I arrived in the USA on my 13th birthday. My mother had been diagnosed with acute rheumatoid arthritis and needed numerous surgeries; since the success rate for such operations was relatively low in Iran, our country of origin, we decided to come to America and get her the help she needed, including a hip and knee replacement. While still very young, I took a keen interest in my mother’s treatment. I set my sights on health care early on, always serious and mature for my age. I remember how dental care was in Iran. I noted mouths full of decay when I was still a child. If political conditions permit, my principal daydream is to return to Iran someday to start a mobile clinic.
In my first year of high school, biology class inspired me to broaden my investigation into the life sciences. Much, if not most, of the vocabulary, was new to me, and each day after class, I came home to curl up with my pocket translator. I adore the intricacy and simplicity of biological processes, exploring how so many complex processes can come together elegantly. By the time I finished high school, I knew my career would be in science. Once I arrived in college, I learned that life processes are infinitely more complex and interconnected than I could have imagined.
At 15, working at a local Dunkin Donuts, I received an appreciation letter from one of the customers, saying how friendly and polite I was. I thrive on face-to-face interaction and want a constantly expanding field due to new technologies and treatments that are forever challenging and stimulating. At the same time, I want a career that allows time for family. Before long, dentistry would emerge as the ideal career, the best fit for who I am. My neighbor, a retired dental assistant, introduced me to Dr. XXXX, leading me to contact him about a shadowing position. Dr. XXXX welcomed me into his office in Montgomery County, Maryland. I jumped in and have immersed myself in dentistry ever since. Dr. XXXX, a Pediatric Dentist, was patient with me, answering countless questions. I particularly admired how he knew every one of his patients by name and something about their life; I learned that dentistry is about a lot more than teeth,
Most importantly, Dr. XXXX transformed from a dentist to a dental hero when he attended to special needs adults living in group homes, mentally retarded, subject to seizures at any time, and a few somewhat aggressive. The clock stood still for me, and I discovered who I was or who I might become if I were to be selected for admission to your program. The group home residents’ insurance plan limited payments, so these special needs patients represent roughly twice the cost in terms of time and energy at half the standard level of remuneration. Yet, they were Dr. XXXX’s preferred patients, as they will be mine.
I also shadowed two other doctors in the same office, Dr. XXXX, an orthodontist, and Dr. XXXX, a general dentist. Dr. XXXX, a periodontist, also welcomed me to gain experience in his office but invited me to do much more than just shadow, joining his team as a dental assistant. I have been immersed in dentistry for several months and could not be happier with a keener sense of purpose. I passed the exam to become a licensed Dental Radiation Technologist shortly after starting with Dr. XXXX. I started taking radiographs in the office, assisting in periodontal surgery, providing patient education, and coordinating infection control. I am also now serving as a Practice Research Coordinator (PRC) in affiliation with a research initiative of some of the colleagues of Dr. XXXX. I obtain consent from subjects and explain clinical studies conducted in the office as part of routine patient care.
The joy I feel daily on my way to work reaffirmed my dentistry choice. No two cases I’ve seen in the office are the same. It has kept my curiosity engaged, and my talents constantly challenged. I am particularly intrigued by the technology: dental implants, lasers, and digital radiographs. I thrive on the quest for ever-greater efficiency.
As a Practice Research Coordinator (PRC), I have been actively involved in numerous aspects of our study of the effectiveness of various analgesics following periodontal surgery. I keenly look forward to getting even more involved with research as my career progresses. I seek a lifetime of providing the most effective and loving, hands-on dental care possible. Once you have a passion for something, you can never stop planning, and this is precisely how I see myself down the road, always striving to stay one step ahead of my challenges. With my passion for life sciences and my love for people, I want to work with them directly, always with state-of-the-art equipment.