Nine Professionals Embody the Spirit of Dental Pioneer

Posted on May 12, 2014

PITTSTON, PA — May 12, 2014 — Lucy Hobbs, in 1866, became the first American female to earn a degree in dentistry. Fitting that the 2nd annual event in celebration of her provides three opportunities for education to all in attendance gratis.

Crystal Washington, known for her ability to make complex Web topics accessible to the business community, presents one of three Continuing Education courses at the Lucy Hobbs Project Annual Celebration Honoring Exemplary Women in the Dental Community, to be held at the Omni Championsgate in Orlando, Fla., June 6.

As author of new book, The Social Media Why: A Busy Professional’s Practical Guide to Using Social Media Including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+ and Blogs for Business, she offers a dynamic look at social media for the dental professional. Continuing Education credits will be awarded in two additional areas of expertise – finance, featuring a presentation by Teresa Gast, CPA and trends in dentistry, led by Dr. Eric Solomon.

As featured presenter, Liz Murray, who overcame tremendous odds to go from "homeless to Harvard" will share a decision that inspired her journey. Murray, 29, now an international speaker and author of Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard, remained undaunted after her parents’ drug addiction and illness catapulted her to life on New York streets. A personal epiphany convinced her to focus on opportunities rather than excuses.

Murray’s presence serves as an apt tribute to honor a young woman whose decision paved the path for women in dentistry and to recognize industry professionals whose achievements mirror those established by Hobbs. Among this year’s Lucy Hobbs Award recipients are eight unique women and one man, industry stalwarts, whose unwavering professional dedication merits accolades:

·       Joan Austin (1931-2013), cofounder of dental-equipment manufacturer A-dec, which employs more than 1,000 people and markets its products in more than 100 countries. She was the first woman named to the Oregon Economic Development Commission and her philanthropic and educational efforts were legion.

·       Dan Bump, Biscayne Regional Manager for Benco Dental, says the Lucy Hobbs Project initiative benefits are good for business— and soul. The six-year Benco associate touts the project as an “avenue for practitioners and distribution partners to come together to create an understanding of each other’s needs and goals."

·       Karen Gear, DDS, a former clinical professor at Harlem Hospital Center, leads her practice and those she mentors using her clinical expertise in the areas of endodontics and general dentistry in Vineyard Haven, Mass.

·       Mary Hartigan, DDS, who much like Lucy Hobbs, was told she would never practice dentistry. Ignoring that advice, she sets the bar high as a general dentist, periodontist, dental educator and philanthropist in Jacksonville, Florida.

·       Maria Maranga, DDS, a practicing endodontist in Aquebogue, NY, not only shares her passion for dentistry with the next generation of practitioners at Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine, but also with her peers, as a presenter at dental meetings across the country.

·       Sharon Masiarczyk, a Territory Representative from the Biscayne Region in Florida, has been with Benco Dental since 1998. Her involvement with the Lucy Hobbs Project has encompassed organizing motivational speaking engagements and other events, outreach that has resonance in her own career: She previously spent five years as a dental assistant.

·       Terryl A. Propper, DDS, MS, a senior partner of a seven-doctor, two-location endodontic practice in Brentwood, Tenn., was the first female to join its ranks 24 years ago. She dedicates herself to advancing the role of women in the industry.

·       Katti Webb Simpson, IPDH, who persevered to establish an Independent Hygiene practice in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine, illustrates the future at work. Her pioneer spirit paves the way for others in her area of specialty.

·       Kaaren G. Vargas, DDS, PhD., a pediatric dentist in North Liberty, Iowa, serves as an example of fortitude to her young patients. After discovering her international degree stood in the way of opening a practice, she continued her studies and today leads the charge in humanitarian efforts.

These nine pioneers for change help lead the charge for women in dentistry and embody the project goals. Powered by Benco Dental, The Lucy Hobbs Project is a national, long-term program based on three pillars – networking, innovating and giving back.  Named after Hobbs, this project aims to bring women together from all facets of the dental industry – dentists, dental assistants, hygienists, receptionists, sales representatives and others. The project is free to join and offers networking opportunities, education programs and charitable events. 

To learn more and sign up for The Lucy Hobbs Project, visit The Lucy Hobbs Project website at:

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