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Class of 2021 Graduate Kaitlyn Rushing Receives A Prestigious Scholarship For Her Dental Hygiene Studies

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Class of 2021 Graduate Kaitlyn Rushing Receives A Prestigious Scholarship For Her Dental Hygiene Studies

Recent Rio Salado College graduate Kaitlyn Rushing found more than her future vocation in the Dental Hygiene program. During her time at Rio Salado, Rushing found a supportive community of classmates and faculty that helped her through a trying time as she pursued her education during a pandemic.

Rushing enrolled in Rio's accelerated Dental Hygiene program in the fall of 2019. The 18-month program originally had her set to graduate in December 2020, but the program was delayed due to COVID-19. Dental students like Rushing were able to press-on and continue their education through lectures on Zoom, but had to wait a few months before it was safe enough to resume doing in-person clinicals.

Rushing chose Rio because of how close the school was to her and found the prospect of an accelerated program with affordable tuition to be very appealing. Although it was the convenience that drew her in, the family-like atmosphere of the program is what Rushing cherishes the most about her time at Rio Salado. "The faculty were so willing to go out of their way for the students," Rushing said. "It meant a lot to be surrounded by faculty who care and want you to succeed."

Rushing was recently awarded a prestigious scholarship. Each year up to 52 students across the country are awarded the New Century Workforce Scholarship. Sponsored by the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and the Coca-Cola Scholarship Foundation, these scholarships recognize the outstanding efforts of workforce-bound students nationwide. Rushing is one of this year’s 2021 New Century recipients.

While the 2021 New Century Workforce Scholarship is the latest feather in her cap, Rushing has also received a Proficiency Award from the Western Society of Periodontology—an honor awarded to students with the highest grade in the periodontology course. An active volunteer in both PTK and the Honors program, Rushing works to raise awareness about good oral health in the community by creating & sharing lesson plans to elementary school students and hosting information booths at outdoor events. 

Having completed the National Board exam and required CPR certification, Rushing is currently waiting on her license. The Rio Salado graduate is eager to enter the workforce as a Dental Hygienist and has already applied to several dental offices.

When asked what advice she’d give anyone preparing to enter the program, Kaitlyn Rushing stressed the importance of a strong support network. She had mentally prepared herself for entering the accelerated program but had no idea it would be as difficult as it was. For Rushing, the support of her instructors and her peers was the key to success.

"Just know you can lean on your classmates for support," Rushing said. "You'll make friends and help each other along the way. You'll grow together and make memories. It ended up being a better experience than I ever could have imagined."

For more information about Rio’s Dental programs, check out this page.

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