CBC dental hygiene student selected as student delegate for the American Dental Hygiene Association
Brittany Johnson, a second year dental hygiene student from Laredo was selected to represent the Coastal Bend College (CBC) Dental Hygiene Program as one of the 2015-2016 Student Delegates for the American Dental Hygiene Association (ADHA). There are 12 recognized districts, with a total of 12 student delegates representing the organization within the United States. As a district IX representative, she represented dental hygiene students from Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. She is the daughter of Tracy Ralph and Sussy Johnson.
It was her passion for the health field that led her to pursue an education in the dental field. As a high school student, she was able to get a head start on her educational goals through dual enrollment at Laredo Community College. Not only did she tackle both her high school studies and higher education studies simultaneously, but she was also able to attain a four-year scholarship to Texas A&M International University. She graduated from Texas A&M International University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology in May 2012 and set out to pursue her goal of becoming a dental hygienist.
“I consider myself fortunate to have been able to gain a deeper appreciation and understanding for this field of work because of my aunt, who currently handles her own practice in Mexico. She took me under her wing, and I was able to gain thorough insight and guidance by shadowing her work. I was also able to attain hands-on experience from my employment as an orthodontic assistant at a local practice in Laredo throughout my undergraduate studies,” Johnson said.
After obtaining her Bachelor’s degree, she decided it was time to gain some hands-on experience in her field of studies. She opted to enter the workforce as an orthodontic assistant for a local practice. During her four years as an assistant, she had the privilege of working with some of the most talented orthodontists.
She decided to take the next step and applied and was accepted into CBC’s Dental Hygiene Program, a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) accredited program. The campus provides her with close proximity to her family and she found the small-town atmosphere to be quite enjoyable.
Johnson’s decision to pursue a dental hygiene career is a smart one—the United States (U.S.) Department of Labor predicts a 33% increase in the dental hygienist field through the year 2022. For Johnson, this means there won’t be a shortage of jobs for her to choose from when she graduates in 2016. The U.S. Department of Labor data also suggests that dental hygiene graduates could expect to make about $57,920 in the Coastal Bend region straight out of college.
“I don’t believe in coincidence. There is a reason why I am at CBC,” Johnson said.
At the beginning of this year’s spring semester Johnson, along with some of her peers, attended a joint conference for the Texas Dental Hygienists’ Association Student Annual Session and the Texas Dental Hygiene Educators Association Annual Session in San Marcos, Texas. CBC Dental Hygiene students were given the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities, which included a mock voting session for Texas student delegates to the Texas Dental Hygienists’ Association (TDHA).
During the mock voting session, various groups of students were presented with information and/or issues that were currently happening in the dental hygiene field. Once they had time to review the information that was presented to them, students had to make a decision from the information. Although it was a mock voting session, students were made aware that their votes would represent all the dental hygiene students in the state.
Once all of the sessions were completed, first year students were encouraged to complete an application to be an ADHA Student Delegate for the 2015-2016 academic year. Applicants had to meet certain eligibility requirements, including being a first year student in a dental hygiene program, being a member of the ADHA, being in good academic standing, attaining a personal recommendation from the dental hygiene program director, and writing an essay about why he/she should be chosen as a student delegate.
Johnson managed to complete and submit her application within one week, all while studying for course exams and completing clinical hours. Two weeks later she received a phone call from the ADHA and was selected as a delegate.
“When I applied to be an ADHA District IX Student Delegate I stepped out of my comfort zone. I am usually shy and a bit conservative, but over the years I’ve learned to open up and expose myself to new experiences and opportunities.”
Johnson, along with the 11 other student delegates from the organization, participated in the 2015 Center for Lifelong Learning at the 92nd ADHA Annual Session in Nashville, Tennessee from June 17-23, 2015. Student delegates had the opportunity to network and interact with the other delegates while learning different facets of the dental hygiene profession.
The 2015-2016 school year is going to be an eventful and memorable one for Johnson. Not only is she going to be an ADHA Student Delegate, she has also been elected to serve as President of the CBC student chapter of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (SADHA).
“I am grateful for this opportunity, and it proves that hard work definitely pays off. I am one step closer to fulfilling my dream of working in the field of dentistry.”
The CBC Dental Hygiene Clinic and program are located in the James R. Dougherty, Jr. Building on the CBC Beeville campus located at 3800 Charco Rd in Beeville, Texas, 78102. Questions regarding dental services or program admittance can be directed to the CBC Dental Hygiene Department via telephone at (361) 354-2555.
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