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"Do what you love, and love what you do!"

Having parents from Nigeria that made a lot of sacrifices, Mark Abere has always understood the true meaning of hard work. He is determined to graduate from dental school at UAB and then establish a dental practice that supports a future family. Read about our #MCM's story:

1.What's your story? What makes you unique?

My story starts a little bit before I was born, in a small town located in southern Nigeria. Both of my parents were born, raised and educated in Nigeria; however, my dad wanted to pursue his career and post secondary education in America, where he believed that there would be more opportunities for not only himself, but his future family as well. With this goal in mind, he moved to the states and got his Masters in Business Administration. Not long after, he brought his wife to the states and started a family in Georgia.

My prelude has everything to do with where I am, and what I am today. My parents never relented in telling me that I should make the most of every opportunity opportunities. Growing up, we took several trips back ‘home’ where we would visit our extended family and spend time in Nigeria. I remember the first time my parents took my siblings and I back to Nigeria for summer holidays. When we first got there, we experienced culture shock! We loved every second of our vacation, but quickly realized that we need to be grateful for all the things that what we have, rather than complain about the things that we didn’t have.

If I were to say that being Nigerian is what makes me unique, that would be a lie because there are over a 174 million other Nigerians that roam this earth with me. However, I can say that there is no other person on this earth that has the same combination of motives, character, and dreams that I do. This is what I believe makes me unique.

2. What motivates you?

Realizing that where I am right now is not a coincidence is probably one of my biggest motivations, there were a lot of sacrifices made on my behalf and the most I can do to repay these efforts and sacrifices is to be the best I can be.

I believe that every failure, every mistake and every success happens for a reason and can be learned from. Apart from being the best that I can be, I am motivated to not make the same mistake twice, learning the most that I can from every setback I encounter.

3. Who is a hero of yours?

My dad is definitely my hero. He’s a great example of what I want to be when I grow up … I’ve seen so many characteristics in him that I would love to have as a father, husband, brother and even friend. He maintains a level of selflessness that I could only hope to have half of in my daily dealings with people. He has shown me that if I can dream it, I can definitely achieve it. He’s one of my biggest fans and I’m also one of his.

4. What's your future plan? Your goals?

My goal is to graduate from Dental School a stronger person physically, academically and spiritually. I want to work in a field that enables me to impact kids and youth on a daily basis. I want to establish a successful dental practice that enables me to love my career, while also supporting and loving my family.

5. If you could give one piece of advice, what would it be?

I would say to do what you love, and love what you do. Never live your life trying to please people, because you’ll never be happy. Rather, find something that you love to do and get really good at it! You’ll be happier. I found that out the hard way.

6. What is something you feel strongly about (a cause, belief, etc.)?

I feel very strongly about my faith. My faith in Christ shapes everything that I do, and everything that I eventually hope to be successful in. Christ set a great example of humble service and that is what I strive to attain in my daily interactions with people. He was an exemplary brother, father and servant that preached about loving all mankind. Emulating his behavior is not the easiest thing to do, but definitely is a work in progress.

7. What's one of the coolest things you've ever done?

I recently went on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic this past spring break and it changed my life! I decided to do it because I knew I wanted to spend my last spring break doing something I had never done before, while also doing something that would help me grow me in my faith.

The trip lasted for seven days; each day we would ride out to rural areas of the Dominican Republic and host a vacation bible school for children in their various public schools. After that, we would go into the community and pray with parents and family of the kids we taught in the morning. This trip was pivotal in making me realize that my career had to entail working with children and younger adults. I saw a need in these children. Oral health was not a priority of their parents, as ultimately they had a variety of more important things to worry about. Most of the kids that we interacted with lived in a rural area where their parents made money from the crops they grew along with barter and trade. Thus, the money and time required were not available for them to seek the help of dentist. I determined then that I would incorporate medical missions into my future practice. In all, the trip was everything I wanted it to be, making it the coolest thing I had ever done!

If you'd like to reach out to Mark with any questions, you can reach him HERE.


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