Method acting, a technique in which an actor aspires to complete emotional identification with a part, might not be something you’d expect to encounter during the workday at a dental distribution company.


Dr. Lucy Hobbs Taylor as portrayed by Jenn Ochman. She is shown at the Benco Dental museum, Pittston, Pennsylvania, in an operatory modeled after one from Dr. Hobbs’ era. 

But not so in the MarComm Department at Benco Dental, where Database Publishing Production Specialist Jenn Ochman brings a unique skillset: she dedicates her time outside work to historical reenactment.


Earlier this year, during an inaugural event celebrating Women’s History Month at Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Jenn volunteered to portray Dr. Lucy Hobbs, the first woman to earn a dental degree in the U.S. Throughout the two-day event, students, faculty and community members, including Ochman, portrayed women through history, their struggles and triumphs.

Though the“Women’s History is Alive,” event took place in March, Jenn continues to research the life of the namesake of The Lucy Hobbs Project™ a dental pioneer who was refused admission to dental school because of her gender:

This week, in the midst of dental school graduation season, Jenn unearthed a Valedictory address given by James Truman, DDS, Professor of Dental Physiology & Operative Dentistry at Penn College of Dental Surgery. 

Also recorded in The Dental Times, April 1866, his speech offered a welcome burst of inspiration on the topic of equality. An excerpt Jenn shared for today offers hope for the future from Dr. Truman’s 150-year-old wisdom.

Setting the scene: An article in the 1866 Dental Times from a faculty member discusses why females are not fit to be dentists. In the same issue of Dental Times, Dr. Truman offers a direct rebuttal. The articles coincide with the graduation of the first female dentist – Dr. Lucy Hobbs. Is Dr. Truman offering a show of support? Read his words below and decide for yourself.

“The recognition of the right of every human being to an equal share in the privileges that we enjoy, has not yet become a principle of faith and practice, as I think it should. We say to one-half of the human family, stitch, stitch, darn stockings…stand behind counters for two or three dollars per week, do anything, but don’t enter the sacred precincts that we have marked out for our peculiar benefit…

Talent is of no sex, color, or clime…I rejoice that dentistry has, though the youngest of the professions, welcomed woman, in two of our State organizations, to full membership and have recognized her as a co-laborer in a field full of interest and one in which, to my judgment, she is well adapted.”

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