By the time she was eight, Chrislyn Fite knew she wanted to be a dentist. After graduating cum laude with Marian University’s Class of 2017, she’s well on her way.
This summer, Chrislyn moved to Boston, where she’s starting her first year as a graduate student in the School of Dental Medicine at Tufts University, one of the nation’s most prestigious dental schools.
Her career choice was influenced by a dentist uncle and because she loves to see people smile. “A smile is what makes people shine when you see them. It’s also what we remember after they are gone. I want to make people feel confident about their smiles—and fix the problems that may cause them not to smile.”
When she started considering colleges, Marian University was on her list. “I had always heard good things about Marian’s biology program. I also wanted to play golf and learned the women’s team at that time had the highest GPA of all the university’s athletic teams. When I met Coach Brett Cope and visited the campus, I fell in love with the people and my future teammates. Marian just grabbed my heart from the beginning.”
Chrislyn enjoyed strong relationships with her professors. The university’s biology program was rigorous but she says the faculty helped her truly grasp—not just memorize—key concepts and course material. She completed honors-level coursework in medical physiology and organic chemistry.
“I had amazing relationships with the biology, chemistry, physiology, and other faculty at Marian University. They guided and encouraged me every step of the way as I completed the pre-dental curriculum. Their mentoring and assistance was invaluable in preparing me to score well on the DAT,” she noted.
Working with two Indianapolis dentists, Chrislyn completed two internships before graduation. She shadowed dental hygienists during routine cleanings and X-rays, interacted with patients, watched IV sedation, and even worked at the front desk. She also observed both dentists practice their craft during procedures like root canals, full-mouth extractions, and removal of mandibular tori growths for pre-prosthetic and implant surgery.
“Both internships were super-helpful as I decided what area of dentistry to practice. I saw staff interact with children and adults of all ages and backgrounds and was able to learn more about what it takes to run a dental practice from a business perspective,” she explained.
Included in the 2016-17 listing of “Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges,” the future family dentist competed on Marian’s women’s golf team for three years, traveling to competitions as far as Puerto Rico.
Chrislyn says her student experience at Marian University was beyond what she thought possible for college. “I knew I wanted to go to a smaller university so I wouldn’t be just a number. Everyone at Marian really cared about me and my life outside of the classroom. The support, sense of community, faith, and love that I experienced as an undergraduate at Marian will impact my life for years to come.”
Her advice for high school students who are considering college? “Explore a number of different schools. At first, you may not know what you should major in or what career your heart desires, but in time it will make perfect sense. I knew my priorities: Faith first, then academics, community, athletics, and location. For me, Marian University has it all.”