by Brandon Stapleton, Alice Lloyd Class of 2007
When I graduated from Prestonsburg High School in 2003, I wasn’t at the top of my class. I didn’t have a prestigious, full-ride scholarship waiting for me. I was simply the son of teenage parents who did the best they could to provide for me and give me the best life possible, better than what they had themselves. I wasn’t raised with things handed to me; I always had to work hard for anything I got. I knew who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do with my life: I wanted to help people by giving them something that kept me going through all the difficult times – a smile. I wanted to be a dentist.
As a kid, I had unique teeth problems. Mostly jaw problems that later required jaw surgery to correct skeletal issues that were affecting my bite. Because of the dentists, orthodontists, and surgeons who put me back together, I knew I wanted to help people similarly. Thanks to a program at the University of Louisville, designed to help students from under-served communities pursue healthcare careers, I was able to complete the Professional Education Preparation Program (PEPP) the summer between graduating high school and beginning my educational journey at Alice Lloyd College. That summer I re-affirmed my goal of a future career in dentistry. This was a lofty aspiration, especially considering that no one in my family other than my aunt, who is a middle school teacher and alumna of ALC, had ever graduated from college, much less a professional program in the medical field.
Obtaining my bachelor of science degree in biology from Alice Lloyd College is something for which I am exceptionally proud. While at ALC, my outlook on the world broadened and my work ethic soared. Not only did I participate in the school’s work study program, but I volunteered hundreds of hours in community and world service, traveling to Haiti and Peru to provide medical and dental aid. I also organized and spent a week with fifteen other students providing relief aid from Hurricane Katrina in Biloxi, Mississippi. For this service, I and the other fifteen students were recognized as Kentucky Colonels.
ALC gave me other opportunities, which included serving the campus community for three years under Christine Stumbo and Scott Cornett as Resident Advisor (RA), Assistant Head RA, and Head RA. Building those leadership skills early on have become vital to my success today.
After completing my bachelor’s degree, I had the honor of accepting admission to the University of Louisville School of Dentistry (Class of 2011), and later, I furthered my career goals by becoming the first of two students admitted into a new specialty program at U of L in the field of Prosthodontics. My classmate and I will finish our program in June of 2015.
I owe so much of my success to Alice Lloyd. I not only had the cost of my tuition guaranteed by the College, but, as one of the College’s Caney Scholars, I also received financial assistance while studying at the University of Louisville. I am reminded every day how fortunate I am, and I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without ALC’s help and support.
I want to give something back to my community—local, regional, country and world! At Alice Lloyd College, Richard Kennedy introduced me to a philosophy that I and many of my fellow alums have embraced and followed. Alice Lloyd and June Buchanan’s desire was that each student would catch a vision of their purpose, which would eventually manifest itself in world service. The Purpose Road Philosophy includes the following passage that I have held close to my heart since I read it many years ago:
By an inexorable law,
What we expect tends to come to us.
Facing life in the right way, we must have
Then hold the thought and work toward it.
It will come as dawns the day.
I have my purpose, I know my goal, and I am following the vision of my future and working towards that, day in and day out.
Since graduating from ALC, I have traveled back to Haiti to help those affected by the 2010 earthquake, providing dental services at an orphanage in Port-au-Prince. I have had the opportunity to give back to my home community by participating in several Remote Area Medical (RAM) events in Eastern Kentucky. Recently, I had an academic paper accepted for publication in the Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry. The report explores using current technology to reduce treatment time and costs to patients. Without going to extreme lengths, we use Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM), as well as computer-guided implant surgery to place dental implants and restore them relatively quickly.
Upon completing my professional education, my goal is to open a new prosthodontic practice in Lexington, KY, where I can serve my community by providing state-of-the-art prosthetic dentistry to Central and Eastern Kentucky. I’m forever indebted to the generosity of the College and promise to do my part to make ALC proud of me as a product of its important and unique mission.
Alice Lloyd College is always looking for stories about our alumni! If you have a story to tell, or if you know an alumna or alumnus who has received an award, published an article, book, or influential research, or has accomplished something noteworthy, please let us know by visiting this page.