Hardship and isolation are nothing new for UQ Dental Science graduate Dr Hooman Baghaie who at 12-years-old fled Iran with his parents and sisters, escaping religious persecution.
Ten years later Dr Baghaie’s family found themselves celebrating the achievements of their son and brother who graduated from UQ having achieved the highest clinical marks in both his third and fourth years of study.
Employed by the School of Dentistry as a casual tutor he received the Pierre Fauchard Award in recognition of his character, work ethic and academic ability.
Those qualities and a dedication to research and advocacy for the disadvantaged led to his nomination as valedictorian in 2016.
Today Dr Baghaie is a dentist on the Gold Coast and continues his passion for helping those in need by volunteering his time to serve disadvantaged communities in Australia and abroad.
“Part of my development as a dentist has been to give something back to the community,” he said.
“I have been fortunate enough to be involved and continue to be involved in numerous research projects with refugees, rural Australians and those suffering from mental illnesses.
“UQ opened doors for me to provide volunteer dental care in East Timor and Cambodia, and in Australia with the Royal Flying Doctor Service.”
All children, regardless of the obstacles they face should have the right to access education. The generosity of donors who support scholarships at UQ can empower brilliant young students who may face additional barriers and hardship to succeed at university.