Newlyweds from dental and medical school make CWRU their home for next four years

Jacqueline and James Buschbach

After some intensive planning, newlyweds Jacqueline and James Buschbach landed on the same campus to start medical and dental school together.

Jacqueline is one of 74 first-year Case Western Reserve University dental students as part of a diverse and accomplished entering class. Meanwhile, James is a first-year medical school student just a few buildings away.

The couple, from the Irish-American neighborhood of Beverly on Chicago’s South Side, met during their senior year when their high schools competed in a boys vs. girls trivia match between Mother McAuley and Brother Rice.

“It was love at first sight,” she said. The couple has been together ever since.

The recent University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign graduates were married in June. With teamwork to muster the right plan to get into the schools of their choice, Cleveland is now home for the next four years until graduation.

To be newly married and move to a new city to pursue different medical professions on the same campus is fairly uncommon. But others have taken unusual routes to become part of the dental school’s Class of 2018 as well.

Here’s a snapshot:

  • 39 are men and 35 are women.
  • 36 students are related to a dental professional.
  • 12 students are related to alumni of the dental school.
  • 59 students have bachelor’s degrees, eight have master’s degrees, and six are pre-bachelor (PPSP early admittance to dental school).
  • Their average age is 24.1.
  • Their median overall GPA is 3.66.
  • There are 14 international students: eight from Canada, four from South Korea and one each from Mexico and Vietnam.
  • 21 are from Ohio and 39 from out-of-state.

Several new members of the Class of 2018 took non-traditional paths into dental medicine:

  • Noriel Garcia, 30, moved from Cuba to the United States three years ago. In Cuba, Garcia worked as a research associate on the epidemiology of HIV.
  • Natasha Lai, 33, was born in Russia and worked as a certified nursing assistant in Chicago before pursuing dental medicine. She’s not the only nurse: Tyler Zagorec, 25, with his BSN degree, worked in a medical intensive care unit.
  • Britni Skoda, 29, with a degree in commerce and marketing from DePaul University, was a former regional manager for 3M.

“We are extremely proud of our diverse entering student class, rich in unique experiences and notable accomplishments,” said Kenneth Chance, dean of the School of Dental Medicine.