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Fantastic Four

The Spelman Messenger Features Alumnae Under 40

Fierce and Fabulous Spelman Women

Spelman women are leaders, women of influence, innovators and problem solvers. Here is just a sampling of stories about alumnae under 40 who have effectively made changes in their fields, in their communities and around the world. 

*This is just an excerpt from the list which originally appeared in the fall edition of the Messenger magazine. Additional alumnae profiles listed in the publication will be added the week of Dec. 3. 

Alumna Dr. Karen Fields-Lever has Something to Smile About

karen fields leverWhile reflecting on her personal and professional success, Dr. Karen FieldsLever, C’2003, quickly flashes a brilliant, white smile with the greatest of ease. Blessed with a booming dental practice, dynamic marriage and partnership, and the birth of her third child – a baby boy – in October, this proud Spelman alumna acknowledges that kindness, compassion, and the foundation of family and faith guide her path in all she does.

“You always want to treat people the way you want to be treated,” said Fields-Lever, an ebullient woman with a kind demeanor. “That’s something my mom used to always say, and that’s my philosophy of life, especially as a practitioner. I think that’s been ingrained in me since I was a young girl.”

At 36, Fields-Lever is busy blazing trails of her own in dentistry. The owner of 28 to Brush Dental Studio, a thriving dental practice in Forest Park, Illinois, just west of Chicago, she recently celebrated its five-year anniversary. To date, her practice now services over 3,000 patients, from infants to seniors.

A recent Chicago Scholars Foundation 35 under 35 honoree, Fields-Lever was recognized in 2018 as “America’s Best Dentist” by the National Consumer Advisory Board. In 2016, she added a mobile dentistry to the business, providing oral health services on-site at community centers and schools and in-school services to over 16,000 students.

Fields-Lever, a Detroit native, was influenced to go to Spelman after attending Mercy High School, an all-girls, Catholic college preparatory school. With Spelman’s sisterhood and the College’s reputation for producing Black, female doctors, Fields-Lever acknowledged that none of her professional success or accolades would be possible without the foundation she received at her “beloved Spelman.”

“I loved the sisterhood,” said Fields-Lever. “The way each of us helped each other and studied together, and our desire to be the best was what I also wanted for college; that helped shaped me. Being around others who wanted to be doctors really increased my ambition and helped me maintain that drive.”

Spelman mentors like former biology professor Dr. Latanya Hammonds-Odie, C’89, and Dr. Barbara Bell, retired director of the Spelman College Health Careers Program, encouraged those ambitions and dreams. 

Bell remembered her mentee as a good student who supported the Health Careers Program and always took advantage of available opportunities.

“Karen knew what Spelman could offer, and she was determined to pursue her dreams,” recalled Bell. “I’m so proud of her. She has the warm demeanor and persona of a dentist, and she’s a wonderful parent and wife.”

Hammonds-Odie echoed those sentiments.

“Karen is dynamic, focused and caring,” she said. “She thrived and grew at Spelman with the sisterhood and friendly competition. As her mentor and former professor, I’m proud to have helped her reach her professional goal to be a physician. I’m very proud to be her big Spelman sister.”

Fields-Lever’s biggest supporter, by far, is DeJuan Lever, her husband of eight years. A loving and devoted husband and father, Lever helped establish the practice and serves as managing partner.

“I help manage my wife’s empire, and like our pastor, the Rev. Charles Jenkins of Fellowship Chicago Church says, ‘She’s the boss, but I’m in charge,’” Lever said with a chuckle. “I make sure that whatever she wants, I execute and make it happen. I take pride in that. But again, I always emphasize, this is her company. I’m just the support system.”

Still, Fields-Lever shares that Lever is the glue that holds it all together.

“It’s a lot of Jesus, a lot of pacing myself and it’s my support system,” said Fields-Lever, who earned her doctorate of dental surgery degree from Howard University. “It’s also my husband because he keeps me organized. Utilizing that other extra hand keeps me balanced and helps me stay focused. As a mom, wife and caretaker, I’m a true giver. I think with my heart sometimes, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. It’s what God would want us to do.”

Spelman Messenger Fall 2018