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Dental School, Immigrant from Lebanon, STEM Peer Mentor

Updated: Aug 6


“EMT operator, what’s your emergency?” “My friend has just been struck by a vehicle and is in critical condition.” “Is he breathing?” “I don't think so!” “Stay there; the paramedics are on their way." It all started on the night of January 25, 2008, in Beirut, Lebanon. My friend and I left the house to go out for dinner and never made it. Crossing the street, a black SUV came from what looked like nowhere at high speed, striking my friend and tossing him into the air. I felt utterly helpless to help him beyond making the call. When we arrived at the emergency room with my gravely wounded and battered friend, the doctor in charge was a maxillofacial surgeon who rushed him into surgery for severe nasal and oral fractures. My friend’s recovery appeared no less than miraculous at the time. I date my passion for dentistry from this life episode, especially maxillofacial surgery.


I began my full-time working life as a motor vehicle inspector, a job that required a combination of manual skill and precision. Bringing today’s exhaust systems up to standards means working in cramped quarters and small spaces, assembling and manipulating small components. As I reflect on this experience, the complex challenges of the physical work, and the ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, I realize that I acquired an unprecedented amount of valuable lessons that helped me to develop essential qualities and skills that go in hand with competencies necessary for dentistry. I was convinced that dentistry was my destiny when I finished shadowing Doctor XXXX in West Roxbury, Massachusetts. He showed me the importance of communication and accountability. I learned the ins and outs of patient intake procedures and the opportunity to observe many different dental procedures, from mouth fillings to full mouth reconstruction.


About a week into my shadowing, a middle-aged patient came into the office to have a broken tooth restored that had been causing her a good deal of distress. The procedure went smoothly. Afterward, the patient burst into tears and thanked us repeatedly as she looked into the mirror to see how her smile came back to life. It was then that it all came together for me; joy, purpose, and service all intertwined.


I enrolled in rigorous science courses at Northern Essex Community College, where I began to develop a foundation in the sciences and enhance my analytical thinking. I also took advantage of numerous volunteer opportunities. I served as a role model through the STEM Peer Mentoring Program, providing counseling services for prospective students. I worked one-on-one with new students, gaining a broad familiarity with the academic community's policies, procedures, and practices.


I decided to transfer to Boston University to complete my undergraduate studies because of the solid pre-dental program. At BU, I studied Physics, Organic Chemistry, and Cell Biology during my Sophomore year. I received an email about joining the US Army as a prospective dentist during my senior year. My primary inspiration for deciding to work towards a commission in the US Army as an oral healthcare professional is to continuously learn, equip, and empower myself with the specific knowledge required in the USA army, which will serve me well for the balance of my professional lifetime, opening doors and serving as platforms for career advancement. I keenly look forward to this opportunity to practice dentistry in diverse settings—from disaster-stricken areas to foreign bases worldwide, from small combat-zone temporary hospitals to state-of-the-art medical centers at home or abroad. Military physicians and dentists lead entire lives on their feet with many patients, which I crave.


Being a prospective dental expert means that one must show a great deal of commitment towards their work and make the most of their time developing their skills over the course o this journey. I look forward to giving my all for the balance of my professional life to the practice of dentistry, increasingly dedicating as much time as possible to helping the underserved, insofar as my circumstances allow, both at home and abroad, as my career progresses.


I thank you for considering my application.


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