Aimee writes: “As part of Columbia’s dental school orientation we did a boat cruise around the city. It was that night we spotted each other. Not many words were exchanged, but as everyone said their goodbyes at the end of the night with waves or handshakes I gave Eric a kiss on the cheek goodbye. There was something there, but we weren’t quite sure what just yet.
“Fast forward to walking me home from lectures, dinner dates post anatomy lab, long nights in the pre-clinic drilling plastic teeth, local anesthesia shots to each other’s faces for practice, all nighters at Hammer Library to ace those dreaded pathophysiology exams. There was true connection. Some might call it ‘tooth’ love.
“We began what is now our love for travel. Our first trip together was to Puerto Rico during our second year. I recently learned Eric knew I was ‘the one’ when we were on the tiny island off of Puerto Rico — Cuelebra — & intended to do a night of camping. However, our ferry left too early the next morning for the tent rental to be returned & they would not rent us one. So we made the best of it & slept on the beach with a sheet & our luggage as pillows in the rain. Apparently that sealed the deal!
“After dental school graduation, Eric continued his residency at Columbia for orthodontics and I matched in Boston for pediatric dentistry. While the long distance was not easy, we got to know Bolt Bus very well alternating weekends in each of the two cities. Mid residency we took a big trip to Southeast Asia & while on Phi Phi Leh — a beautiful island in Thailand — Eric proposed.
“We moved in together after residency & soon after married. We continued to live in New York City — as dental school taught us clearly the best city in the world.
“Our dental specialties paired so well together it became very obvious the next move was to open a practice together.
“In 2017 we had our first child, began the construction on our very own dental office & said goodbye to the city that brought us together as we moved to Westfield, New Jersey.
“Columbia University even played a role in where we ended up. Kind of a long-winded story, but the program director of post-graduate studies at the dental school at the time — his wife owned a tiny satellite office in Mountainside NJ that Eric started working at. She chose to retire early and Eric had the option to take over the practice. Being from Long Island I had some major hesitations about New Jersey, but our options were to close our eyes & pick a random town in New York to start an office completely from scratch or take this tiny little orthodontic practice, add pediatric dentistry on, and turn it into something.
“Five years later we are so proud of the office and family we have built , and we have Columbia University to thank for that. So much love.”
Sisterhood Forged On the Floors of Furnald
Kyra Sampson (CC’17), Mariah Maldonado (CC’17), and Jasmine Akuffo (CC’17)