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The History Project

Dr. Jason Bourne

Dr. Jason BourneDr. Jason Bourne (Class of ’01), a member of our Dental Alumni Association board and the Dean’s Club, practices orthodontics in Lake Stevens and Marysville, Wash.

Favorite Marty Anderson story: It was the last quarter of Operative Dentistry with Dr. Anderson in my second year, and I had been dating a girl for a long time and wanted to propose to her. I was going to do it on a trip that came the week of the final – it was really the only week that would work.

If you didn’t pass the regular final, you could retake it the next week. But if you didn’t pass the retake, then you’re spending the summer with Marty and possibly retaking the year.  Obviously I didn’t want to do that. I told Marty my plan, and he told me, “Well, you’d better pass that retake.” I said OK, and he said, “Go for it.” So I proposed and she said yes, and I came back during retake week for the exam.

There were only a few of us there in the lab working on our preparation. The way the exam worked, you got an exam for each part of the process. Your first grade was on your preparation – how you cut the tooth out. Your second grade was on your fill, the third grade was on your polish, and the fourth grade was on the rubber dam. Any score below a 3 and you failed the whole thing.

So I’m taking my retake exam – nervous, of course – and Marty and all the graders are in the back room. I sent in my preparation and got a 4. I was pretty excited about that. I sent in my fill and got a 4 on that – very happy. I sent in the polish, and when you send in a polish they also grade you on how good your rubber dam looks. I got my grade back and I ended up getting a 4 on the polish – and a 2 on the rubber dam because of a little tear I didn’t notice.

I was obviously very upset, realizing I’d failed the whole thing, and was just sitting there. Then I felt a presence behind me, and it was Marty. He said, “How did it go?” I said, “Take a peek,” and he grabbed my grading paper from me and looked at it for a moment with a couple of deep breaths and grunts.

Then he said “Huh” and put it down on the table in front of me. He crossed out the 2 on the rubber dam and gave me a 3. And he said, “Have a nice summer.” Marty was a tough but wonderful instructor who  always had his students’ best interests at heart.

Hardest part of school: Second year was definitely the most challenging for me it was a lot of work, a lot of information. It was very difficult, very taxing, but also obviously worth it. It’s a very important year in school. I think the hardest part was the time needed to cover the information – the time in class and then in lab and then studying afterwards. My schedule most days was probably 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. or midnight – getting about six hours of sleep most nights and then waking up to do it all over again. It was a long year.

What we did to relax:  I loved the socials – those were a blast. We also had intermural soccer teams and sports teams – Ultimate Frisbee, basketball. We had all kinds of teams that we put together as a class, and we had fun playing on weeknights or weekends. And we had parties and barbecues as well.

The camaraderie: When you spend that time with people – battling, studying, learning, struggling – you really have a close bond. That’s why second year was also one of my favorite parts of dental school. You spend so much time getting to know people really well and so much time learning information and spending time in the lab. People helped each other out.  Our class worked really well together. We  supported each other, and that was really great.

Staying involved: There’s my involvement with the Dean’s Club and with the Alumni Association; I try to give back by doing those things. It’s great to attend the football brunch and the football game every year. And I wanted to give back to the school and get involved, at least help with my time and volunteer at events they need us at – the mentor reception, the Practice Opportunities program or things like that. I want to do whatever is needed to guide and give back to the school that gave me so much.

Influential teachers: Dr. Chuck Bolender [Chair of Prosthodontics] was an amazing guy, a legend at the school: super-meticulous attention to detail, quite patient with students. His standards were high, and he expected you to work hard, and he appreciated that. I really enjoyed him; I had him as my clinical instructor, not just as a lecturer.

Dr. Dick McCoy was also a favorite – just so excited about teaching after all the years he had been doing it. He would come into class and tell us that in his dreams he thought of an awesome test question on occlusion, and he couldn’t wait to put it on the exam for us. It was contagious – you can just feed off that excitement, that energy  toward learning. What a great instructor to have for dental anatomy class in first year – our first real dental class.

Dr. Dolphine Oda was also an amazing teacher, and is still amazing. She would describe these soft-tissue lesions on the screen – she would blow them up, and to identify them she would say, “Do you see the blue tinge?” Sometime it was hard to see anything blue, because everything was red and disgusting. So at the end of the year we gave her a blue laser pointer so she could point to the lesion and then it would have blue on it. Then she could say, “Do you see the blue tinge?” and we could say, “Oh yeah, we see it now.” That was a fun thing to do for her.

Dr. Jim Steiner [Associate Dean for Student Services and Admissions] was definitely a favorite of mine, too – just a wonderful guy, wonderful demeanor. He started some of the practice management courses we had in our fourth year, and he was definitely a student advocate.

The Dean, Dr. Paul Robertson, was amazing. He would come to student council meetings and sit in. He would walk around the clinic and ask how you were doing, or stop you in the hall and ask how the school was doing. I really enjoyed him and looked up to him.

Important lesson for current students: I think it would be to remember the big picture. As a student, you get really caught up in the daily grind. So thinking of the bigger picture – of how all of this applies to your job, to your career – is important. To remember that’s the goal.