From left: Maria Guadalupe Ruiz, Janet Velasco, Nikki Atterberry, Nancy Jaramillo, Sofia G. Chong, and Blanca R. Cendejas

From left: Janet Velasco, Maria Guadalupe Ruiz, Shelby Lynn Lambert, Nikki Atterberry, Nancy Jaramillo, Sofia G. Chong, Blanca R. Cendejas, and Allison Brooke Bivens

South Florida State College honored eight graduates of its Dental Hygiene program in a traditional pinning ceremony in the SFSC University Center Auditorium on April 29. The graduates had just completed their Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene (AS) degree program.

Receiving their pins were Nikki Atterberry, Allison Brooke Bivens, Blanca R. Cendejas, Sofia G. Chong, Nancy Jaramillo, Shelby Lynn Lambert, Maria Guadalupe Ruiz, and Janet Velasco.

Keynote speaker Norine Dowd, a dental hygienist with 28 years of experience and an adjunct instructor at SFSC, congratulated the graduates for their commitment to academic success and offered them words of wisdom.

Dowd said that the dental hygiene pinning symbolizes the readiness to care for the community in a professional manner. She asked that when the graduates wear their pins, to remember the three components of their dental hygiene oath: to care, to advocate, and to lead. “In other words, you are now a care provider to your patients, an advocate for your clients, and a leader in any setting you might find yourself.”

Dowd explained, “You’re armed with one of the most important tools needed to forge your path ahead. It’s not the diploma or the pin itself that counts, it’s about what you’ve learned along the way and what you do with the education you’ve gotten in your journey to graduation today. Seize this opportunity to go forward and accept your mission of caring, advocating, and leading.”

During the ceremony, graduates were presented their dental hygiene pins by Dr. Deborah Milliken, chair of SFSC’s Dental Education program.

Atterberry received an award for highest grade point average (GPA) of the class. Nancy Jaramillo was presented the Community Service Award. According to Dr. Milliken, “The Community Service Award goes to a student who has an admirable enthusiasm for patient care.  The student seizes every opportunity to help others.  She is professional in her approach to each patient, and exhibits the qualities of kindness and understanding of each patient’s situation.  She exemplifies each aspect of the dental hygiene oath in every way.”

“Dental hygiene pinning is a time-honored tradition that reflects the study and skills required to earn the pin,” Dr. Milliken said. “The Class of 2016 is an excellent example of success in both—technical skill and knowledge in the field.  We are so pleased to award the pins to these great clinicians.”

Upon completing the Dental Hygiene program, graduates become dental hygienists by passing the National Dental Hygiene Board Examination and the Florida State Clinical Licensure Examination. They can, then, work alongside a dentist as a member of a dental health care team.

For more information on SFSC’s Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene program, call 863-784-7131.