From actor to dentist
Female Acadia University students given some career wisdom
What do an audiologist, a vet, an urban planner and a paleobiologist have in common?
They were among the 16 professional women who offered mentoring a group of female Acadia University students on Oct. 30 ‘speed-meeting style’.
The career-focused Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) event provided the students with an opportunity to engage with female Acadia alumni around varied career choices.
Speaker for the evening was Dr. Erin Hennessy, a Wolfville dentist and current president of the Nova Scotia Dental Association. She spoke about her “not-so-textbook journey from actor to dentist.”
Hennessy grew up in Kingston and, as a teen, decided, “I was going to study theatre and that was that.”
At 18, she went off to New York City to study musical theatre and found out about that dog-eat-dog world. Hennessy maintains her belief that theatre has the “transformative power to allow people to communicate with each other,” but she bailed on theatre school.
Back in Nova Scotia, she continued performing educational theatre and doing school tours. Hennessy studied towards a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Education at Acadia and taught elementary school for two years, then found herself spending time in her father-in-law’s dental office.
She quit teaching and went back to university for her science credits. After a couple of years, Hennessy was accepted into dental school and she joined the Canadian Forces dental officer training program to carry out her studies without accruing a huge debt load.
In basic training, she discovered a talent for marksmanship.
After completing her dental program, Hennessy was posted to CFB Kingston, the Royal Military College and CFB Halifax. When her husband, Jeff, joined the fac- ulty at Acadia, she decided to leave the military and they settled in Wolfville.
Today, Hennessy employs eight women and is a firm believer in the value of all her education.
“Not a day goes by that I don’t draw on my arts, education and science training, as well as my business experience as a young entrepreneur,” she said.
“If we only examine a problem from one perspective, we may miss important elements.”
Wolfville dentist Erin Hennessy was guest speaker and mentored female Acadia University students ‘speed meeting style’ on Oct. 30.