Foundation for the Future: ACC Alumni’s Journey to Becoming a Dentist

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.

Eugenia Osbon stands infront of UTSA's dentistry lab.
“A new foundation for oral healthcare and research,” reads an inscription on one of the offices the University of Texas at San Antonio’s School of Dentistry. Eugenia Osbon poses in front of it with a folder from the school.

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.”

Eugenia Osbon and her friend Saima Khan smile as they lay in the grass between dental classes.
Saima Khan (left) and Eugenia Osbon (right) take a break in between classes at dental still in their scrubs outside of the University of Texas at San Antonio’s School of Dentistry.

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.

International Students

Written and photos by Phuong Kim Pham

WCO Organization community service
World Community Club doing community service work.

The number one transfer college in Texas, ACC is not only a college for Texans, but students all over the world. International students contribute to the school’s development and diversity with the increase of 1.38% district-wide from 2013 to 2017, according to ACC’s 2016-2017 Fact Book. The increase shows that international students consider ACC to be a valuable institution, leading to greater demand for ACC to enhance their International Student Services.

For academic and language learning, ACC provides more than 100 areas of study, with credits being transferable to a four-year college. This gives students a variety of choices in majors to pursue.

Anh Vu, a first-year ACC international student, is very pleased with her first college experience. “The school help me find all the credited classes that I need to transfer to a four-year university,” she said. “I was able to learn thoroughly about my major– which is Computer Science – through the advisors.”

ACC also provides English Language Instruction, such as English as a Second Language (ESL) and Intensive English Program (IEP) for international students who wish to enhance their English skills. Porry Chen, a Chinese IEP student, has a good impression of the program: “The classes are fast but very effective,” she shared. “It gives me the opportunity to meet people from other cultures and practice English.” In addition to the English programs, ACC establishes English Composition classes for non-native speaker to create a delightful academic environment for international students. Wandaka, a student from Congo, says he received a lot of helps in the class. “Although the class was hard, I think if I have any trouble with study, the teacher and classmates will help me with it,” he said.

World Community Club organizing bake sale


The problem that international students have with ACC’s service is distance, as the International Student Office (ISO) has only two campus location: Riverside and Round Rock. Vu is one of many international students who choose Northridge to be their main campus. As a first-year ACC student, she had to go to the office four times to get her paperwork done. “It’s pretty upsetting that ACC doesn’t have any office in Northridge, I was really tired having to go [to the ISO] so many times,” Vu shared.

Porry Chen, who studies at Highland campus and Cypress Creek, said, “I don’t have problems going to the office but going by bus does take a very long time.” They all hope that ACC will extend International Student Services to additional campuses in order to save on traveling cost and time.

Regarding co-curricular activities, many international students at ACC find joining clubs and college activities to be unusual. One reason is that their culture stresses education as the priority, and overlooks co-curricular college development. Another reason is that there are not many activities that reach international students. Anh Vu, a student who has spent four years in the United States as an international, shared that she only knew about her club through the international student’s orientation. “You probably have to walk around and try to find other clubs’ information to join, which is very time-consuming and difficult for new international students,” she said.

Being a hard-working student, Anh Vu is also the Secretary of World Community Club (WCC). She likes to spend her free time doing club activities and meeting new people, as she was also an active international high school student in South Carolina. She wants to encourage international students to be open-minded to learn new things. “Joining WCC is not hard, you don’t have to attend to the meetings to join, all you have to do is email us or join the group on MySL and we will send you various events for you through email,” she suggests. “Student Life is also like a helping center for anyone who wants to meet new friends, you can definitely join them.”

international students

Pick this story up in the Spring 2018 Life4U magazine on campus.