Dr. Chet Adams

Don't give up on your dream

Article and photograph by Dennis Durband,
NPC Marketing Staff Writer

SHOW LOW Achieving one's career goal isn't always a straight, smooth road. Dr. Chet Adams encountered twists and turns on his journey to dental school, but he persisted in the pursuit of his dream. Today he is serving the dental needs of people in the White Mountains and heavily engaged in service to his local and other communities. He is also the winner of the Northland Pioneer College (NPC) Outstanding Alumnus Award for the spring 2018 semester.

Dr. Chet Adams
Dr. Chet Adams

Adams excelled academically while attending NPC from 2003-2004 and during subsequent summer terms while also working on his bachelor's degree at Northern Arizona University (NAU). He earned a bachelor's in biomedical science and minored in Spanish and chemistry, graduating from NAU in 2007.

The son of Show Low dentist Dr. Trent Adams, Chet grew up with an interest in serving in the medical field. He was initially focused on ophthalmology, but ultimately decided to move toward dentistry. While studying at NPC, he gained valuable experience working in his father's dental office.

Looking back on his NPC education, Dr. Adams calls it “priceless. NPC was one of the places that taught me how to study and how to communicate with teachers who were willing and open to help me out. If I had it to do all over again I'd start with NPC in a heartbeat.”

Adams' dental school dream didn't happen right away. He applied to dental schools, but it took a few years before he gained acceptance. Diverted temporarily to other fields of employment, he never lost sight of his ultimate career destination.

For three years, Adams ran the diabetes education program at North Country HealthCare in Flagstaff. He taught classes, counseled people and conducted diabetes screenings in communities spanning from Springerville to Bullhead City.

In 2008-2009 Adams worked as a substitute teacher in the Mesa School District. It was during this time that a faculty member at A.T. Still University mentored him and helped him sharpen his approach to the dental school application process. In 2012, at the age of 30, Adams was accepted for admission to the Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health. He graduated in 2016 and received the Student Award of Merit for his work in esthetics from the American Academy of Esthetic Dentistry.

In July of 2016, he began working full-time with his father at Adams Family Dental. Chet is a member of both the Arizona Dental Association and the American Dental Association. “My satisfaction level with dentistry is a 10,” he says. “I'm very happy with what I'm doing. We have a great staff to work with,” including his wife Shelly, a dental hygienist and former NPC student as well. “Having my dad as a mentor is great and I have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of patients with language barriers. I enjoy serving the under-served.”

Dr. Adams has made two visits to Mexico and, working 12-14 hours a day, provided free dentistry to hundreds of patients. He is also a Boy Scout leader and engaged in community service projects. By attending monthly meetings of the White Mountains Study Club, Dr. Adams and colleagues in his field stay current on innovations in dentistry and discuss opportunities to meet the dental needs of the community.

Julia Barton, a dental hygienist at Adams Family Dental and the mother of five current and former NPC students, nominated Chet for the Outstanding Alumnus Award. “Dr. Adams is a wonderful dentist and truly exhibits his gratitude for the education that has gotten him to where he is today, back in his hometown and giving back to his community,” she said.

Dr. Adams encourages people to persist in the pursuit of their dreams, and says, “If what you're doing isn't working, make changes. If you have a hard time succeeding, don't be afraid to change strategies to achieve your goals. Be grateful for the support you get from friends, family and teachers.”

NPC's District Governing Board will honor Dr. Chet Adams during its next regular meeting in Holbrook on May 15. He will also receive a plaque, a certificate for three free credits at NPC and a one-year pass to all events at the college's Performing Arts Center.

To read more about previous NPC Outstanding Alumnus Award winners, or to nominate an NPC graduate for this award, visit www.npc.edu/alumni-award-recipients.

– – – N P C – Expanding Minds • Transforming Lives – – –