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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Dental Hygiene Student is Service Oriented

By Ciara Jones

Noor Yahya, 26, a student in the College of Health Sciences School of Dental Hygiene, is also a cadet in the ROTC program at Old Dominion University.

Her goal is to contribute to oral health and education while serving in the military as an active-duty dental officer. She also hopes to be able to use her dental expertise in her native Iraq.

"I am planning on traveling and being part of programs that offer oral education and dental aid in underserved communities and countries," she said.

She has prospects of joining programs like UNICEF (United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund), Global Dental Relief and Red Crescent.

Yahya's parents aided the United States while living in their home country of Iraq. Under the Special Immigration visa program, Yahya and her family were granted refuge in the United States.

When Yahya was 15, her family moved to Hampton. They subsequently found their "forever" home in Williamsburg.

Yahya's interest in the dental hygiene profession began in her junior year of high school, when she was part of a dental assistant program.

Yahya, who will graduate this spring, had military experience even before coming to ODU. For four years she was a linguist in the U.S. Army, translating information in Arabic to English.

Her field operations organization would usually meet over civil or domestic affairs. They also delivered food or aided the National Guard with transporting supplies.

Her interactions with the public, though limited, always gave her "a feeling of happiness."

"They're hospitable, kind, very social and very welcoming," she said. "There's never a dry conversation. You're always talking over food and drinks.

"It's really nice."

Yayha cares about those who live in harsh conditions.

"You wish you could do more to help," she said. "They wanted us to be there because they knew we could provide some sort of solution."

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