Yeva Manukyan’s passion to serve in the field of oral health was shaped early on by her role model, her mother. Assisting her mother, who is a dentist, to plan mission trips to Armenia, the country from which they emigrated, Manukyan recognized the profound health disparities that exist, particularly in dental health.

As her professional and volunteer experience grew, Manukyan learned the importance of education in oral health and hygiene. She explains that the power of knowledge in these areas is often underestimated in communities both locally and abroad. With hopes of making an impact in dental health education, Manukyan began her studies as a clinical track student at the Keck School of Medicine of USC’s Master of Science in Global Medicine program, where she gained a deeper knowledge of interdisciplinary medicine.

The most rewarding moment for Manukyan came during her second semester when she was awarded the prestigious Dhablania and Kim Family Global Medicine Fellowship, which enabled her to travel to Armenia to learn about the current conditions of oral hygiene in children and explore the role of nutrition in dental caries. With contributions from dental supply companies and fellow students, she was able to collect over 300 hygiene kits for her project. Manukyan explains that she was inspired by the children she helped during her trip, knowing that her efforts contributed to the prevention of long-term dental health complications and made a positive impact on developing communities in Armenia.

This fall, Manukyan will continue her studies at the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC, where she has long dreamed of advancing her education in dental health. She states, “with education and knowledge, comes great responsibility. Though change may not happen overnight, each real-world experience offers us the opportunity to serve as a catalyst for change.”