Commencement Spotlight: Finding a Home at at GSDM
Every student and resident in the Class of 2023 at the Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine has a unique story to tell about their journey to dental school, their experiences at GSDM, and their plans for the future. To celebrate this diverse group of extraordinary graduates, we are excited to feature 12 members of the Class of 2023 in a series of profiles as we count down to Commencement.
Dr. Fuad Tawmeh DMD AS 23
Dr. Fuad Tawmeh DMD AS 23 moved his family from the United Arab Emirates to the United States in 2019 after leaving his home in war-torn Syria. With his family safely settled, Tawmeh turned his attention toward getting accepted into GSDM’s DMD Advanced Standing program, so that he could eventually practice dentistry once again – now in the U.S.
With his decade of dental education and experience, Tawmeh saw the DMD Advanced Standing program as an opportunity to build upon his existing dental knowledge and skills, while gaining experience with state-of-the art instruments. He said it has been incredibly valuable to learn from and with a diverse community of students, faculty, and patient population.
“Fleeing from Syria during a time of warfare cost us our home and led us into moments of great difficulty,” Tawmeh said. “Nonetheless, the same misfortune has blessed me with the opportunity to be here in the United States and attend GSDM. I am grateful for every chance I have been given and will continue to strive to be a productive and involved member of my society, as well as an accomplished dentist, and give back to the community that has given my family a new home.”
For his favorite GSDM memory, Tawmeh recalled the lecture he gave about dental implants as part of his American Dental Education Association’s Academic Dental Career Fellowship. During his tenure as an oral implantologist and medical director in the United Arab Emirates, Tawmeh placed more than 4,000 implants, performed more than 1,500 complex minor oral surgeries and sinus-lifting procedures, and oversaw more than 50 dental and medical doctors and staff, so he found it rewarding to be able to share his knowledge with his GSDM peers.
“It was a moment that highlighted the collaborative and supportive nature of the GSDM community and made me grateful for the opportunities and resources available at GSDM,” Tawmeh said. “Being able to participate in this program and give this lecture was an important step in my growth as both a clinician and an educator.”
As he reflects on his time at GSDM, Tawmeh said he plans to pursue a dual career path in both private and academic dentistry. He credits his career aspirations to the mentorship he received from Dr. Myron Allukian Jr., GSDM clinical assistant professor of health policy and health services research.
“I have grown so much as a person and as a future dental professional in the U.S., and I owe it to the supportive and collaborative community that GSDM has provided,” he said. “It is with a heavy heart that I leave this chapter of my life behind, but I am excited for what the future holds, as I look forward to utilizing the knowledge and skills, I have gained at GSDM to make a positive impact on the lives of my patients, future dental professionals, and my community.”
Jaskamal Singh DMD 23
GSDM felt like home to Jaskamal Singh MED 19 DMD 23, even before she was accepted.
Singh grew up in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, but she always planned to venture to a new place for her dental education. GSDM was at the top of her list after she connect with several GSDM alums who spoke highly of their experiences. This goal was solidified after she arrived at Boston University for a master’s degree program: She stepped foot on the medical campus and instantly knew this was where she needed to be.
“I felt like I had a feeling of home,” she said. “Everyone’s willing to lend a helping hand and it just felt like a family. I didn’t feel like a number.”
As the DMD Class of 2023 president, Singh said it has been a huge joy to be a representative for her tight-knit class.
“I am extremely honored to have been chosen to represent this inspiring class as their class president,” Singh said. “I’ve learned a lot from my colleagues, and am impressed by their talent, determination, and individuality.”
Singh is waiting on the results of her Canadian board exams before she makes her final plans for after Commencement. She will either be moving to Vancouver or Seattle to work as a general practitioner in private practices.
“I’ve wanted to move to Vancouver in the northwest my whole life because the ocean’s there and the mountains are there,” Singh said. “There’s endless possibilities, and I like to be around nature, but also have a little bit of a city lifestyle and it’s close enough to home where I can visit my family.”
With Commencement rapidly approaching, Singh said she realized that her experiences with her GSDM family were more meaningful than she originally expected.
“I wasn’t expecting to [foster] such deep relationships with the friends that I have made and the faculty,” she said. “I wasn’t expecting to have such deep meaningful relationships with the people that I have come across and that’s what I’m going to miss.”
Dr. Meghrik Assadourian PERIO 23
Dr. Meghrik Assadourian PERIO 23 decided at a young age that she was going to be a dentist going to be a dentist because it was a career that would allow her to help people and use her interpersonal skills to build strong relationships with patients. Then, during her general practice residency at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, her mentors introduced her to periodontology, and the specialty has captivated her interest ever since.
For Assadourian, GSDM has allowed her to meet and work with extraordinary peers while also meeting experts in the field.
“We have people visiting all the time from all over the world,” Assadourian said. “Boston is such a nice hub of dentists and surgeons and doctors visiting, always doing lectures.”
The program is challenging, Assadourian said, but that helped her to significantly strengthen her skills. She also appreciated the freedom GSDM faculty gave her within the program.
“The trust component and giving us enough autonomy to work on our own skills, make our own mistakes obviously, but just to grow as independent thinkers, as an independent surgeon was one of the most impactful times in my professional life,” she said.
If she could go back in time, there is not a single thing she would change about her GSDM experience – except to tell herself that New England winters are not as scary as they may seem. Now, Assadourian is preparing mentally for more winters as she plans to stay in the greater Boston area after Commencement, working part time in different offices as a periodontist.
“I have met some amazing people along the way, and I have made some very, very good friends for life that are not going to be just my colleagues but are going to be my support system and my friends for life,” Assadourian said.
Photo Credit: Dan Bomba, GSDM