We’re excited to welcome our International Dentist Program Class of 2025! Since they were already practicing dentists in another country, they enter our Doctor of Dental Surgery program in its second year at an accelerated pace. This year’s class includes 10 students, and they’ve each shared a few facts about themselves below.

Malvika Chowdhary

• I graduated from Semmelweis University in Budapest, Hungary in 2019.

• I have lived in more than three different countries so far. My early years were in India, and I moved to Canada when I was 10 years old, where I went to middle school and high school and then moved to Europe for dental school.

• I love to travel to new places, live in different places and get to know cultures and environments.

• I am an only child, so my family is pretty small. It is just me, my mom and my dad.

• I practice yoga, I love astronomy. I like to get my telescope out whenever there’s a clear sky and observe the moon and the planets. It helps me relax and de-stress in the evenings.

Kristina Taranov

• I was born and raised in Western Ukraine.

• I attended Uzhhorod National University, Faculty of Dentistry where I received my DMD degree.

• My favorite hobby is baking.

• I love to travel and enjoy the views created by nature.

• I moved here from Naples, FL and I’m so excited to be part of the VCU RAMily!

Dina Amanda Belsito

• I’m Canadian, friendly, and outgoing .

• I love to learn about people and cultures through food. Italian cuisine is my favorite.

• I am an outdoorsy type of person, I like to hike and bike.

• I am married to my best friend that I met in Budapest, Hungary during my dental studies

• I love to travel and I have been to over 20 countries, many of which were in Europe.

Dinora Quintero

• I am from San Cristobal, Venezuela. 

• I graduated in 2008 and did a specialization in orthodontics for three years, which ended in 2011, in Bogota, Colombia. 

• I love meeting new people, sharing experiences, and different life stories and making new friends.

• I like to travel, get to know new sites, their history, culture and try different food from new places.

• I have two small children and spending time with them is one of the most important things in my life. Playing outdoors and doing fun activities is something we enjoy as a family.

Zainab Rauf

• I was born and raised in Pakistan and I’m the youngest in my family. I graduated dental school in 2018.

• I enjoy DIYs and watercolor painting.

• I am the “handyman” of the house. I love to fix things.

• I’m always ready to try new food and flavors. I can have Thai for the rest of my life.

• I value self-care a lot. Doing little things for yourself can make a lot of difference in your day. I often reconnect with nature to relax.

Mohammed Samarah

• I was Born in Hartford, Connecticut. I was raised and did most of my schooling in Jordan.

• I graduated from Jordan University of Science and Technology in 2018 and I moved back to the states in 2019.

• I’m a tech nerd. I always try to be updated with the latest technology and of course, I love playing video games! 

• I love traveling and exploring other countries and seeing different traditions. I also love swimming and playing soccer.

• I worked as a surgical assistant for almost two years and acquired knowledge in the surgical aspect of dentistry.

• I am very excited to be a part of the VCU RAMily and getting to know everyone.

Peter Freag

• I was born and raised in Egypt. My mom was a great dentist.

• I came to New Jersey with my family and started working as a researcher at Rutgers University.

• I constantly challenge myself to improve.

• I love my friends and family. I want to make good friendships that last for a lifetime. As for me, teamwork is my definition of success!

Hussam Jaber

• I was born and raised in Dubai, UAE.

• I got my D.D.S. in Dubai in 2017, AEGD from the Royal Hospital in Jordan in 2018 and a Master of Healthcare Management in Chicago in 2022.

• I love to eat sushi, hot pot, and Korean barbeque.

• My favorite sports are badminton and swimming.

• I am passionate about knowing more and trying new things.

• I am excited to work towards my third dental license, this time in the U.S.

Abdul Mohamed

• I was born in Connecticut.

• I grew up and graduated from dental school in Egypt.

• I have never visited the pyramids “Lol”.

• Seafood is my favorite.

• You can always count on me when you need a buddy!

Franklyn Frias

• I was born in Manhattan, New York.

• I grew up in the Dominican Republic and also got my dental degree there in 2020.

• I worked as a commercial truck driver for two years in Orlando, Florida before obtaining my dental degree.

• I play saxophone, guitar and piano.

• People are surprised about how I can fix many things.

Categories Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, General Practice, News, Schoolwide News
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