Amber transferred to Vermont Tech after a year at the Community College of Vermont. “I chose Vermont Tech because it was small, local, and the job placement rate was high,” she said. “And knowing that when I graduated, I would have a job was really reassuring.”
Amber chose the dental hygiene program because it embodies all of her interests: education, health, science, and medicine. “I also wanted a career that would allow me to give back to my community,” she said.
She found the shift from CCV a bit challenging, as the program’s schedule and workload were more rigorous. “It helped having faculty and staff that cared about me and my academic success,” she said, and it also helped that “every class is small, hands-on, and most importantly, pertinent to my career.”
Amber also found a lot of support every step of the way, beginning with Shawn McElwain in admissions. “We had many conversations before I enrolled, and he helped me get in touch with the right people to apply and register,” she said. “He was the first face I saw once I was accepted and visited the campus, and I have always appreciated his warm, friendly way.”
Amber also received support through the TRIO program, which helps students who, like Amber, are the first generation in their family to attend college TRIO provides academic tutoring and career services during the academic year, as well as support to help with the transition to college. “The tutoring I received from Jackie Burke helped me to turn in my best work and win scholarships!” she said. “And Karry Booska helped me to prepare a dynamite resume that highlights the best of me and helped me with interviewing skills. The time spent with her helped me to land my dream job!”
Amber’s next goal is to work toward her bachelor’s degree in the field, and her ultimate goal: “to help propel the field of dental hygiene to its fullest potential. The health paradigm is slowly changing to one of preventive versus restorative care. Hygienists are going to need to be key players in making this change happen. I see myself working on legislation to change health policies and to increase the scope of practice for dental hygienists.”
“I love serving my community. I have had my fair share of difficult times, and I remember being so relieved and appreciative that someone was helping me. I love knowing that I am making someone else’s life a little easier in those difficult times. I also love improving people’s health. I love seeing that ‘ah-ha’ moment on people’s faces when they have made the connection that their oral health affects their overall health and vice versa.”