Author: April Turner | Category: Final Words... | Dental Hygiene (M.S.) | November 24, 2015
Please tell me about yourself, why did you pick
UT Health Science Center, and your program.
I am a registered dental hygienist
living in Southern California. I have
practiced clinically for 25 years. I
teach radiology at West Coast University’s dental hygiene program in Anaheim,
California and was recently promoted to full time.
I decided to pursue a master’s degree in
order to further my career. I chose
UTHSCSA because it had a fully online Master of Science Dental Hygiene program which was appealing to
I had also heard great things about
the program and found it to be a great fit.
I decided to enroll in a MSDH program because I wanted to study topics
that interested me such as dental hygiene topics, research and education.
Please provide a few sentences summarizing your thesis.
What was the experience like for you?
I conducted a national survey of
dental hygiene students and faculty which asked them their preferences for and
use of a variety of teaching methods including lecture, collaborative
activities, technology and group work. I
found that dental hygiene faculty are implementing the teaching practices
suggested by experts on millennial learners however, student may not understand
the reason for new teaching methods and reported lower preferences for them.
It was a challenging but rewarding
experience. I had great support from my
thesis chair, Mary Jacks, and she walked me through the process step by step. I
couldn’t have done it without her.
Why are you passionate about your research
topic? How did you first become interested in it?
When I first started teaching, I was
learning a lot about the millennial learner and how best to teach them. I found it interesting since my children are
millennials. I also was interested in
whether faculty understand the millennial generation and are teaching them the
What was your best memory during graduate school
or what did you learn?
I enjoyed interacting with my
fellow students and faculty online. I
learned how to be a better writer which in turn has helped me help my students.
you pick a program online and what it was like? Did you enjoy it?
I picked an online program for
many reasons. I work full time and have
a family so I wanted flexibility with my time.
I felt an “on ground” class would not allow me to be flexible with study
and reading. I also wanted to get an
MSDH degree and there are no programs near me.
The program worked well with my schedule and I was able to plan my time
studying around work and family commitments.
How is an online program structured differently
than in person? What did you gain from it?
An online program requires
students to read material and understand it with less guidance from classmates
and faculty. There are no tests but
rather, many writing assignments and discussion boards to show
understanding. It helped me become a
Would you recommend an online program? Was it a
I would recommend an online
program. I found the MSDH program at
UTHSCSA a great experience. The faculty
are knowledgeable, approachable and easy to get a hold of. That makes all the difference since I
couldn’t walk into their office with questions!
My thesis has been submitted for publication with the Journal of Dental Education. I’m excited to see what happens next. I am continuing my career as a professor and am happy to have achieved this milestone.
Any advice for your fellow graduate students?
My best advice for any student is to take things one assignment at a time. In the beginning I would get overwhelmed by all I had to read, write and understand. As time went on, I learned to focus on the next task instead of looking many weeks ahead at the list of assignments due.
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