Laura Immanuel-Lavelle ’93 majored in biology and minored in psychology at Union College before earning her post-baccalaureate degree at Columbia University and her DMD at Tufts School of Dental Medicine. Today she is a general dentist responsible for oral health education and restoring dentition at two private practices in Massachusetts. She works as an associate dentist and is a member of the American Dental Association, and the Metropolitan, Middlesex and Massachusetts Dental societies. Laura has also been an active participate in Teamsmile, which promotes oral health for underprivileged children through the power of sports. Recently inducted into Marquis Who’s Who publication, Laura was also one of Boston’s top dentists in Boston Magazine 2020. She enjoys gardening and photography in her spare time.
What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your career or volunteer activities?
With all the new pandemic guidelines and required PPE for dentists, it makes it difficult sometimes to do dentistry. The N95 masks make it harder to breathe and face shields/eyewear make it harder to visualize the oral cavity. Being able to improve someone’s oral health and increase their confidence by improving their smile is the most rewarding part of my work.
Who inspired/inspires you, both professionally and personally?
I spent many hours in the dental chair as a child because I came from a country that didn’t stress dental education. My pedodontist inspired me to go into dentistry. Being from a family of physicians, I knew I wanted to go into the health field. However, dentistry allowed me to use my skills in art and pursue a career in healthcare.
What advice would you offer today’s women students, not just at Union, but across the country?
Do what makes you happy in your career choice! My parents came from a culture where women are supposed to just stay home and have kids without a career. That made me fight harder to find a career and be independent.
What was your most formative experience at Union?
A marine biology course where we went to Bar Harbor, Maine, over the summer. I was able to study a crab, Carcinus maenus, in the field. I was also able to combine my art skills and interest in science for my final project – to show the anatomy of the crab, I did the illustration myself. Favorite course taken at Union College by far!