As a trusted St. Joseph dentist, Dr. Andrea Godawa makes loyalty a priority. She relies on a carefully hand-picked a team of dynamic and caring dental professionals who have been the backbone of the practice for many years dating back to when the doors first opened in 1989.
This reliability has helped our dental team become a tight-knit family, creating an atmosphere that translates into a comfortable experience every time you visit with us. This helps us build stronger relationships with you and your family, and it results in higher quality dental care.
We’ll never make unnecessary treatment recommendations. Everything we suggest will complement your needs, schedule, and budget. We are often able to present you with several treatment options (including benefits and cost considerations) so that together we can make the right decision for your situation.
Chad grew up in Holland, Michigan, graduating from Holland High in 1986. He studied at the College International de Cannes, majoring in Art History and French. He also studied at the University of Michigan, majoring in Specialized Economic Studies, and he received his BA in Economics from Gordon College, where he was Coordinator of Student Ministries for English as a Second Language. For two decades, he owned and operated Artisan Home Builders in Holland, Michigan, where he purchased and developed properties, designed and built homes, as well as managed construction projects. In 2009, he moved to St. Joseph. A devoted father to his two young sons, Chad can often be found playing with them at the beach and at local attractions. In addition, he serves as a Reading Dad at their school, and he is involved with their scouting activities. Chad also completed the Florida Ironman competition in 2001, as well as several marathons, including the Boston Marathon once and the Chicago Marathon seven times. He has backpacked and snorkeled around the world, including the Middle East, Europe, Central America, as well as North America. Chad brings a wealth of experience to Modern Dentistry, serving in many capacities with a focus in the sleep apnea and neuromuscular programs.
From the age of 12 to the age of 22, Joy worked alongside her mother at The Chickhaven Restaurant in St. Joseph, where she learned and honed her hospitality skills interacting with people. In 1994, Joy was hired by Dr. Erickson to serve in the capacity of Patient Coordinator. She feels fortunate to have found a career that allows her to balance both of her passions: helping people by providing a higher-than-expected level of service and being able to spend quality hours with her family. Treating people how she would want to be treated has always been a priority for her, and she is happy to be able to work in an environment which not only encourages that behavior but practices it as well. Joy and her husband, John have two daughters. In her free time, Joy enjoys spending time with her family and gardening.
Kara earned her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Grand Valley State University in 2007 and has an Associates in Dental Hygiene from Harper College after graduating in 2013. Kara’s love for learning didn’t stop there; she also has post-graduate training that consists of 36 credit hours every three years in dental hygiene subjects mostly obtained from the Midwinter Dental Conference held in Chicago. This allows her to get up-to-date information on the latest and greatest that dentistry has to offer. While obtaining continuing education credits, Kara can greatly expand her dental knowledge from year to year and then apply that at the office. She says it’s a real perk of living close to Chicago!
As our lead Dental Hygienist, she’s responsible for performing cleanings, scaling and root planing, x-rays, oral cancer screenings, oral hygiene instructions, scheduling recare appointments, ordering products for the office, monthly reporting of treatment acceptance for both new patients as well as existing patients, and maintaining a professional work environment. Kara loves welcoming new patients to the office and building on relationships with current patients while also making people feel comfortable.
Outside of the office, Kara loves to exercise, cook, camp, and spend time with her husband Mike and two young kiddos, Olivia and Evelyn. She also loves going to her favorite restaurant in Southwest MI — the Red Arrow Roadhouse in Union Pier because they consistently deliver great food and even better cocktails.
A graduate of Coloma High School, Shannon earned an Associates Degree in Dental Assisting from Lake Michigan College, obtaining both her Certificate Dental Assisting License and Registered Dental Assisting License.
After working many years as a dental assistant, Shannon decided to return to Kalamazoo Valley Community College, where she earned an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science Dental Hygiene. She obtained her Registered Dental Hygiene License with Local Anesthesia and Nitrous Administration. Shannon then earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Science Dental Hygiene at Siena Heights University.
Shannon is a Registered Dental Instructor at Lake Michigan College. In her free time, she enjoys photography and spending time with family and friends.
Laura has been around our office for many years, since she was our patient for about 10 years before she graduated from Lake Michigan College and joined our team. She’s always had an interest in the dental industry, so she loves how our busy office makes dental health a priority, rather just having a revolving door of cleanings like some dental offices do. She also loves our advanced level of equipment that is used to get our patients the treatments that they need with less time and more accuracy. You’ll talk to Laura about scheduling appointments and making financial arrangements, but she also wants to get to know you personally and help you achieve your smile goals.
Outside of work, she loves having dinners out with her husband Pete and her kids, Eliana and Amara, especially at Coaches or Ryebelles. She also enjoys traveling, decorating, playing with Brody, the family German Shepherd, and believe it or not, organizing.
Meet Marissa, one of our outstanding hygienists. Marissa is a graduate of Lansing Community College. She started her dental career in 2019 and has been a part of the Modern Dentistry Associates team since August 2021. Her passion for the dental industry is truly inspiring, and she loves building relationships with her patients and helping educate them about their oral health.
When you have an appointment with Marissa, among the many things she’ll be responsible for are performing oral cancer screenings, taking x-rays, and performing your dental cleanings and scalings to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy. She describes herself as kind, compassionate, caring, and driven, traits patients can see during their appointments.
Outside of work, Marissa loves spending time with her husband, Matt, and their three children. She enjoys being active outdoors and you’ll catch her supporting her children at their sporting events. If Marissa didn’t have her rewarding career in dentistry, she would help with her family’s business, a local insurance company, and travel extensively.
Megan is our skilled and passionate registered dental assistant who has been in the dental industry for over 21 years. She received her education from Lake Michigan College, and since then, dental assisting has become her passion.
As an integral part of our team, Megan assists Dr. Godawa and is responsible for explaining procedures to patients, following up with them, managing lab cases, and performing in-office whitening procedures. She loves working for Dr. Godawa and alongside her co-workers, who all share a passion for providing patients with the highest level of care using modern technology.
When she’s not in the office, Megan loves spending time with her husband, Brad, and their three children (two at home and one grown), watching her kids play hockey and softball, raising three bunnies, and camping. In fact, if she weren’t working at Modern Dentistry Associates, she would love to live in a cabin in the woods in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Megan is always on the hunt for a restaurant with good burgers. So if you see Megan at your next visit, be sure to ask her about her latest burger discovery or her favorite camping spot!
Karna is our multi-talented dental assistant who also works at the front desk. She graduated from Western Washington University with a biochemistry degree, but it was in our office where Dr. Godawa trained her as a dental assistant. Karna learned everything she knows about dentistry from Dr. Godawa, and it shows in her work. She’s so inspired by her mentor that she’s currently applying to dental schools.
At the front desk, Karna checks patients in and out of their appointments and helps with insurance questions. But her responsibilities don’t end there; she also assists with dental procedures. Karna is passionate about dentistry and loves helping patients and celebrating their successes.
Karna enjoys being outside when she’s not in the office, especially hiking and playing with her dog. She loves to play golf and go to the beach in the summer. Karna is also quite the musician and loves playing the piano. You might even spot her at River St. Joe, where she can be found enjoying the food, drinks, and atmosphere. Say hello to Karna at your next visit, she’s always ready to assist you with a smile!