Health Professions Advising Office (HPAO)
University of Mississippi

Mary Mestayer

Pre-Dental Mary MestayerStudent from Ocean Springs, MS


Why did you decide to pursue this health profession? I knew in high school I wanted to pursue a career in a health profession but I wasn’t sure which one until I attended Mid-South Mission of Mercy my sophomore year of college. Through the HPAO, I got the opportunity to volunteer at Mid-South Mission of Mercy, a free dental clinic, in Memphis, TN. After volunteering, I continued to shadow general dentists from my home town and fell in love with the profession. Dentistry is the ideal intersection of preventive and restorative care that incorporates a hands-on approach to patient care.

What is your major and why did you choose it? I am majoring in Biology with minors in Chemistry and Math. I choose my major because I loved the science courses I took high school and wanted to keeping learning about topics in biology that I was interested in. I also really wanted a major that allowed me to learn hands-on, through laboratories and experiments in the classroom.

How has the HPAO helped you? The HPAO has helped me in so many ways- from being my cheerleader to providing me with resources and opportunities to succeed. When I initially decided to pursue dentistry, I met with Dr. Taylor, the HPAO pre-dental advisor. He worked with me to create a plan ensure I was a competitive dental school applicant. Dr. Taylor is always available to reassure me when I’m stressed or to talk about how to maximize my college experience. The resources the HPAO provides students are invaluable and help make pre-health students feel confident about their future careers. When I faced any crossroads in my pre-dental journey, the HPAO is there to guide me and ensure I make smart, informed choices about my future. As a senior who just finished applying to dental school, the HPAO was a lifesaver. The HPAO offered so much guidance to help make an overwhelming process less stressful and Dr. Taylor was constantly available to proofread essays and answer questions.

What is your most memorable experience working with the HPAO? My most memorable experience working with the HPAO is attending prospective student events. I have loved my college experience and I am always happy to share my experience with prospective students. I know that college can seem daunting and overwhelming to prospective students, especially pre-health professions students, but through guidance with resources such as the HPAO, college can be a enjoyable experience.

What are your career goals? My career goals are to attend dental school and eventually open my own dental practice.

What is your favorite meal in Oxford? Hands-down, Jinsei.

What are you happiest doing when not working or studying? Being with friends! I’m a people person so hanging out and catching up with friends is the highlight of my week!