English degree leads to dentistry for Setauket resident

Working towards an English degree, most students would never expect to become a dentist.

Jennifer Englebright was the honored speaker at the Stony Brook University English Department Convocation Ceremony in May. Photo by Stony Brook University

However, that’s exactly what happened to Dr. Jennifer Englebright, speaker at Stony Brook University’s 2022 English Department Convocation. A dentist from Port Jefferson Dental Group, Englebright, who graduated from SBU in 2005, told attendees she considered her “English degree to be of the utmost importance in my career”.

“It prepared me in ways I never could have imagined, and its value became an integral part of my job,” she said.

The Setauket resident went on to say in her speech that her English degree has contributed to the human side of dentistry by giving her “the power and expression of language.”

“Communication is key to helping alleviate the stress and anxiety that so many patients feel,” she said. “Uncertainty often breeds fear, but methodically explaining exactly what the procedure is, in a way that the patient can truly understand, helps temper that fear.”

Andrew Newman, professor and chair of the English department at Stony Brook University, said it was the first in-person call since 2019, and Englebright was well received by students and faculty.

“While some of our outstanding graduates go on to pursue careers in education, law or business, Dr. Englebright demonstrates that English is also excellent preparation for healthcare providers,” said Newman. “I think she would agree that she is a better dentist for studying Virginia Woolf with Professor Celia Marshik.”

Englebright said in a phone interview that many people don’t realize how versatile an English degree is.

“I found my English classes to be more inspiring for my career in medicine than science classes,” she said.

She agreed that reading Woolf’s works was a major influence in her life. His honors thesis was on the author.

“She was all for women’s rights and women in higher education, trying to push and advance women to make their own money in their own careers,” Englebright said.

She was also inspired by the poet William Carlos Williams who was also a doctor.

“I found writers like this to actually be more inspiring to get into medicine than pure science,” Englebright said.

In addition to majoring in English at SBU, Englebright took several science courses. She considered different career paths while in college and was eventually drawn to health care, particularly dentistry. She volunteered at the college dental school and then worked with a local dentist.

After Stony Brook, she attended the University of Pennsylvania School of Dentistry and graduated in 2009. She then did her residency at St. Charles Hospital. For the past 10 years she has practiced at the Port Jefferson Dental Group.

Englebright said science was in his blood. Her father is State Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket), a geologist by profession who still works occasionally at the SBU. His mother June is a retired earth science teacher.

Jennifer Englebright says both of her parents encouraged her to follow her passions in life and never directed her towards any particular career.

“I had complete autonomy to explore whatever I wanted to do in life, and both of my parents gave me that platform to be able to do that,” she said.

When she was in third grade, she, her mother and her sister moved to Wading River after her parents divorced, she said. After returning from Pennsylvania and living in the east and in Melville, she decided to move back to Setauket. In 2020, Englebright married Charles Regulinski, Deputy Chief of the Setauket Fire Department.

“I really wanted to go back to my roots,” she said. “I wanted to be in the Trois Villages district. I love this area.

Recently, Englebright, like many medical professionals, has had to navigate her career through the pandemic.

At first, dentists’ surgeries could only operate in emergencies. Once the doors opened to all patients, she said it was difficult because there was no vaccine or treatment for COVID-19. However, she said they didn’t have to change procedures mainly because they are always ready to fight infections.

“We are a very strict discipline, medicine, especially dentistry,” she said. “We are very strict with infection control.”

She said at first people were hesitant to go back to the dentist, but eventually the office bounced back as many were late for routine care or bad situations escalated as some people didn’t attend to them immediately. dental problems like a broken tooth.

During her speech at the graduation ceremony, Englebright said she hoped to inspire graduates to feel like they didn’t need to be “typed for a role” because they have a college degree. English.

“You don’t have to step into that expected role as a teacher or a lawyer, that traditional path,” she said. “You can really get into whatever you want because you have the foundation to be successful in any field.”

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