Marissa Hicks, Dental Hygiene Student
Marissa Hicks, 24, will soon receive her Associate of Applied Science Degree in Dental Hygiene. Although Virginia Western Community College (VWCC) will confer the degree in May, she has completed most of her academic training at Lord Fairfax Community College (LFCC). LFCC provides all clinical rotations at the Middletown campus while most lectures are distanced from VWCC. LFCC has a state of the art dental hygiene clinic with 10 workstations, two radiograph (x-ray) rooms, and a reception area for patients in Alson Smith Hall. This joint venture has produced hundreds of well-trained dental hygienists in our community.
Marissa is the fourth member of her family to attend LFCC. Her mother, a registered nurse; her brother, a businessman at Boeing; and her sister, a surgical tech at Winchester Eye Surgery Center were all students at LFCC. Hicks said, “Both my mother and I had Professor Ramon Selove for Anatomy and Physiology.” Her youngest brother, who is 17 years old, is considering the Associate Degree with an Engineering Specialization at the college.
Before deciding on the dental hygiene field, Hicks studied cosmetology and received an Associate of Applied Science at LFCC. “It took me a little while to find the right fit. As a dental hygienist, I can make a good living and work a part-time or full-time schedule if I want.”
Right now, Hicks and 16 of her fellow classmates are readying for written and clinical boards, which will be taken in April. Those who pass the boards will receive notification by July 1 and at that time, become Registered Dental Hygienists.
During the five-semester program at LFCC, each student is responsible for finding patients to treat. Hicks solicited many of her family members and co-workers at Ruby Tuesdays as practice patients. “I remember the first time I polished a patient’s teeth, it took me an hour. Now I can do it in 15 minutes,” she said.
The curriculum is pretty rigorous and there is a fair amount of lecture as well as clinical work. Hicks said, “Most of us (classmates) don’t have a social life. You have to be organized, committed to completing the work, and have a passion to succeed.” She carried her planner, notes, and flash cards everywhere she went.
The 2016 graduating class is all female, ranging in age from 19-43. The cohort has been together for almost two years. “Sometimes it hard to believe how far we’ve come. I think we’re all ready for the real world, but a little scared that we won’t have Professors Southerly and Gill close by to answer our questions,” said Hicks with a smile.
Hicks is a resident of Stephens City, VA. She has a wedding planned for October 2016.