Submitted by Dan Hurley, volunteer at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
With all the inflammatory talk about the evils of immigration filling our ears over the last year, it is good to pause and reflect on the success story that is Olga Kondrya. The volunteer dental assistant at the Cathedral’s Amaus Dental Service recently was admitted to the University of Buffalo School of Dental Medicine. She will start in August, 2018
Olga, 25, came to the United States in 1996 from Ukraine when she was but four years old, fleeing religious persecution and unrest in the wake of the breakup of the Soviet Union. Her grandmother preceded them and sponsored Olga and her parents, Nataliya and Peter, and brother, Andrey. Olga’s family and her new husband, Igor, recently all became full citizens in a wonderful local ceremony.
Olga went to West Genesee High School and Syracuse University where she began to explore medical careers while studying biochemistry. A shadowing experience at the SUNY Upstate Dental Clinic was the clincher and soon she was focused on getting into dental school as she graduated and took a job in student services at SU.
She stepped into a volunteer dental assistant position at the Amaus clinic under the watchful eye of Dr. David Dasher who encouraged her all through the long process of taking the Dental Admission Test (DAT), and shepherding her applications to multiple schools and providing letters of recommendation. That two-years-plus process was rewarded December 1 when she learned of her admission to the UB program — her first choice.
Dr. Dasher can’t say enough good things about Olga. “She is the best. Patient-oriented and charitable, two traits that you cannot teach. I know her parents are very proud of her and that pride extends to our entire staff here at Amaus.”
Olga and her husband will be off to Buffalo in August with the full prayers and best wishes of her Cathedral family. As for Dr. Dasher, he says that there are more volunteers at Amaus with the dental career dream. He’s already working with them.
To learn more about Amaus Dental, visit amausdentalservices.com.