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Friday, May 18


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Montgomery College Foundation Awards More Than $180,000 Through Innovation Fund Grants

Need to Know

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Admissions and Records Offices Closed Friday, May 25

Compliance Office

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EthicsPoint - Montgomery College's Reporting Line for Ethical Concerns


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2018-2019 Participatory Governance Council Members

Campus Sports News

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MC Women's Track and Field Team Finishes in 8th Place at NJCAA DIII Outdoor Track & Field Championship!


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Do You Need Help? Use Our Faculty Staff Assistance Program

MC Events

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Masterwork Festival Orchestra Concert, June 2

Community Engagement

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"Moving Beyond Labels in a Diverse Society" Interfaith Conversation and Ramadan Iftar Dinner, May 23 at Germantown

It's Academic

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The Latest Curriculum Newsletter Is Available Online

Library News

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MC Library Hours: Week of May 14


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Style and Substance: A Composition Primer by Professor Joseph Couch Published

Professional Development

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Proposals Now Being Accepted for ELITE/MCIW's Fall Professional Day Conference!

Student Affairs

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For Students: Win a $500 Scholarship for Doing Something Fun - Enter Your Short Film/Video for an MC Film Festival in Fall, 2018!


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Dine at Dogfish Head on Tuesday and Support Alumni Scholarships


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Inaugural Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice Department Newsletter

Employee Extras

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Discounted Tickets, Meal Vouchers and Game Booklets for MC Employees at HERSHEYPARK!

TP/SS Student Spotlight Graduate Edition: Sara Atef-Vahid, DDS

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Category: Features

Published: May 18 2018 12:00AM

Each month during the fall and spring semesters, we select a student for a spotlight. These students demonstrate a strong commitment to both their education and their community, and exemplify how MC empowers its students to change their lives. If you know a student who you think deserves to be in the spotlight, please send the student's name and a description of why you think the student should be recognized to

With the Montgomery College Class of 2018 graduating this month, this Graduate Edition of the TP/SS Campus Student Spotlight series celebrates an MC alum who walked across that very same stage and went on to pursue her dream. This month, meet Sara Atef-Vahid. Ms. Atef-Vahid just graduated from the Howard University College of Dentistry with her DDS on May 11, 2018. Her sister, another MC alum, also just graduated from the Howard University College of Pharmacy with her Pharm.D. Ms. Atef-Vahid has also been accepted into the AEGD (Advance Education in General Dentistry) program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, where she starts in July. Below is an excerpt from her spotlight where she tells her inspiring story and reflects on how Montgomery College empowered her to change her life. Her full spotlight is available at

My story began many years ago as I walked through the doors of Montgomery College as a non-traditional student in the fall of 2011. Until then, I had been faced with the challenges of a circuitous life path, from having to move back and forth to different countries to having to change my career several times. It was not easy being married at a very young age, and even more difficult being a divorced single mother and full-time student. After spending my life straddling two cultures with conflicting values, I finally found the opportunity to return to the U.S. to pursue my lifelong goal of becoming a dentist.

I was born and raised in the U.S.; however, as a high school sophomore, my family moved me to Iran. While in Iran, I was confronted with a system of different values, gender expectations, and cultural rules. Furthermore, I was faced with the challenge of adjusting and learning how to navigate in an ultra-conservative environment where gender roles were defined very differently from what I had been accustomed to. Furthermore, I then had to grapple with a foreign language and completely different educational system. Despite these challenges, I was able to obtain a Bachelor's Degree, graduating in the top 5% of my class from Shahid Beheshti University (formally National University of Iran). Following this success, I then pursued a Master's Degree, graduating at the top of my class from Iran University of Science and Technology (IUST). Both of these Universities were held in high prestige in Iran.

Upon my return to the U.S., I decided to pursue my passion of becoming a dentist. Despite the struggles of balancing my time and energy between my daughter and school, as well as the many discouragements from family and friends, I was able to graduate from Montgomery College with an Associate of Science: Biological Sciences, in May, 2014 with a 4.0 GPA. I received the Dr. Harry Harden Jr. Student Academic Excellence Award in recognition of superior and exemplary academic achievement at MC for two consecutive years, 2013 and 2014. I was also awarded the Julius White Achievement Award in Chemistry for outstanding performance in two years of undergraduate chemistry including organic and inorganic chemistry in 2013. I maintained my position on the Dean's List until graduation, along with being in the Phi Theta Kappa honor society and receiving The On RAMP to STEM and Herb Block Scholarships.

Despite a general belief that community colleges have lower educational standards than four-year universities, I strongly believe that I received the highest level of education at Montgomery College. It was my education at this extraordinary institution that not only prepared me for the national dental school entrance exam, the DAT, but also provided me with the knowledge to achieve a standard score of 25 (99.3 percentile) in the Total Sciences. During my interviews for dental school admission, when I was questioned about why I took my prerequisite courses at a community college, I would proudly reply, "no I did not take them at just any community college, I took them at Montgomery College," and my transcript and standardized dental national entrance exam scores reflect the academic level of this institution. It was also an assumption that graduating from a community college will not prepare a student for successful completion of a vigorous program and course load of dental school, but clearly this is not the case. I take pride in my education at Montgomery College because it paved the way for my success in the career of my dreams--dentistry. . . continued at

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