My life has been affected in various ways by my involvement in gymnastics, in which I excelled and eventually represented my country. It is a sport in which no-one reaches the highest levels of competition without constantly demonstrating considerable determination, commitment, discipline and a constant striving for perfection. I always seek to apply these characteristics to everything I do and it has been excellent training for the rest of my life and work. The sport is also the indirect reason for my career choice. A close friend of mine fell heavily from an apparatus and suffered the loss of most of her front teeth. Her appearance was severely affected and she stopped competing and put on considerable weight. This brought home to me the importance of dentistry in repairing self-image and respect rather than merely physical disease and injury and this prompted my decision to pursue dentistry, a decision that I have never regretted.
My immediate goal is to qualify to practice in the US. Once I have sufficient experience, I hope to specialize in periodontology. My interest in this specialty arises because of my appreciation of the importance of accurate and early diagnosis, the appreciation of oral health as a ‘mirror’ of general health and in the effect of oral health on sports performance. My ultimate ambition is to teach dentistry and undertake research. I have always sought to help other students and have often been complimented on my ability to break down complex information into understandable ‘steps’. I believe that I have natural teaching ability and would love to develop and use this skill in the future.
My family found it necessary to move from our home country of Iraq to Jordan when I was 16 years old. This move involved adapting to a new culture and educational system but I worked very hard to overcome these obstacles and succeeded in gaining entrance to dental school. This is not an easy matter in a country where the state prescribes a student’s vocational choices depending on examination grades, and so this was recognition of excellent high school graduation results.
I thoroughly enjoyed the DDS program at the prestigious Jordan University Dental School and graduated in 2013. The program was extremely comprehensive and involved substantial exposure to a wide variety of conditions and treatments. I was a founder member of the Jordanian Association of Dental Students whose mission was to increase oral health awareness among the poorer sections of society. Once qualified, I interned in a hospital rather than a private clinic as is usual for graduates. I mainly did extractions but some restorative work, RCT’s and other general dentistry.
My internship in Jordan lasted only a few months as I faced professional discrimination because of my nationality to an extent that I realized would severely prejudice my chance of pursuing a successful career in Jordan and so I decided to seek asylum in the US in December 2013.
Since arriving in the US, I have qualified as a Dental Assistant and have worked in this capacity since June 2015. This has provided me with a good understanding of dentistry as practiced in the US. I have also shadowed three specialists in Periodontology and this exposure has further fired my interest in pursuing this specialty. I work only four days a week and spend the other working day as a volunteer at the Childrens’ National Medical Center in the Research Department working on genotyping. I have found this exposure to research fascinating and hope very much to pursue research at some point in my future career.
I have happily studied, worked with, treated and socialized with people from many ethnic and social backgrounds. I enjoy sharing knowledge of my own culture and learning about others. I get along easily with others and have a well-developed sense of humor.
I am confident that I have the potential to become a first class dentist in the US. I am sure that I possess the characteristics, experience, education and training to enable me to ‘add value’ to the program. I can assure the reader that, if selected, I shall apply myself with exceptional enthusiasm and diligence in order to excel rather than to merely succeed.