Mark Spencer Goodman is a native Hoosier, who grew up in Marion, Indiana and graduated from Eastbrook High School. He then went on to Ball State University and completed a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Linguistics along with the dental school prerequisite courses. He is currently in his second year of dental school at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Mark Spencer Goodman

Mark Spencer Goodman

His hobbies include dabbling in learning other languages, writing, journaling, and exercising. He is involved in his new church in Cleveland, Rhema Fellowship Church, and leads a Bible study for high schoolers online for his Muncie church, First Baptist Church in Downtown Muncie. Mark’s parents both graduated from Ball State University, and he currently has a sibling in his final few years of study there as well.

His future hopes include pursuing community dentistry to work in a community health center, as well as potential dental mission work overseas.

What did you study while you were at Ball State?

While at Ball State, I studied and received my Bachelor’s degree in Spanish Linguistics. I also completed the prerequisite courses for dental school, and achieved minors in both Biology and Chemistry.

What is your career now? 

I am currently in my second year of dental school, which I believe was aided in no small part due to my study abroad in Argentina. There I not only increased my Spanish skills more than I had thought possible, but I shadowed and assisted dentists at a hospital while I was there. Needless to say this was part of my personal statement to get into dental school, which I believe helped me stand out from others.

What does a typical week in your position look like?

A typical week in dental school does not unfortunately lend itself to much Spanish-speaking. However, the humanities teaches you more than the ability to speak with others: it helps you to do so more compassionately and understandably. Therefore when it comes to dental school lab work, we have to often seek outside help in order to accomplish our lab requirements.

This necessitates proper communication with those who can help you, and then utilizing communication skills while receiving this help. For example, when a tutor is saying how to construct some aspect of our dentures project we are making, he will say what should be done, and I simply repeat to him what he said. This allows me to process what he said, and then let him know how I anticipate he wants me to perform the action.

What are the most valuable skills you learned in your major? 

Learning how to ask questions, being inquisitive, is something I also developed while studying the humanities at Ball State. Sometimes you must ask yourself: I have been spending multiple 4-hour sessions and achieving very little progress on my lab work-how can I do this more efficiently? The humanities teach you how to deviate from the path when the path no longer serves you. All of these skills have kept me going while in my graduate program.

What is your advice to other Humanities students? 

My advice to other humanities students is to not think that you have to have everything figured out at a specific point in time. With this in mind, it is pertinent to continue searching out what you will do after you finish your excellent humanities education at Ball State. I did not decide to go to dental school until my study abroad, which was the very semester before I graduated: I applied the year after this experience and was accepted. While this may seem like I possessed unique ability (or something similar that makes me seem “different”) this is not the case: I had been searching out how to use my Spanish degree since I decided to make this my major going into my second year at BSU.

One may find that, after a long and arduous search, events do fall into place. It is not luck, it is not a fluke: it is a result of putting in consistent and moderate effort over a long time. Education in the humanities is valuable, you must simply learn how to utilize this education in the proper context: keep searching and you will find what you need.