SMILES OF SUCCESS: Longtime Andalusia classmates complete dental school together

Published 2:45 pm Monday, June 17, 2024

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Three 2016 Andalusia High School alumnae are all smiles after their graduation from the UAB School of Dentistry’s 72nd annual commencement ceremony in the Alys Stephens Center on Saturday, June 1.

Caroline Andrews Earnest, Elizabeth Collier McCalman, and Hannah Sims McCalman went to school together from their time at Little Friends Preschool all the way through dental school graduation at UAB.

The completion of dental school was a long but rewarding journey for all three women.

“Graduating with my degree after eight years of higher education has been very fulfilling. While it marks the end of my formal schooling, I’m eager for a lifetime of learning in my dental career,” Caroline said.

“Earning my dental degree has been very fulfilling. I have put years of hard work and dedication into achieving this degree, and I am excited to finally start my career as a dentist. I am eager to serve my community and help people achieve healthier, more confident smiles,” Elizabeth said.

“Earning my dental degree signifies years of hard work and dedication. It represents the achievement of a significant milestone in my professional journey and the opportunity to make a meaningful impact on people’s lives,” Hannah said.

All three graduates knew they wanted to pursue a career in the healthcare field from an early age.

“Dentistry gives me the opportunity to positively impact people’s health while working with my hands. I also love that dentistry heavily relies on patient-provider interactions and allows for relationships to be built over a long period of time,” Caroline said.

“My dad is a family practice physician, so I grew up in a type of atmosphere that promotes life-long healthcare relationships. I chose dentistry because it allows me to combine my love for science with my desire to work with my hands and problem-solving skills. Additionally, it gives me the opportunity to build long-lasting relationships with patients and contribute to their oral health and overall well-being,” Elizabeth said.

“I chose to become a dentist because I have always been fascinated by the combination of science, artistry, and patient care that dentistry offers. I am drawn to the idea of helping people achieve and maintain optimal oral health while also improving their confidence and quality of life through a beautiful smile,” Hannah said.

Caroline has returned to her roots and accepted a job at Andalusia Dental Group. Elizabeth and Hannah will stay in Birmingham and work together in a private practice.

Caroline is excited about the opportunity to serve the community’s dental needs with a goal to acquire knowledge through her fellow dentists.

“I am looking forward to joining Andalusia Dental Group and working with the dentists there who have many years of experience within the practice,” she said. “I plan to continue to grow and learn under their leadership and guidance and help meet the needs of the community. My time living away from Andalusia the past eight years has made me understand how special the community is. I am excited to see and serve the people of Andalusia who have been so important to my growth and development up until this point and build new relationships within the community.”

Elizabeth’s goal is to make a positive impact on the lives of her patients in three ways.

“I would like to provide quality care, promote the importance of oral health care, and establish long-lasting relationships with my patients. I am excited about the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives through dentistry,” she said. “Whether it is alleviating patients’ dental discomfort, restoring their smile, or simply promoting preventive care, I look forward to being a trusted healthcare provider in my community. I am also excited about building relationships with patients and having the opportunity to make a positive impact on their oral health and overall well-being.”

Hannah’s goals for the field of dentistry are accessibility and education.

“I will strive to make dental care more accessible to underserved communities, embrace and implement new technologies and techniques to enhance patient care,” she said. “I will actively participate in educating the public about the importance of oral health. I am looking forward to serving the community as a dentist because it allows me to directly impact the well-being of individuals and families in my area. Whether it’s providing preventative care, addressing dental needs, or simply being a source of support and guidance, I am excited about the opportunity to make a positive difference in people’s lives.”

They agreed their schooling at AHS and UAB helped them reach this milestone.

“UAB is an excellent dental school and has provided me numerous patient encounters and experience to enter my career as a dentist. Andalusia High School laid the foundation for me to succeed at Auburn University and later at UAB. Andalusia provides support and resources for students to confidently leave the school system and pursue additional education. The support from the teachers and administration at AHS continues long after high school,” Caroline said.

“Andalusia High School provided me with a strong foundation in both academics and interpersonal skills. At AHS, I learned about the importance of discipline and time management, while my experience at UAB deepened my understanding of dental sciences and honed my clinical skills. Both schools provided me with the knowledge and confidence I needed to pursue a career in dentistry,” Elizabeth said.

“My experiences at Andalusia High School were invaluable in preparing me for a career in dentistry. From challenging coursework to extracurricular activities, AHS provided me with a well-rounded education and many opportunities for personal growth. UAB has one of the best dental schools in the country, and I feel very honored to have a degree from the UAB School of Dentistry. It has provided me with rigorous coursework and hands-on clinical experiences that have created a strong foundation for my career in general dentistry. Additionally, the supportive environment fostered by my teachers, mentors, and peers has instilled in me the confidence and determination to pursue my goals in dentistry,” Hannah said.

Caroline is the daughter of Michael and Wendy Andrews with a younger sister, Lillian Andrews.

“The support of my family and friends has been essential over the past eight years. They have been a reminder of the importance of maintaining relationships throughout school and have created an environment for growth and success,” Caroline said.

Elizabeth and Hannah are the daughters of Dr. David Michael McCalman II and Stacie Collier McCalman. They have an older brother, Dr. David Michael McCalman III.

“The support of my family and friends means the world to me. I would not be where I am today without their constant encouragement and guidance. Through the triumphs and challenges, they have always been there for me and offered words of advice and unwavering support. I will be forever grateful for such an amazing support system,” Elizabeth said.

“The support of my family and friends has been the cornerstone of my journey to becoming a dentist. Their encouragement, sacrifices, and belief in my abilities have been a constant source of strength and inspiration. Whether it was lending a listening ear during challenging times or celebrating achievements, their presence has been a driving force behind my pursuit of this dream. I am eternally grateful for their love, guidance, and unwavering support throughout every step of this journey,” Hannah said.

Dr. Parrish King at Andalusia Dental Group offered his thoughts on the three graduates.

“I am extremely proud of each of them for all of their accomplishments, not the least of which is a commitment to our shared chosen profession. I think it is really special that Hannah and Elizabeth have a unique opportunity to work together in Birmingham. I wish them both the best and look forward to the future phone calls and emails as we stay in touch. As for Caroline, I am thrilled she will be joining us at Andalusia Dental Group where we will get to work together. Not only do I believe she will be an asset to our practice, but I believe she and her husband will both be an asset to the community,” King said.

The UAB School of Dentistry is located at 1919 7th Avenue South. For more information visit or call 205-934-3000.