Dental Hygiene Students & Keynote Speaker

Front row (left to right): Tonimarie Hutchinson, Bonita Gonzales, Ms. Rhoda Kublickis (keynote speaker), Cayla Dixon, and Samantha Moore. Back Row: Dallas Carlisle, Emily Pickles, Heidi Mortimer, Joshua Quellette, and Jamela McFadden.

Nine graduates of South Florida State College’s Dental Hygiene program were honored in a traditional pinning ceremony on May 6 in the SFSC University Center Auditorium, Highlands Campus. The graduates were Dallas Carlisle, Caylah Dixon, Bonita Gonzalez, Tonimarie Hutchinson, Jamela McFadden, Samantha Moore, Heidi Mortimer, Joshua Ouellette, and Emily Pickles.

Keynote speaker, Ms. Rhoda Kublickis, president of the Florida Dental Hygiene Association (FDHA), complimented the students on their commitment to the field of dentistry and expressed how proud she is of the graduates.

“Job prospects continue to grow for the future of dental hygienists,” Kublickis said. “The Center for Disease Control (CDC) had added oral health as number eight to the list of leading health indicators along with mental health, nutrition, physical activity, and obesity. Think of the opportunities you have as dental hygienists outside the clinical setting such as prevention specialist or oral health coaches in diabetic or pregnancy centers. Each one of you can make a difference, do the right thing.”

“You may be graduating today, but know and understand your journey of life-long learning has just begun,” Kublickis said. “My parents continue to say that education and knowledge is the key to opening doors. Join me in diversifying dental hygiene by letting your passion, heart, and intuition guide you.”

During the ceremony, graduates accepted their dental hygiene pins from Dr. Deborah Milliken, chair of SFSC’s Dental Education program. Darlene Saccuzzo, dental education professor, then delivered the dental hygiene oath along with SFSC’s dental hygiene graduates.

“The SFSC dental hygiene program requires five semesters of rigorous study and practice to earn the knowledge and skills it takes to be a great dental hygienist,” Dr. Milliken said. “These students are perfect examples of the determination it takes to achieve that goal. We expect that any dentist who employs one of these graduating hygienists will get a jewel in their offices.”

“Because so many people have periodontal (gum) disease, dental hygiene is a pivotal profession. Dental hygiene is no longer considered just about how pretty teeth look when they are clean, it is about overall health, longevity, and quality of life. The dental hygienist’s job is to treat and educate patients about healthcare – for the mouth and the body.”

SFSC offers a two-year Associate in Science degree program in dental hygiene. Upon completing SFSC’s Dental Hygiene program successfully, graduates become dental hygienists by passing the National Dental Hygiene Board Examination and the Florida State Clinical Licensure Examination. SFSC also offers an 11-month occupational certificate program in dental assisting. Upon completing SFSC’s Dental Assisting program successfully, graduates can become Certified Dental Assistants (CDAs) by passing the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) exam and qualify for Expanded Functions Dental Assisting Certification as well as Orthodontic Assistant Certification.

For program entry requirements, visit http://www.southflorida.edu/current-students/degrees-programs/academics/dental-education. For more information, contact the SFSC Advising and Counseling Center at 863-784-7131.

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