Future dentist values her U.S. college experience

Published: May 12, 2022

Student smiling for headshot
Nastaran Ghodratnezhad Azar (Marlayna Demond '11/UMBC)

Nastaran Azar

Degree: B.S., Biological Sciences
Hometown: Tabriz, Iran
Plans: M.S., Applied Molecular Biology at UMBC, followed by dental school

“I knew that if I came to UMBC I wouldn’t be alone, I would join a community of international students.”

As a child in Iran, Nastaran Azar ’22, biological science, was afraid when she saw her grandmother take out her dentures, but her brother’s explanation of what had happened to her grandmother’s original teeth gave Azar a life goal. “Teeth play a really important role in our lives,” she says. She plans to help others take care of theirs when she eventually becomes a dentist. 

Before dental school, however, Azar had to get an education in biology. She came to UMBC from Iran, knowing that UMBC has a community of diverse students that would help her feel welcome. She would go on to extend that welcome to others through UMBC’s Global Ambassadors program.

Two students throw a frisbee on a lawn
Nastaran Azar playing frisbee on campus. (Image by Marlayna Demond ’11/UMBC)

Beyond enjoying the chance to meet students from all over the world, she was amazed at some of the differences in her academic experience as a student in the U.S. rather than Iran. These differences ranged from more frequent quizzes rather than high-stakes exams to the lab’s abundance of pipettes. “I really enjoyed that we have access to all of the technology and supplies,” says Azar. 

She sees her decision to go abroad for college as one of the best choices she has made. “You get a chance to learn much more” when you are in a new environment with all different kinds of people, she says.

Story written by Karen Stysley

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