With humble beginnings at Austin Community College in 2012, alumni Eugenia Osbon expects to graduate from the University of Texas at San Antonio’s School of Dentistry with a doctorate within the next year – a leap of faith she took by leaving her hometown in Belarus.
Video and story by Angelica Ruzanova
Edited by Pete Ramirez
Growing up in the affluent and historic town of Vitebsk, Belarus, which produced several of the world’s greatest painters such as Marc Chagall and Kazimir Malevich, Eugenia Osbon’s love for art prospered at an early age.
But it wasn’t until Osbon’s time at Austin Community College that she discovered her true artistic outlet to be dentistry.
In ACC’s dental hygiene program, Osbon found a love of studying health care which marked the beginning of a life-changing journey toward becoming a dentist.
“When I just came to the United States, I was wondering if I could continue my education or start something new,” Osbon said. “There weren’t many options for me as a recent immigrant [while] not working or making any money so ACC was actually a great option for me…”
At the start of her time at ACC, Osbon had an idea she might enjoy going into the medical field but was unsure what kind of medicine she wanted to pursue.
“The class which actually turned me towards the medical field and especially dentistry was microbiology for health professions that I took at the Cedar Park campus,” Osbon said. “It was amazing and really, really inspiring.”
Osbon could tell she was making the right choice and decided to push herself to aim for a more challenging goal.
“…I decided that I might as well just go and transfer to a university and get my doctorate instead of settling on two years of dental hygiene,” Osbon said.
Once her mind was set on this goal, Osbon became dedicated to her path, despite facing obstacles such as learning to speak English and navigating through limited financial means.
“The language barrier made things very hard for me in the beginning because I decided to go into the medical field and my first class I took at ACC was anatomy,” Osbon said. “Not only was it hard for me to speak English, be present in lectures and try to write notes, but at the same time there were words that I’ve never heard in my life and it was definitely challenging.”
Osbon’s struggles became learning experiences that have made her a better dental student. She recalled retaking the class again in order to maintain a high GPA and found the experience to be rewarding.
In addition, Osbon joined student organizations which made her feel welcomed and connected to a supportive new community.
“I joined the National Honor Society pretty much right away – Phi Beta Kappa, and it was a great thing for me because I realized that without any financial help or big means I could actually help others because I was in a community that was helping others,” Osbon said.“It was one of the first things I did to give back to the people I met here who were really nice and welcoming.”
Osbon said that soon she’ll be able to do the same as a dentist caring for her future patients.
After Osbon graduated from ACC with an associate’s degree in health science, she transferred to Texas State University where she started her pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in microbiology and chemistry.
Once Osbon received her bachelor’s degree from Texas State University, she was soon after accepted into the highly competitive University of Texas at San Antonio’s school of dentistry.
Nearly a decade since her start at ACC, Osbon observed that her academic story was not so different from another classmate in her dental school.
“I met another friend who went to ACC who graduated last year at the age of 40,” Osbon said. “We both could have completed our demo degrees faster or slower, but ACC gives you the opportunity, tools, and community to do so at your own pace.”
As Osbon nears the end of her academic career, she is appreciative of her time at ACC where her dream of becoming a dentist first began.
“ACC is a great beginning place,” Osborn said. “No matter your age, financial level, background, it helps you to achieve your goals.”
“[ACC] prepared me really well for Texas State level courses and some of my courses at ACC were just as hard,” Osbon said. “My professors were just as knowledgeable and very welcoming, which is why ACC has a big spot in my heart.”
Osbon will be graduating with a doctorate in dental surgery from UTSA in May of 2023. The initial open door that ACC offered to Osbon, has altered the course of her career, her life, and will benefit future patients of the soon-to-be Dr.Osbon.