"It's crazy how one class can really change a person," says Esmeralda Amador (Dentistry, '20). For her, that course was Sociology of the Family, which she took through NYU's Precollege program as a high school junior at the Bronx's St. Raymond Academy for Girls.
"I still remember the moment," Esmeralda says. "I was reading a book about an inner city immigrant family's interaction with a physician, and I thought, 'Someone wrote a book about me!'” Born in the Dominican Republic, she had moved with her family to Manhattan’s Morningside Heights as a sophomore. “The story was so relevant to the dynamic of my family visiting anyone of power—a lawyer, a doctor, a dentist—that is was almost uncanny,” she remembers.
Almost instantly, Esmeralda saw herself, her urban environment, and her future differently. She had a new, all-encompassing goal: college at NYU.
As an undergrad here, Esmeralda majored in sociology and minored in chemistry, focusing on disparities in health care. After graduating in 2015, she carried those interests with her to NYU’s College of Dentistry, where she’s in her first semester. To relieve some of the pressures of the demanding four-year program, she plays squash at the gym and soccer with members of NYU’s recent alumni network. When out-of-town friends come to visit, she takes them to Brooklyn's Dumbo neighborhood, where she says she likes the perspective of “seeing the two bridges, and what Manhattan looks like from the outside.”
She dreams of someday practicing dentistry in a warmer climate—California, maybe—but at this point is trying to keep an open mind. “I’m open to going pretty much anywhere,” Esmeralda says. “Doesn’t everyone always seem to find their way back to New York, though?”