During his undergraduate studies at Dixie State College – St. George and Utah State College, Josh Elliss was awarded the Dr. Barnum Research award and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in Biology. Dr. Elliss then attended the University of Las Vegas School of Dental Medicine; he was also an extern at the prestigious Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies, where he was exposed to modern cosmetic and occlusion techniques. Upon graduation from UNLV, he was awarded the Quintessence Award for his research during school and the Outstanding Student Award from the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain. After schooling, Dr. Ellis practiced in Dallas, Texas, prior to moving his family to Las Cruces.
“Growing up in a small town next to Zion’s National Park in southern Utah, I cultivated a love for outdoors and hiking at an early age. I am grateful to now look out my window every day and see the beautiful Organ Mountains so close by. Las Cruces is a unique and diverse place and my family feels at home here.”
Dr. Elliss is currently involved in local cub scouts and enjoys being a supporter of NMSU athletics and student organizations.
Dr. Cory Thompson attended Arizona State University where he graduated Summa Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish. Dr. Thompson then went on to graduate from the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine out east where he loved the seasons but learned to appreciate the fact that you never have to shovel sunshine. At his family’s request/urging, Dr. Thompson set out to practice in the desert southwest. After some time spent in Arizona, Las Cruces became home and he and his family have grown to love the area and the people.
“There is a uniqueness about Las Cruces and Southern New Mexico that I really enjoy. I love the spectacular mountain views and White Sands National Park. This is a place that my family and I are excited to call home. I am looking forward to helping the people of Las Cruces with their dental needs and I am excited about the many wonderful options that we can provide for you.”
Born and raised in New Mexico, at a young age Dr. Espinoza knew he wanted to be a dentist. The path was not always straight and clear but with encouragement from his family, friends and church he had faith he would achieve his goal. He started to develop a hard work ethic while attending Las Cruces High School and working at Memorial Medical Center as a Sanitation Aid. After graduating from high school and completing a certificate as a Certified Nursing Assistance, he worked at Las Cruces Nursing Center and attended NMSU School of Business and College of Arts and Sciences to complete pre-dental requirements. Upon completing his Bachelors in Business Administration and all pre-dental requirements, he was accepted into Loma Linda University School of Dentistry. There he served as class president all four years and was a part of the Dean's List for academic achievements. In his senior year he was nominated and won several leadership awards including recognition by the California Dental Association for research and the Prince Award, which the school deems one of the most prestigious awards given. Wanting to continue to learn more about dentistry and advanced procedures, Dr. Espinoza was accepted into the University of New Mexico Advanced General Dentistry program. He studied an extra year of day-to-day dental procedures in a clinic and hospital setting, as well as LV. sedation, dental implants, endodontic, fixed and removal prosthodontics, advanced pediatric cases, periodontal surgeries, impacted wisdom teeth removal, emergency dentistry and preventative dentistry. It was an intense year but working with specialists in each of those areas has helped mold him into a better dentist that wants to continue to grow and learn. After having several job offers around the U.S., Dr. Espinoza decided to take the job at Urgent Dental Care Sonoma and proudly serve his community that helped him in achieving his own goal.
Dr. Narek Akopyan was born in Armenia and came to the United States when he was 5 years old. He was raised in Los Angeles and attended undergrad at the University of California, San Diego where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Biology. Dr. Akopyan then went to dental school at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Upon graduating, he received the American College of Dentists Outstanding Student Leader Award, as well as the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Dental Student Award. He has taken a special interest in oral surgery procedures, including implant placement and wisdom tooth extractions. Dr. Akopyan has taken several continuing education courses on both implant placement techniques and theory. Understanding that many people are anxious when they come to the dentist, he has also been certified to administer intravenous sedation to make his patients feel more comfortable. Dr. Akopyan is very passionate about dentistry and is excited about serving the Las Cruces community. He also plans to take time off from private practice each year to travel internationally and provide dental treatment to underserved communities.
I was raised on a dairy farm in southern Arizona by loving and supportive parents. They taught my multiple siblings and me many important life lessons, including hard work and the meaning of family and life. I love sports and participated in all that was available. In wrestling, I had opportunities to travel to several states, including Hawaii, and even internationally to Australia. School has always been important. I graduated from Benson Union High school as Salutatorian. After high school, I attended Arizona State University for a semester. I then served a two-year mission in the country of Croatia for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. My mission taught me to love and appreciate others different from myself and to love and appreciate the blessing given to me. I continued school at ASU, at this time, I met my talented and beautiful wife, and we were married between semesters. Two years later, we were blessed with a beautiful daughter. I graduated with honors with a degree in Child Development. I used this degree to teach kindergarten, and it is true that all you need to learn you can learn in kindergarten, mainly treating others how you want to be treated. I taught school for one year and then attended Dental School at The University of Colorado School of Dentistry, in Denver. I enjoyed school, made many lifetime friends, was blessed with another daughter, and graduated Sum Cum Laude.
After graduation, we moved to Carlsbad, NM, and I worked there as a dentist for 15 years and gained much knowledge and skill about dentistry. I worked a lot with children but did all types of dentistry. I watched my girls grow up and enjoyed watching them dance and cheer. I helped coach wrestling at the high school and coached high school cheer for a couple of years. As a family, we decided that it was time to move here to the Las Cruces area and are excited for the opportunities here for work, for my wife and myself, and school for my Daughter. We are expecting to love the area and make it our new home.
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