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Six Professionals Embody Spirit of Dental Pioneer Lucy Hobbs

Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014

PITTSTON, PA — February 14, 2014 — One young woman who overcame tremendous odds to go from "homeless to Harvard" will share a decision that inspired her journey at the 2nd annual celebration named to honor a young woman whose decision paved the path for women in dentistry.

Liz Murray, meet the legacy of Lucy Hobbs.

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.

She will appear as featured presenter at the Lucy Hobbs Project Annual Celebration Honoring Exemplary Women in the Dental Community, to be held at the Omni Championsgate in Orlando, FL, June 6.  The annual event, named for the woman who, in 1866, became the first American female to earn a degree in dentistry, will recognize and award industry professionals whose achievements mirror those established by Lucy Hobbs.

Among this year’s Lucy Hobbs Award recipients are six unique women, industry stalwarts, whose unwavering professional dedication merits recognition:

·       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, 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.

·       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 six pioneers for change and three others, to be announced at the Lucy Hobbs Project Annual Celebration June 6, 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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