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Matthew Pastewait is an Air Force general dentist. He is currently a first year resident in the UNC School of Dentistry Department of Orthodontics.

  1. What is the biggest difference you’ve noticed in transitioning from military life to civilian life?

Here at UNC I can spend the majority of my time caring for patients or learning how to care for them. As a general dentist in the Air Force, a sizable percentage of my day was spent on responsibilities unrelated to direct patient care. 

 2. What is something you wish you had known before moving here?

I actually felt very prepared prior to moving to Chapel Hill. My program assigns two current residents to each inbound resident. I asked them numerous questions during the months leading up to my move, and they patiently answered all of them (even the ones I didn’t know to ask).

 3. What is an important lesson that you learned in the military that has helped you in grad school?

I feel incredibly grateful to live in a free society. Going to class everyday on this beautiful campus and freely sharing ideas with faculty, staff, and classmates is truly a gift. This gratitude motivates me to learn as much as possible so that I can provide the best care to my patients. 

4. What made you choose UNC/NC when deciding on a program/place to study?

The UNC School of Dentistry is a world-renowned institution on multiple fronts, including education, patient care, research, and community outreach to name a few. The Department of Orthodontics shares this acclaim and was recommended to me by both alumni and non-alumni serving in the military. Beyond these recommendations, my interview at UNC is what ultimately made me choose this program. The faculty, staff, and residents were so welcoming, bright, and humble that I knew almost immediately that I found my new home.

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