at Ripon College. “Taking key courses through the biology and chemistry departments got me ready to enter into any career in the health field,” says Oberschlake of Hillcrest Family Dental in Waukesha, Wisconsin. “All the professors gave incredibly personalized attention and encouraged me.”

Choosing dentistry, though, wasn’t a lock. Studying at Ripon College enabled him to shadow medical professionals from multiple fields, from internal medicine, to dermatology, to podiatry. he majored in biology with a minor in chemistry, but it wasn’t until he studied abroad in Wales that he selected dentistry.

“Dr. Colleen Byron was instrumental in my success in dental school. She was so patient with me when the more advanced chemistry courses became more challenging,” Oberschlake says. “Not only is she brilliant, but her passion for teaching made the most difficult concepts understandable. She was willing to spend extra time with me when I needed it.”

Today, he’s thankful for the attention he received from professors at Ripon College: “I firmly believe if I had gone to a large state school there would be no chance of me getting into dental school.”

Dentistry, Oberschlake discovered, is the perfect career for him. It’s a chance to make a difference in multiple generations of a family while also utilizing other passions he developed at Ripon College. “I love the artwork included in my day. I took pottery at Ripon, and now I get to make tiny sculptures every day,” he says.

He adds, “I have poured so much into trying to be the greatest dentist I possibly can be. … All in all, Ripon has helped bless me with the opportunity to become a dentist, and I want to use that blessing to give people the smiles they deserve.”

Ian Stepleton ’98
Adjunct Instructor of Journalism

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