Alex Crisp

This Pirate is gaining confidence
in dental medicine.

Alex Crisp is a dental student in the first class at ECU

Fourth-year East Carolina University dental student Alex Crisp grew up watching his mother’s life as a dentist, thinking that was not for him.

“As a kid I looked at it as I don't want to work that hard when I grow up. I want do something fun and a little more relaxing.”

Ultimately his lifelong exposure to the profession won him over and Crisp realized he had a future in dentistry. “I’m like a kid in a candy store when I’m at the clinic,” he said.

He knew that if his vocation felt like a vacation, he would enjoy it every day. “There’s a peacefulness to it,” said Crisp. Dentistry is good for the patient and the dentist, he said. That's because the patient can leave the office healthier, while the dentist has performed fulfilling work.

“Everybody is benefitting, and the whole situation is a positive for both parties,” said Crisp.

Crisp was placed at the dental community service learning center in Ahoskie, where he enjoys the learning environment.

“The clinic is awesome. They are pushing us to really work on our skills,” said Crisp. He described the Ahoskie center as feeling like a private practice dental office.

The dental service learning centers in rural locations throughout the state and in Ross Hall provide Crisp with the exposure to dental medicine that he wanted. “I thought I would get a lot of clinical experience at ECU and that would make me a much better dentist when I graduated,” he said.

“What brought me to ECU was the curriculum,” said Crisp. “I thought that the school was innovative and ahead of the curve.”

Crisp said he appreciates how the ECU professors teach in a manner that puts together all the pieces of dental medicine. He has become confident about performing effective dental practices.

After he graduates, Crisp hopes to impact people’s lives outside his dental office. As a mentor and a coach to a peewee football team, Crisp is already demonstrating his commitment to serving the community. He also works with prospective dental students to prepare them for the application process.

“I want to provide good care, but outside of that I want to be a good role model in the community,” said Crisp.

What are you most looking forward to in your last year of dental school?
Graduation. It will be cool with us being the first class. In addition to that, having earned a dental degree.

What do you hope life will be like as a dentist?
I hope that I’ll do things in the community that impact people’s lives beyond the office and the drill. I want to be involved with other things besides dentistry in the community.

What do you like about working in the dental clinics?
They (the practicing dentists) have already been through everything. They have a couple tricks that they don't mind teaching you – sort of like a big brother. Some concepts are easier to learn from them. They have the perspective of how they were just struggling with something and are willing to show me. 

Why did you choose to attend ECU?
I thought it would fit better with my learning style. I like how they put all of the systems together. You’re not guessing if something from last semester matches up with something from this semester. They automatically tell you. That made it a no-brainer for me in that sense because when you see a patient, you will have to put all the pieces together.

Why is working with the Student National Dental Association important to you?
People that I looked up to were leaders in the National Dental Association and that made me aspire to be like them. I wanted to carry the torch and serve (in the leadership roles) like them. I want to give back and serve to make the dental school education that much better because of those who believed in me. 

Photography by: Cliff Hollis
Written by: Jamitress Bowden



College: School of Dental Medicine

Major: Dentistry

Age: 26

Class: 4th Year Dental Student

Hometown: Burlington, North Carolina

Hobbies & Interests: Watching movies and sports, trying new restaurants, mentoring underclassmen and prospective dental students

Clubs & Organizations: Student National Dental Association, American Student Dental Association, Student Professionalism Ethics Association, American Dental Association Political Action Committee, North Carolina Dental Society, Christian Medical Dental Association, ECU DMD Service Organization, Student member of Academy of General Dentists.


Hangout: Anywhere with family or friends

Place to Eat: Sakura Asian Express

Class: Exodontia (the art and science of removing teeth)


TV Show: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

Musician: T.I.

Movie: The Dark Knight


Most Influential Professor: It’s impossible to choose one professor. Being that I’m in the inaugural class, I feel that all of my professors have been influential.

Dream Job: Dentist

You Can’t Live Without: My “manager” and “agent” (fiancé and brother)

Role Model: Mother and Grandfather

Words to Live By: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”  - Ghandi

Advice to Fellow Students:  “Strive to thrive, and not just survive.”

Words of Wisdom

“Strive to thrive, and not just survive.”

– Alex Crisp