Campus News

Alumni Spotlight: Djavan (DJ) Wharton-Lake, D.D.S. '04

The Alumni Spotlight highlights Georgetown Prep alumni making impacts all over the globe. Prep's 5,700 live and work all over the world in every field imaginable. The Alumni Spotlight series captures our graduates' stories and Georgetown Prep's impact on their lives after their four years as a student. To submit a story, email alumni@gprep.org.

After graduating from Georgetown Preparatory School, DJ attended the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where he majored in Biology while also walking on to the university's football team. Inspired by his father and several mentors close to his family, DJ decided to pursue a career in dentistry and was admitted to Howard University's College of Dentistry in the fall of 2010. He assumed multiple leadership roles during his intense four years in Dental School including being the D.C. Representative for ADEA (American Dental Education Association) and Vice President of the Student Council. In these roles, DJ continued his passion for community service and organized events geared toward educating the surrounding underserved communities about oral hygiene. The event he enjoyed planning the most was "Give Kids a Smile Day" where Kids from ages 5-12 traveled in buses to the Dental School to participate in educational dialogue and receive free teeth cleanings from the dental students and hygienists. During his clinical training at the tail end of his dental education, DJ was recognized by his superiors as having a solid foundation of knowledge and natural talent for doing root canals. Encouraged by the department chair of endodontics at Howard University, he began to take specializing in endodontics into consideration.

He was accepted into the Harbor-UCLA General Practice Residency during his final year at Howard, and in June 2014 moved to Los Angeles, California. During this residency, he was exposed to more clinical experiences which would include treating medically compromised patients, emergency rotations in trauma units of major hospitals, and family practice dentistry. Further exposure to all aspects of dentistry only strengthened his interest in specializing in endodontics. So, after much deliberation, DJ applied to several endodontic programs across the nation and ultimately accepted an offer to the University of Southern California's Advanced Specialty Program in Endodontics. While at USC, he took an invested interest in mentoring minority students at the Dental School and served as the graduate program's liaison to USC's SNDA (Student National Dental Association) Chapter, an organization that aims to promote, aid, and support minorities in dental education. DJ's long journey in education came to a welcomed halt this past June as he graduated from his specialty program. He is now working as an endodontist in the Greater Los Angeles area. Fondly known to his patients and staff as Dr. Lake, his goal is to provide his patients with a friendly, pleasant experience while upholding the highest standard of patient care. DJ is still maintaining a presence at USC. He continues to be involved in the SNDA Chapter as well as working on an initiative with the School's Administration to increase the recruiting and enrollment of African-American candidates for Dental School Admission nationwide. In his spare time, DJ enjoys traveling with his fiancé, Lauren. They are currently planning their wedding for the summer of 2020.

What effect did Georgetown Prep have on you?

"I think one of the more obvious effects Georgetown Prep has had on all of its students is a drive to serve the communities that surround us. Although I graduated 15 years ago, I can honestly say that many friendships I developed during my time there have now evolved into extended family. But on a more personal account, the guidance and the tutelage of the late Jeff Jones had a profound effect on me, especially as a black student at Prep. He encouraged me to set a standard of excellence in whatever I did at school and beyond because I would be setting example for not only myself but for those students who would come after me. He taught me that whenever you succeed and reach new heights, one must always look to uplift those around them. I think his past lessons have resonated with me more recently, as I have found a passion in trying to bring more diversity to the field of dentistry."

What advice do you have for current Prep students?

"Enjoy your time being a student at one of the most prestigious educational institutes in the country. Form bonds with your classmates that will hopefully last you a lifetime. Be aware that you are truly fortunate to go to a school where friendship, family, and faith are valued. In four years, you will graduate from Georgetown Prep, and you will meet others that come from all parts of the globe with completely different perspectives and ideals from your own. You should look forward to learning about their cultures, their upbringings, their ways of life. For if the goal is truly to be Men for Others then it will require all of our students to form a better understanding of the world outside of the Georgetown Prep community."