July 16, 2019
Yalda Rostamnezhad, a fourth-year student in the College of Dental Medicine (CDM), was recently selected by the American Association of Women Dentists (AAWD) as the organization’s 2019 Student of the Year.
According to her nominator, AAWD chapter faculty advisor and Assistant Clinical Professor Michelle W. Tsao, D.M.D., Rostamnezhad was nominated for her “unwavering dedication to her AAWD student chapter,” which she joined in 2016 upon enrolling in CDM. Tsao noted that Rostamnezhad has been a pivotal player in the successes and achievements of the chapter. “From the beginning, she has supported the chapter to flourish into what it is now through her community service efforts, spearheading of chapter events and recruitment of new members,” Tsao said.
In addition to organizing numerous events on campus, including a monthly lecture series about issues in dentistry, Rostamnezhad has volunteered extensively during her time at UNE. She participated in the Polar Plunge into Sebago Lake to raise money for the Maine Children’s Cancer Program; volunteered at a local high school to speak to the sophomore class about pursuing a career in dentistry; organized a clothing drive for donations to the Florence House, a Portland women’s shelter; and volunteered at the Preble Street Soup Kitchen on Saturdays, preparing meals for women at the shelter.
Rostamnezhad expressed her delight in the recognition. “Receiving this award is a tremendous honor for me, as AAWD has been a substantial part of my dental school experience,” she stated. “I have worked incessantly on improving our AAWD chapter at UNE and expanding our members. I felt that it was my calling to empower the women in our chapter to work together and support each other on this journey to becoming the best providers we can be.”
Rostamnezhad will be recognized during the AAWD's annual conference in Phoenix in September.