Now 24 years old and a permanent resident of the USA, I am a woman dentist from Iraq who has much to be thankful for. I first came to America in 2016 and have lived here since 2017. I could not be more dedicated to lifelong learning; thus, I especially appreciate the advanced state of dentistry in the USA and the opportunities for professional growth in my field. I look forward to a professional lifetime constantly learning about and practicing dentistry, focusing on the underserved. I hope to actively contribute to research - giving my all and managing my time as efficiently as possible to maximize my contribution.
Working here in America as a Certified Dental Assistant for nearly two years is preparing me well to hit the ground running in your doctoral program for international dentists and distinguish myself as a fast and devoted learner. I have learned how to communicate with patients from various backgrounds and social situations. I relish the diversity of America, both in terms of its people and the broad range of oral health challenges that present themselves. I have had the opportunity to learn directly from a distinguished professor of dentistry here in the USA and especially appreciated his feedback on my performance. I served for months as a staff person in a dental office with three international dentists. We developed a great sense of camaraderie, which helped me advance in my thinking and plans for the future, particularly concerning the area of dentistry in which I intend to seek further training once I earn my doctoral degree: Orthodontics. My skills in dentistry have improved a lot over the last two years, and I am well on my way to becoming fully acclimated to dentistry as practiced in America vs. Iraq. Every day, I learn new things about a wide range of procedures. The most important thing that I have learned is never to stop learning.
Born in Iraq, we moved to Egypt when I was three and spent six years there before moving home to Iraq in 2004, at a time of widespread political strife and horrific sectarian violence. The instability and fear around me made me naturally curious about political affairs, and I have a good understanding of the entire Middle Eastern part of the world, having lived and studied not only in Egypt and Iraq but also in Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan for three weeks each. I look forward to being of exceptional service to Arab speakers, immigrants, and refugees from the Middle East.
Devoted to painting and handicrafts as a child and adolescent, I was well prepared for a career in dentistry in terms of manual talent and heart and soul. I especially excelled in dental school when sculpting and waxing teeth. I continue to see the restoration of a tooth as like the creation of a functional sculpture that serves to radically enhance the quality of life. This background helps to explain why I feel so passionately drawn to Orthodontics as a lifetime specialization.
As a dental student at the University of Al-Kufa, in Najaf, Iraq, I also engaged in a lot of volunteer work, making extensive journeys to remote and marginalized areas of the country, and teaching the importance of oral hygiene to very humble families. We also provided treatment at volunteer camps, doing the best with few resources and only simple instruments. I was always attending dental conferences meeting a comprehensive scientific program on the latest advances and research in various specialties of dentistry presented by well-known and highly respected professionals sharing their experiences.
Iraq's political and economic system places a very low priority on oral health care. This encourages ignorance among the people, who generally know next to nothing about their health care needs, especially the popular classes. This situation motivated me as a volunteer for organizations dedicated to spreading oral health awareness in Iraq. I have fond memories from my fourth year of dental school, when I served alongside a Canadian delegation at Dar Al-Zahraa, caring for orphans who had never before seen a dentist and treating children under the supervision of specially trained Canadian dentists.
I stutter slightly. My friends and colleagues often assure me that they find it endearing. It was much worse when I was a child since I have worked to correct it my entire life. This issue has helped me grow stronger over time, focused, and enhanced my compassion for others who struggle with unique challenges of one sort or another. I have never allowed my stutter to define me. Instead, I see it as one of the forces that have served to shape and inspire who I am today, giving my all to dentistry. My little sister, now ten years old, also stutters. She looks up to me as a role model, and I seek to continue to prove myself worthy of that honor.
I thank you for considering my application.