Aida Shadrav ’17 came to Hamilton with a plan and she’s well on the way to accomplishing it. She’ll enter Harvard Dental School in the fall, following the career path of her mother Dr. Reihaneh Ghoreishi who she said has been a major influence in her life.
For Shadrav, going on to study dentistry was a foregone conclusion. “I grew up around dentistry and my mother’s dental practice, which was dedicated to helping communities in dire need of dental care,” she said. “I developed a passion for this career in high school and fortified my decision to pursue it in college, when I shadowed multiple dentists both in Upstate N.Y. and in Chicago.”
Majors: chemistry and Hispanic studies
Hometown: Wilmette, Ill.
High school: New Trier Township High School
Shadrav said she enrolled at Hamilton intending to study the sciences “because (they) — especially chemistry and biology — are tools that help me understand the fundamentals and logic of the world around me.”
A double major of chemistry and Hispanic studies was also part of Shadrav’s plan. “I wanted to learn the Spanish language and familiarize myself with the different cultures around the world, in order to be able to communicate and relate to my future patients better,” she said. “Languages are a bridge to other cultures and create a mutual understanding between different communities.”
Shadrav studied in Madrid through Hamilton’s program there and called it “a transformative experience that led me to grow as a person.” She already spoke Farsi, her native language, and decided to major in Hispanic studies “to gain a more intimate perspective on the Spanish-speaking people.”
She chose Harvard School of Dental Medicine, she said, because of its special educational model promoting the vision that oral health and primary care are both essential for delivering the best care to the patient. “Harvard aims to remove the distinction between oral and systemic health, so to this end, dental students study alongside Harvard medical students for a year and have a mandatory clinical or basic science research project,” Shadrav said. “Harvard Dental School of Medicine offers me everything I was looking for: a small class size, a progressive community, which aims to improve the overall health of patients. In many ways, it is similar to Hamilton.”
Now, as she prepares to head to Harvard, Shadrav reflects on the past and looks forward to the future. “The open curriculum at Hamilton really allowed me to explore my options and have a multidisciplinary education. (It) opened my eyes to a world of opportunities.”
Once she obtains her degree at Harvard, she said, “I hope to aid my patients in oral disease prevention and improve their overall health. I cannot wait to finally be able to study what I love and have a direct impact in somebody's life.”