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DDS International Dentist, Sikh Woman, India

I feel that I am a strong candidate for dental school and look forward to contributing to the diversity of your DDS program as a Sikh woman from India for whom the honor and celebration of culture is very important. Now 24, I immigrated permanently to the US with my family at the age of 16. Born in Punjab, India, I came from a country where 95% of the population is Hindu; while my family and I are part of the 3% of the population who are minority Sikhs. Thus, I am very well versed on what it means to be part of a minority group. I was born in 1992, eight years after the 1984 genocide of the Sikhs. Hearing stories from my grandparents and parents about how they survived and how they were discriminated against for decades and unable to advance academically and professionally was heart breaking. Confused with Muslims, Sikhs are now increasingly targeted even here in America. Last week for example, while leaving our Sikh Temple, my mom and my grandfather dressed in traditional Punjabi clothes, two young American boys, approximately 14 years old, yelled at us in violent tones, accusing us of being related to ISIS because of our traditional attire. This very much reinforces my determination to succeed here in America as a dentist and as a Sikh woman, to serve as a role model to other Sikh young people and to members of minority communities under attack in general.

While I see dentistry as both art and science, I have placed the greatest emphasis in my education so far on the scientific aspects of health care, earning my BS in Biology in May of 2014. In addition to being a very good student, however, I also hope to be selected to your competitive dental program as a result of my efforts as a volunteer, coupled to my high ideals and drive to contribute to the well-being of the underserved with respect to health care. I have a very special place in my heart for health education and nothing gets me as excited as engaging, planning, working for the betterment of the undeserved and unprivileged communities. Most particularly, I have a special interest in the advancement of the social status of women, a cause and concern that stems from my being raised in India where women are generally subjected to oppressive, unequal treatment that often has a negative impact even on their physical health. This is frequently the case, for example, in rural areas of the country where women dentists are unavailable and married women are prohibited from seeing a male dentist for ideological or cultural reasons, most of them religious in nature. Thus, I see a thoroughgoing treatment of the rights of women as necessarily an inherent part of our struggle to bring dental care to the underserved, especially in a highly patriarchal society like my own country of origin, India.

​My professional engagement with my community in paid positions has also been health care related. I have been working at the XXXXMedical Center serving as the Unit Receptionist on a Medical- Surgical Unit and have seen that by just a little kindness and gratitude to the new arrivals, you can have a palpable impact on a patient’s health. Another great highlight in my life that I feel strongly has provided me with a solid foundation to excel in dental school is the Administrative Internship that I fulfilled at the XXXX Institute for Urban Health in Brooklyn, NY. Through my experiences working in health care, the principles of good time management and being a team player are embedded within.

My central intellectual and moral inspiration as someone who aspires to give her life to dentistry is founded in a special way for me in the form of a historical figure named, Shri Ghaniyah Ji, who provided medical aid and selfless service to wounded soldiers without any discrimination; giving them water no matter if they were friend or foe, quenching the thirst of the dying and wounded soldiers in the early 1700's. His teachings taught me to most fully embrace the lessons of selfless humanity, treating all equally, doing daily acts of kindness without expectation of any reward, helping to make life as comfortable as possible for those who are hurt, in pain, and suffering. For me, this is my calling in dentistry.

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