Drs. Arora, Shahmirzadi recognized with awards

January 10th, 2023

Two graduate students of Texas A&M School of Dentistry’s oral and maxillofacial radiology program were recognized with prestigious awards from the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology in 2022. Dr. Pallak Arora received the Howard Raper Award, and Dr. Solaleh Shahmirzadi received the Radiology Centennial Scholarship Award.

Dr. Pallak Arora and Dr. Solaleh Shahmirzadi

The Howard Raper Award is given to a graduate student in the second or third year of their program, nominated by their program director. Its purpose is to recognize a promising student who has shown special interest in the field of oral and maxillofacial radiology and intends to pursue a career in academia.

The Radiology Centennial Scholarship Award is intended to aid students pursuing a career in radiology and is awarded to a student who has demonstrated “outstanding academic achievement and a potential for continued achievement beyond graduation.”

Dr. Hui Liang, acting director of the Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology residency program at the dental school, spoke highly of Shahmirzadi and Arora and is impressed with their work.

“I have known Dr. Shahmirzadi for two years since she joined our Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology residency program,” Liang wrote in her reference letter. “As a senior faculty and acting director of oral and maxillofacial radiology resident program, I am very familiar with her outstanding professional accomplishments. It is not easy to achieve what she has done in two years with three publications and 12 presentations in regional, national and international meetings. More importantly, Dr. Shahmirzadi has a positive work attitude, excellent work ethic and she is a pleasure to work with.

“Dr. Arora has participated in our undergraduate radiology clinic teaching since she started her program [in 2021],” she said. “I am impressed by her passion and patience in teaching throughout the program. Dr. Arora always has a positive work attitude, is eager to learn and strives for excellence. Whatever she sets her hand to, I am sure she will do it well.”

Arora said she felt “proud and fortunate to receive this award.”

“They choose the best among applicants of the United States and Canada …” she said. “I give credit to the faculty who’s supported us. Thank you for encouraging us to continue having the highest level of dedication in our job.”

“Our faculty are always motivating us; they’re like family,” Shahmirzadi added. “I feel that our faculty are more than just teachers who are tasked with lecturing or instructing in courses; they are also mentors and more importantly, lead us to better ourselves by seeing the potential in us. We’re very lucky to be here at A&M.”

Shahmirzadi recently graduated from the program and is pursuing her master’s degree here at the school. Arora said she is on track to graduate this year.

— Caleb Vierkant