Community Voices: Female Role Models for Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month, a month-long celebration of the noteworthy achievements and contributions of women of all backgrounds, from the historical trailblazers to the modern-day activists and everyone in between.

We wanted to showcase the everyday inspirational women who have made a difference in our lives, and so asked members of the GSDM community to share their female role models. Here are their responses.

Note: Some responses were edited for clarity.

Mary Kyuregyan DMD AS 25 – My female role model is… my Mother

“My mother, an Armenian woman, doctor [and] dermatologist, received her education in Russia. In 2016, a month after moving to United States, she was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. Despite her battle with cancer, she managed to get her medical assistant and American esthetician licenses while she went through eight chemo therapies, 36 radiation therapies, and three surgeries. My family and I went through the worst times of our lives seeing her going through so many hardships; my father, himself, shaved her hair. She not only managed to beat the cancer, but also opened her own spa in Belmont, Massachusetts, with her sister. My mother is a strong immigrant woman who truly is an inspiration to me.”

Ivethy De La Rosa Reyes DMD 27 – My female role model is… Dr. Rose Amable

“Dr. Rose is a board-certified pediatric dentist who genuinely cares about educating her patients. One of my favorite things about Dr. Rose is that she works hard to increase diversity in the dental profession. She is the creator and founder of Bringing Smiles Dental Enrichment Program, a pipeline program that aims to support and encourage underrepresented minorities seeking entrance into dental school. This program allowed me to meet other pre-dental students who are Hispanic and are first-generation college students. This program gave me the opportunity to meet general and pediatric dentists who created a positive impact in my life. I always say that I wouldn’t be where I am without her and this internship. I was born in Dominican Republic. I am a first-generation college student. It was not easy learning how to navigate the college and dental school process. Dr. Rose made the process much easier and [more] enjoyable for me.”

Astha Parmar DMD 25 – My female role model is… my Mother

“My mother is one the strongest and most hardworking people that I know. She finished her master’s degree while she was pregnant with me and received a gold medal from her university. She took a break from education for 10 years while my younger brother and I were growing up. After a 10-year gap, she started full-time college in India for a specialized certificate and dissertation in Clinical Psychology. She attended college full-time … and still did a tremendous job in raising us and spending time with our family. A few years later, my family moved to the U.S., and she worked minimum wage jobs while she was applying for verification for her master’s in psychology degree and working on getting licensed in Massachusetts. She studied for numerous hours, worked a full-time job, and did everything to be a great mother, wife, daughter, and woman. She inspires me to work hard and overcome any obstacles with true dedication and commitment. I learnt from her that family is a priority, even when there are a million things in life that require your attention. She will always be my most supportive person throughout my journey in dental school and in my future!”

Ana Caroline Serrao DMD AS 25 – My female role model is … too Many to Name

“I have many role models and inspiring women to admire in history. Amongst my favorite ones are Frida Kahlo and Harriet Tubman. But one of the movements that most impacted the world was women receiving the right to vote, and I am forever thankful for Emmeline Pankhurst who led the suffragette movement in Britain and fought for our rights.”

Anooja Lall DMD AS 24 – My female role model is… my Mother

“My role model and inspiration has always been my mother. Coming from a country where women are still not considered equally good as men, despite having similar education and intellect, it’s not easy to [parent] your kids with such a broad mindset. My mother chose to give me wings to fly high and encouraged me to always be self-sufficient. She is a real example of a strong, independent, and fearless woman, who has inspired many around her to know their worth and work on their own self. Whatever I am today, I owe it to her, today and forever.”

Elfa Lino DMD AS 24 – My female role model is… my Mother

“She is an OB-GYN, works really hard, and is constantly looking for ways to be better. She taught me to work for what I want in life and whenever life doesn’t go as planned to take a little nap and continue moving forward.”

Jeanelle Abou-Ezzi DMD 27 – My female role model is… my Mother

“My ultimate role model is undoubtedly my mom. Not only is she a skilled dentist, but she’s also a phenomenal mother. Juggling her professional responsibilities with raising her children, she managed to excel in both realms. Her ability to prioritize her family while successfully running her own clinic is nothing short of inspiring. What sets her apart is not just her accomplishments, but her unwavering generosity, contagious zest for life, and thoughtfulness in everything she does. I hope to follow in my mother’s footsteps, and I’ve already started! My mom was a graduate from GSDM’s Advanced Standing Program in 1995!”

By Rachel Grace Philipson