Hannah Benford is only a few months into her undergraduate career at University of Detroit Mercy, but already has her eyes set on a bright future.
The Biology student from Bay City, Mich., dreams of one day becoming a dentist and owning her own practice. When the time comes, she hopes to continue her education at Detroit Mercy’s School of Dentistry.
“I just want to become the best dentist I can be,” Benford said.
Benford has already taken strides to achieve this goal. She gained invaluable experience in dentistry during high school, working as an assistant at the dental office where her mother and uncle are employed.
“It was honestly pretty awesome,” Benford said. “It was nice, because I had the family connection, but I also had the boss-to-coworker connection. I wasn’t really treated like my uncle’s niece or my mom’s daughter. I was treated like their coworker and I really enjoyed that.”
Dentistry isn’t Benford’s only passion; she loves volunteering and giving back to the community. She finished her high school career with 400 community service hours, aided younger students as a tutor and was active in her church while growing up.
“I just most enjoy giving back and seeing the satisfaction of the people after I finish helping them,” Benford said.
Detroit Mercy appealed to Benford because of a family connection — her uncle and two cousins attended the University — and its close-knit McNichols Campus. She also earned a sizable scholarship from Detroit Mercy.
“I came from a really small school. I went and toured University of Michigan and Michigan State University, and they were too big for me. And Detroit Mercy, the furthest walk is like 10 minutes, so that’s why I liked it,” she said.
In addition to her studies, Benford works as a student assistant in the Office of the President, where she aids Detroit Mercy President Antoine M. Garibaldi and his staff by answering phones, filing paperwork and helping around the office. The role allows Benford to meet Detroit Mercy students and employees, and she’s even able to foster a lasting connection with Garibaldi.
“Dr. Garibaldi and I, we have some one-on-one time, so I really like that,” Benford said. “I think it’s nice, because he helped me pick out a lot of my teachers. And I was having some issues with getting in the swing of things, so he really helped me with that too.”