On April 14, 15 new dental professionals, who will devote their careers to caring for the smiles of others, were wearing some pretty impressive smiles of their own. Family, friends, and faculty gathered at the Goodwin College auditorium in East Hartford to honor the Dental Hygiene class of 2016, the first class to graduate from the program.
“It seems like just weeks ago that the equipment was being delivered to 403 Main Street,” said Goodwin’s president, Mark Scheinberg, referring to the building that houses the program’s classrooms and labs as well as the dental hygiene clinic where the students provided free dental care to members of the local community.
“You are the inaugural class of this program,” he continued. “We are grateful for the faith you placed in us, and we congratulate you for having the determination it took to be the first to cross the finish line.”
Dental Hygienist Program director Carmen Hufcut offered some key advice to her students: “Keep calm, speak up, empathize, educate yourself, and give a little extra every day. It’s the patients that matter, and they are what it will make your career a success.”
She also reminded the audience that the students had learned the value of being part of the community. “On top of a very rigorous academic program, these students have completed over 150 community enrichment hours as well as more than 600 clinical hours, providing free dental care, patient education, and services to the Hartford community. They should be should be proud of all that they have accomplished.”
Individual awards were announced to recognize particular achievement in the course of study: Lisa Babella (Student Total Achievement Recognition Award); Patricia Hall (Connecticut Dental Hygiene Association Award); Katharine Hollis (Golden Scaler Award); Shelby Taylor (Goodwin College Dental Hygiene Program Academic Excellence Award); Sandra Gregory (Achievement Award); and Elizabeth Petrucci (Legacy Award).
The graduates included Lisa Babella (class president), Elvalynn Fletcher, Sandra Gregory, Patricia Hall, Katharine Hollis, Leslie Jackson, Nicole Lazine, Jennifer Nguyen, Sandy Nguyen, Elizabeth Petrucci, Tiana Spada, Katlynn Sullivan, Nicole Summa, Shelby Taylor, and Alisha Tyman. After receiving their individual silver pins, the graduates assembled to recite the oath of the dental hygiene profession. A reception hosted by the Dental Hygienist School followed as the graduates, their families, and their instructors gathered to celebrate their professional milestone.
Goodwin College is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin College was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.