Celebrating the Dentistry Class of 2021 with Eibhlin Storey

By Emily Leighton, MA'13

For Eibhlin Storey, it’s the in-between moments, added up, that have made her dental education so special – the unexpected moments sandwiched between the bigger, structured tasks.

Graduating this month as a member of the Dentistry Class of 2021, she reflects on four years of small but meaningful moments. “It’s the day-to-day things I’ll miss the most,” she explained. “Catching up with a classmate or instructor in the clinic or walking home with friends after a long day in the simulation lab.” 

Born and raised in Moncton, New Brunswick, Storey completed an undergraduate degree in kinesiology at St. Francis Xavier University.

With an interest in health care, she was drawn to dentistry after working at a dental office in Moncton for a summer. “I love the way dentists have the ability to cultivate the type of environment in which they deliver health care. In dentistry, we have the autonomy to create a practice where people of all backgrounds can receive kind and compassionate care,” she said. 

Eibhlin posing with a friend outside the Dental Sciences BuildingDuring her at time at Schulich Dentistry, Storey was involved in a number of outreach activities, including DOCS Kids and Sharing Smiles Day. “Being involved in the London community has been a big part of my dental school experience,” she said. “I think it’s important to make connections and have an outlet outside of academia.” 

She also served on Dentistry’s student mentorship and orientation committees and participated in several intramural sports teams with classmates. The annual softball tournament and ODA Cup hockey game stand out as highlights for her.

She says the supportive camaraderie of her classmates played a key role in her success. “Being around so many bright and intelligent people, it really motivated me to step up to the plate,” she said. 

Last March, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted Storey’s third year of dental school. Entering fourth year, it continued to impact every aspect of her remaining dental education.

Faculty and staff worked hard to reinvent the structure and model of clinical education during the summer months, including new cleaning and infection protocols, increased screening, staggered scheduling and reduced appointment volumes, ensuring third- and fourth-year students could continue their training in a safe manner.

Although the pandemic tested the students’ physical and mental stamina, Storey believes it also equipped them with new skills and resilience. “The pandemic really challenged the status quo of how we deliver care. And we had to continually adapt to changing guidelines,” she said. “It pushed us to be more efficient, to be better clinicians.” 

Storey also acknowledges the dedicated team of dental assistants who were instrumental in keeping the clinic safely operating during the pandemic. “They helped us adapt and showed so much grace and patience. They took time to check in with each student,” she said. “They really inspired in us the power of a positive attitude.”

Members of the Dentistry Class of 2021 posing in the Simulation LabStorey moved back to the East Coast at the end of May to begin a general practice residency in paediatrics at Dalhousie University and the IWK Health Centre. “During dental school, I learned how much of an impact a positive clinic experience has on children and their parents, and how that translates into positive experiences as adults,” she explained. “I want to be able to make a difference like that in my career, to help kids prioritize and feel good about their oral health.”    

At the end of her dental degree, Storey is grateful and hopeful for the future.

“I wouldn’t be where I am without the community around me – professors and mentors who helped me academically and classmates who became like family,” she said. “I’m so thankful to have shared this experience with them and I know they will continue to inspire me.” 

The Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry congratulates Eibhlin Storey, DDS, and all the members of the Dentistry Class of 2021 on their graduation.