Deema and Jawad Tamimi will be classmates as well as brother and sister as they begin their first year at the Touro College of Dental Medicine (TCDM) together.
“I chose TCDM because it gave my sister and I the opportunity to attend graduate school together instead of dividing us,” said Jawad, who graduated from Rutgers University with a BS in biology and a minor in psychology. “The fact that we are together makes it extremely exciting to kick off our journey in dentistry.”
Deema, who holds a BA in biology from Montclair State University and an MA in biomedical sciences from the Rutgers Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, is equally excited to join TCDM both for the “amazing opportunities” the college has to offer in preparing her for her dental career and for the chance to do it all with her brother.
“Since we get along really well, this seemed like the perfect opportunity for the both of us. You can say we are best friends, although he cringes at the thought of that,” she said.
Deema and Jawad have both been interested in dentistry from a young age, as their father is a renowned oral and maxillofacial surgeon who has practiced all over the world, TCDM said.
“It only made sense for me, and my brother, to continue in his footsteps,” Deema said.
They have fond memories of going to work with their father as children and, as a result, are both “a little biased” in regard to what specialty they may be interested in pursuing, TCDM said. However, they both share that they are trying to keep their minds open to other areas of dentistry.
Deema and Jawad enjoyed their first day in the simulation lab, where they finally got to do some hands-on work. They also experienced digital dentistry for the first time as they began learning how to use the 3Shape TRIOS intraoral 3-D scanner. They learned how to manipulate wax and began honing their hand-eye coordination skills as well.
“This is the first time I’ve done a wax-up. It’s more delicate than I thought, honestly, but I think I am getting the hang of it,” said Jawad.
Though they are originally from New Jersey, they have travelled to and lived in other countries abroad with their family. Living outside of the United States required adjustment, but they said that the experience allowed them to see the whole world in a different light.
“Of course, there is always that culture shock at first, but the whole experience taught me how to be very outgoing and adaptable, as well as gave me the opportunity to learn how to build a connection with people across many backgrounds,” said Deema.
Adaptability has proven to be useful as Deema and Jawad begin their first year in the middle of a global pandemic, TCDM said. Orientation was virtual this year, and getting to know their classmates has been challenging, the school added.
“Having my brother by my side has for sure made all of this a lot easier,” said Deema. “Keeping each other motivated and holding each other accountable is what keeps us going!”