Angie Rassam – Star of the Week
America represents the land of opportunity; a place where dreamers and visionaries thrive and succeed. Angie Rassam is a first generation American who has chosen to pursue her dreams. Her story started just before she was born in 1980, when her parents decided to risk everything and move to America. Angie’s mother, Hala, was pregnant with her first daughter when she made the tough decision to move from Iraq to a land of opportunity and freedom, leaving her whole family behind. As her plane landed in Detroit, Michigan, Hala paved the way for Angie to prosper in America.
Angie didn’t exactly grow up like every other suburban family. She recognized the uniqueness of her bicultural rearing, telling STAR WINAR, “Being bicultural, I grew up with the best of both worlds. My character was built upon the strong foundation of Iraqi values, but I had the freedom to dream big as an American citizen.” Angie learned the value of a dollar when she started working in her parent’s restaurant business at the early age of 12. She would sweep and help and way she could around the store. However, both of her parents stressed to Angie their desire for her to attend college and earn an education saying, “I don’t want you to have to depend on a business that’s not stable. Pursue your education until you have a diploma in your hand; that way you can conquer the world.” Angie shared that vision saying, “As much as I loved the food business I always knew I wanted something more.”
So with fearless resolve and an entrepreneurial spirit, Angie launched her college career in Saint Mary College’s pre-medical program. While her initial aim was to become a medical doctor, her trajectory changed after she discovered her passion for dentistry. Angie still remembers her first patient from years past; a recent widow who walked into the office who had a chipped front tooth. After Angie repaired the woman’s tooth the woman looked into the mirror and her face lit up with excitement. Angie told STAR WINAR, “It felt wonderful to bring happiness to someone’s life. That patient was so excited, she began crying, and I realized I can make a difference in the world through dentistry.” Angie continued, saying, “Even though it took years to get to this point, I am blessed to practice as a dentist, and could not have achieved this without the encouragement of my mother. My parents instilled in me the value of hard work and it was made possible because they took the risk to come to America.” STAR WINAR salutes Angie Rassam, the first generation dentist from Iraq, and our “Star of the Week.”