Stephen Rogers studies Italian and is currently a senior in the UB School of Dentistry.
"My journey through post-secondary education always had an endpoint in mind. Dentistry was my single aim. With that charge, an educational journey through the core sciences is predicated, if not mandatory.
But I soon realized that my sanity was waning. I began speaking with advisors about taking some language courses – a subject that I enjoyed immensely in grade school. This turned into a conversation about establishing a minor, and eventually the possibility of accomplishing a double major. The freedom to pursue my interests in the humanities while satisfying my primary goal was due to the flexibility of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures (RLL).
I didn’t only find time to satisfy degree requirements. I spent six weeks abroad and immersed in a culture best understood by living amongst its people. My coursework at an Italian university was easily calibrated to my Buffalo transcripts. Professors worked with me to ensure that I was on schedule for graduation and that I had the opportunity to engage in independent study. The support I received from the department was tremendous and served as a primary reason why I was able to graduate with a double major in Biological Sciences and Italian.
As I finish up my final year of dental school, I have utilized my language skills in a few unique ways. Some patients of the school only speak Italian, and others are simply excited that a student doctor can speak the tongue of “the old country.” Anything to help a patient relax in a notoriously stressful environment is essential to successful dental treatment. Not surprisingly, as a romance language, Italian, like medicine, is deeply rooted in Latin. Medical and dental students learn thousands of new words during their pre-doctoral training. It certainly lowered the learning curve to know much of the medical (Latin) terminology before I even opened the textbooks.
The support I received from RLL throughout my undergraduate studies benefited me in ways that I didn’t even anticipate at the time. It’s been seven years since graduation, and the department is more robust and dynamic than ever. I encourage all UB undergrads to explore their options no matter their academic and career goals." – Stephen Rogers