A day in their scrubs

May 7th, 2014

Meet D4 fiancés Ari Valverde and Brad Vermeulen

Ari Valverde and Brad Vermeulen have a full agenda the next few weeks. With dental licensing exams now behind them, graduation comes next, followed by the couple’s destination wedding in Cancun, Mexico, a honeymoon and a move to College Station, Texas, where they’ll run Element Dental in Bryan.

The soon-to-be graduates aren’t daunted by all the time they’ll soon spend together, both at work and home. They’re looking forward to the transition of living and practicing dentistry as a team.

“We’re with each other almost 24/7, so we learn how to make the other one feel better,” says Valverde.

“We can play on our weaknesses and strengths,” Vermeulen adds.

Here is a bit more from this dynamic couple, who met their first year at Texas A&M Baylor College of Dentistry in 2010, started dating in March 2011 and have remained dental school sweethearts ever since.


Ari: Houston, Texas

Brad: Austin, Texas

Dental school survival strategy

Ari: Take one day at a time. Do my best in clinic, and always expect the unexpected; during the most challenging cases is when I’ve learned the most.

Brad: Place your patients first, and continuously push yourself to increase your productivity while improving the quality of your care, setting new boundaries each time and absorbing as much as you can. We learn from failure, not from success.

Most productive time of day

Ari: Usually after lunch; the afternoon appointment allows more time, and if I am done early I finish tasks that need to be done before 5.

Brad: Any time of the day. I enjoy being productive; it keeps you busy!

Best way to unwind after a long day in lecture, lab or clinic

Ari: catch up with recorded shows on TV

Brad: read up on the news and sports

Favorite energy food

Ari: frozen yogurt or Takis fuego chips

Brad: licorice or Starburst

Goal after graduation

Ari: Practice general dentistry, stay active with the Hispanic Dental Association and hopefully serve as a mentor to predental students

Brad: work, save money and open our own practice within the first couple of years

What people may not know about you

Ari: I truly enjoy learning other languages; I can say ‘thank you’ in 13 languages.

Brad: I speak fluent Dutch.

— Jennifer Fuentes