When Mariah Woodward (SSU 2006) was going through the Dental Hygiene program on campus, she always knew one day she wanted to return to teach in her field. In 2009, she did just that by becoming an adjunct faculty member and then becoming a full-time professor in 2015.
"Barb Duncan was one of my professors when I went through the program," she said. "She was very invested in her students and I always told her that one day I wanted to do her job. When Barb retired, it just worked out that I was hired on to replace the position."
Woodward splits her time with students between the classroom and the Dental Clinic, taking the time to get to know each of her students in the program.
"It's important to me that these students see me as someone they can come to," said Woodward. "I have the opportunity to share with them that I was once them, going through the same program. So it helps build that relationship and allows me the opportunity to see how to help them succeed."
As part of a Dental Clinic serving the immediate tri-state area, the Dental Hygiene program allows students the opportunity to work with many different patients and different field experiences.
"Our graduates see more hours in the clinic than most other universities," said Woodward. "That means they have more time with patients, more time developing their skills, and more time becoming better dental hygienists."
This fall, the Dental Hygiene program will be hosting their annual Alumni Day on October 12, during Homecoming Weekend. The event offers alumni the opportunity to earn part of their continuing education hours on campus while meeting with current students and connecting with past friends and professors.
"Alumni Day is one of my favorite days," said Woodward, who presented at last year's event. "It gives alumni the opportunity to see this area again, while also supporting the future of the program and its growth."
More information on Dental Hygiene Alumni Day is available at ssuhomecoming.com along with a full schedule of the weekend's activities.
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Alumni Association Awards | April 2019