What's happening with dental hygiene students at Hawkeye Community College?

The dental hygiene students at Hawkeye Community College in Iowa share what they like about their program and their goals for the future.

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(Do you want your dental hygiene program highlighted, please contact Jackie Sanders, Sunstar’s Manager Professional Relations at jackie.sanders@us.sunstar.com.)

RDH Graduate and Sunstar provide this opportunity to learn more about the dental hygiene program and students of Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo, Iowa. Ms. Emily Boge RDH, MPA, is the Dental Administrative Chair for this dynamic program. If her name sounds familiar to you, then you know she is the creator of the American Eagle Boge 513. Emily is always working hard to improve our profession. This program has two full-time faculty and eight adjunct professors that help with the 20 first-year and 19 second-year students.

We asked Emily why she loved her students as well as, when she looked back at all her past students and graduates, what was one common characteristic that the most successful students shared? This was her reply:

“Because every single one tries so hard every single day, despite what might be going on outside the walls of this school. Today’s students have so much to juggle—and for that determination they need to be congratulated! Our most successful students all share the common trait of having a love for humankind. You cannot be in this profession without some sort of admiration for health and appreciation for the human spirit.”

We asked the students to tell us why they chose Hawkeye and what they believed would be their greatest reward for pursuing this career path. Their answers were amazing and too numerous for this publication. All of the students were passionate about their college, and showed true empathy and desire to help and serve their patients!

Kuddos to all of the Hawkeye students!

1. What is special about HCC, or why did you choose HCC?

  • “I think HCC is special because of how many advancements it has. When we went to our meeting in the fall at DMACC it was incredible to see how the speaker on ergonomics had so many great things to say about HCC. Some examples include: saddle chairs, loupes, brand of instruments we have, and many others. The dental hygiene program at HCC is designed to not only make a successful hygienist but to teach and enforce ergonomics to further our careers.”
  • “I chose Hawkeye Community College for dental hygiene because of the school, instructors, and dental clinic. When I was checking into different colleges that offered dental hygiene I came to tour Hawkeye and the dental clinic. I immediately fell in love with the location of the school because it reminded me of my home outside Iowa. I also fell in love with how friendly the staff, instructors, and students were. Everyone was so welcoming and talkative. I am blessed with some incredible dental hygiene instructors! The final and biggest reason of why I chose HCC was because of the dental clinic. I absolutely love working in our clinic, because it is so spacious and up to date with the equipment that we will be using in private practice. “
  • “For as long as I could remember, I've always wanted to pursue a career in the dental field. I remember a couple of years ago having a conversation with my current RDH about pursuing a career in dental hygiene, and she proceeded to tell me about what the position entails and how rewarding it is. So I asked her which college I should attend, and she recommended Hawkeye Community College. She continued to tell me about the program and how hands-on it is, that the instructors genuinely care about your success and really work with you until you understand the concepts. Considering my dental hygienist has done a great job over the years has proven to me that HCC will help me to become the best dental hygienist that I can be.”
  • I chose HCC because I heard that the hygiene program was one of the best in the states. It also is the closest for me from home. I am so happy I chose HCC because of the staff. The instructors are easygoing, and you can tell they actually want you to learn and be better.
  • Hawkeye Community College is special to me because they are really student focused. They make sure that they are able to give everyone special attention and exceptional resources. At HCC, they also put a huge emphasis on ergonomics and making sure that we will have a sustainable career by teaching us the best methods and giving us the best instruments and equipment. HCC sends its students out into the workforce with all the skills and techniques to be successful throughout a life-long career.

2. What do you think the greatest reward of being a dental hygienist will be?

  • The potential to make a change in someone’s life for the better. It’s rewarding hearing from patients how much they appreciate what dental hygienist do.
  • I think the greatest reward of being a dental hygienist will be being able to improve people’s oral health and educating them. I think it will be very rewarding having a job that I will love going to everyday because I get to do something I love doing while also helping people.
  • Not only will you be able to better the lives of your patients but you’ll also be able to better the lives of people in your personal life.
  • I think the biggest reward of being a dental hygienist for me will be building a relationship with each patient and seeing a difference with each recall appointment. I am also looking forward to earning the trust of my patients. A lot of patients are resistant to going to the dentist so my reward will be getting to earn the trust of those who have had a bad past experience and giving them a great experience with me time and time again. I will also enjoy getting to see patients for generations.
  • I truly think that the greatest reward of being a dental hygienist will be getting to go to work every day to help someone else. Most people don’t enjoy going to the dentist nor do they care about the real problems they could be having with their mouth. Most people think about going to the dentist to get their teeth cleaned and have a whiter, prettier smile. I think it’ll be very rewarding to actually guide them and physically help them through all the steps to ensure they get that white, pretty smile they want.
  • This career literally allows you to make everyone smile and improve their overall health! Whether it's getting to know your patients on a personal level or providing them the cosmetic look they need to boost their confidence, they'll be smiling.
  • I believe the most rewarding aspect of being a dental hygienist will be making a real impact on my patients’ lives and teaching them that through keeping the gateway to their body clean it will help keep the rest of their bodies running clean and be more functional as well.
  • I think the greatest reward to being a dental hygienist will be knowing that I have the ability to improve the patient’s overall health. Teaching them that we can learn a vast amount about their health in general just by looking at their mouth and possibly saving lives by connecting the dots as to what’s going on.
  • I think the greatest reward of being a dental hygienist will be that I will doing something that I truly enjoy while benefiting my community.
  • I believe the greatest reward for me as a hygienist will be being able to help people from all walks of life.


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