BLINN GRADUATES PROVIDE DENTAL CARE IN GUATEMALA

Blinn College’s Dental Hygiene Program is about much more than producing top-notch dentists – it’s also about serving others.

May graduates Shayla McClure (Bangs), Jessica Johnson (Liberty Hill) and Lyndie Vickrey (College Station) have taken that lesson to heart.

The trio returned earlier this month from a 10-day mission trip to Guatemala with Global Dental Relief, a nonprofit organization that provides free dental care to children across the world. The recent graduates provided free fillings, extractions, fluoride treatments and dental hygiene instruction to more than 500 children in just six days at a clinic in Santa Catarina Palopó, a village in southern Guatemala.

“It was a little overwhelming seeing so many patients between the three of us, but it was an amazing experience,” McClure said. “I loved that I was able to use what I’ve learned to help people who need it most.”

Blinn’s Dental Hygiene Program is known not only for its academic and technical rigor, but its commitment to community service. Each year dental hygiene students host Give Kids a Smile, an initiative of the American Dental Association that provides free dental services to qualifying local children. At their most recent Give Kids a Smile event, more than 50 Bryan-College Station children received cleanings, x-rays and sealants at no cost.

McClure said one of the most memorable moments on the trip came courtesy of a dental hygiene instructor from a college in San Diego.

“She told us that she hopes her students are half as competent as we are,” McClure said. “It really made us proud to be part of Blinn College and to have graduated from such a prestigious program.”

The former students funded the trip on their own with sponsorships from family, friends and local dentists.

“I really applaud the students for this,” said Wood, dental hygiene instructor. “They have really taken it to the next level.”

Blinn’s Division of Health Sciences, based at the Texas A&M Health Science Center, offers state- or nationally-accredited associate degree nursing, dental hygiene, emergency medical services, physical therapist assistant, radiologic technology, fire science, therapeutics manufacturing, veterinary technology and vocational nursing programs designed to train students for high-demand professions.

Registration is currently open for Blinn’s Summer II and Fall semesters. For enrollment information and to learn about financial aid opportunities, visit: www.blinn.edu.  Story and photo courtesy of Blinn College.

Shayla McClure

Blinn College Dental Hygiene Program graduate Shayla McClure and a young patient in Guatemalla.