Recent Graduate Spotlight
Featuring Blakely N. Pond, DDS

RCMDA: To get us started, tell us a little bit about your background (school, training, personal life, etc.)

Blakely: I was born and raised in middle TN. After high school, I moved to east TN to attend East Tennessee State University where I graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Health Sciences in 2016. Then, I moved to Richmond, VA to attend dental school at Virginia Commonwealth University. I married my husband, Caleb, at the beginning of my last year of dental school. I graduated dental school in May 2020 and was commissioned as a Naval officer. I am currently living in Portsmouth, VA and completing a General Practice Residency at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth. I enjoy spending time with my husband, outdoor activities, reading, and exploring new cities. 

RCMDA: When did you first get involved with CMDA? 

Blakely: I became involved in CMDA at the very beginning of dental school in August 2016. 

RCMDA: What CMDA leadership roles did you participate in while in Dental School at VCU? (you can share your roles and also your effort in getting CMDA recognized at the dental school)

Blakely: During my time as a member of CMDA, I served as a Chapter Representative on the National Student Council, Social Chair, and Vice President. I helped coordinate CMDA representation at the dental school organization fairs and CMDA guest speakers for dental school Lunch & Learns. During my final year as a student, I spearheaded the process of getting CMDA recognized as an official organization at the dental school. 

RCMDA: What impacted you the most through your involvement with the CMDA Richmond? 

Blakely: The greatest impact CMDA had in my life was consistent, Christian relationships, mentorship, friendships, and encouragement during my time in dental school. No matter what was happening in life or school, I knew I could always count on members of CMDA to be a listening ear, point me in the direction of Christ, and remind me of the bigger picture and God’s plan for my life. In addition, I was able to go on the El Salvador mission trip two times. It was a privilege to serve alongside my mentors and peers, and I was always blessed spiritually, relationally, and educationally. 

RCMDA: How were you challenged and/or encouraged in your faith as a result of the CMDA community in Richmond?

Blakely: CMDA challenged me to incorporate my faith as a part of my daily walk not only in my personal life but also professionally. I was encouraged to be a light for Christ to my colleagues and patients and was provided with resources, peers, and mentors to help me do so. I still cling to many of the lessons I learned through my time in CMDA such as the work I do for Christ is never in vain, pushing myself to be a great clinician not for my own glory but so Christ can be glorified through me, and remembering the importance of balance and margin. 

RCMDA: Where are you currently pursuing residency and what are your career aspirations?

Blakely: I am currently completing a General Practice Residency at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth. Beginning in summer 2021, I will complete an operational tour with the Navy as a General Dentist. I look forward to serving our country as a Naval officer for many years to come.