Student Vlad Cobzaru
Senior DCG student Vlad Cobzaru is originally from Romania.

First Look: Figuring It Out

Basketball brought Vlad Cobzaru to the United States, and he’s been charging down the court ever since. 

Vlad, a senior DCG student, grew up in Iasi, Romania, watching his parents work long hours seven days a week. “All they know is work; we never took vacations,” says Vlad.

They wanted a better life for Vlad and his younger brother, so they encouraged them to capitalize on their natural athleticism. “My parents wanted us to play sports because of the health benefits; the Romanian slogan is healthy mind and healthy body,” says Vlad. “They also wanted more opportunities for us. They were raised in communism, and it was really hard for them to move around or change their circumstances.”

After dabbling in soccer and tennis, Vlad and his brother found their niche in basketball. Their hard work paid off, as both received basketball scholarships to private high schools in the United States. After completing high school in Vermont, Vlad was invited to play power forward for Augusta University.

“I had such a warm welcome the very first time I came here,” says Vlad. “Coach (Dip) Metress was great.”

Vlad was sidelined by an injury for most of his sophomore year but otherwise excelled. “We did really well in the state championship and qualified for regional,” Vlad says.

Next came dental school. “I was always passionate about health care fields,” he says. “I like fixing things and coming up with innovative ideas, and I’ve always wanted to help people, so dentistry seemed like a good fit.”

He has excelled in dental school, earning several scholarships, despite the challenge of a never-ending string of part-time jobs.

Yet hard work clearly comes naturally to Vlad, who is eager to work toward U.S. citizenship. “I’m just so happy to be here. I plan to practice here and do mission trips to Romania. The technology is much better here and there’s more opportunity.”

He knows that starting a dental career can be daunting, but he is clearly up for any challenge. “When I moved to the United States,” says Vlad, “it was just me. I had to figure things out. I’m used to figuring things out.”

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