Erin Goertzen (pictured above with her husband Cameron Goertzen, DDS 1T9) always knew she liked working with kids. And her time as a student at U of T’s Faculty of Dentistry piqued her interest in paedeiatric dentistry.
Currently pursuing a one-year dental residency position at SickKids, Erin was one of only four people in Canada matched to this role. “I’m really enjoying it – it’s a tremendous opportunity to work at one of the best hospitals in the world for kids and to learn from the best.” She hopes to then return to the Faculty next year for the specialty program in paediatric dentistry.
Erin is thrilled with her choice of career. “Dentistry was a perfect choice for me because it also allowed me to integrate my passions of science, health care, and research together with patient care,” she said.
“I love how dynamic the dental profession is, and how it always challenges with new materials, tools, and procedures to learn throughout a career.”
She was attracted to U of T because of its stellar international reputation in academics and research. “Coming from a research background in academic science, I was also drawn to the wide array of summer research opportunities provided by the DDS program at U of T,” she said. “Being interested in potentially pursuing a specialty after a DDS degree, U of T also provided great exposure to all of the dental specialties which really helped me narrow down my interests.”
Looking back on her time at the Faculty Erin recalls many great experiences, but a few moments really stand out. “Orientation week in first year is still one of the best memories I have of dental school – meeting so many new people that have now become some of my closest friends,” she said. “Our class was special in that we became a close-knit family that supported each other through all the ups and downs of the dental degree journey.”
She also enjoyed playing on the women’s dentistry soccer team and being captain in 4th year. “I was fortunate to play with some amazing teammates, and win the Intramural championship title three times in four years!” But perhaps her favourite memory of all was Convocation week. “I loved celebrating as a big class family, and sharing this great moment with my own family and husband, Cameron,” she said. Cameron – whom she met at the University of Western Ontario in 2012 – will be graduating from the Faculty of Dentistry in June, 2019.
After three degrees (including Honours Bachelor of Science from Queen’s University and Master of Science from University of Western Ontario) and countless exams and evaluations, Erin is pleased to put her studies into action. “I am so happy to have the opportunity to get out into the community and make lasting relationships with my patients and their families,” she said. “I’m moving on to a new chapter in life with new and exciting opportunities and challenges.”
In the long term, Erin hopes to open a practice in the Niagara region with Cameron, once they have both finished pursuing specialty dental education at U of T. “We hope to practice in Niagara-on-the-Lake where a lot of our family members live, and where Cameron grew up.”
Erin is the winner of the 2018 Dr. Michael Oliver Memorial Scholarship, awarded to the student who has the most promise to contribute to research in Periodontology.