SGA Spotlight: Her goal is ‘pearly white’ for everyone

The Student Government Association (SGA) wishes to highlight the accomplishments of students at HACC who take on extracurricular commitments while pursuing their education. Each month, we ask members of the HACC student community to share about their experiences at HACC in their own words. This month, we sat down with Meghan Cunningham, SMADHA dental hygiene club president.


What did you expect when you came to HACC?

When I first started thinking about my possible career options, I was a junior in high school. I was instantly interested in the dental field, so I asked my counselor how to get started. First, he introduced me to a vocational school for dental assisting. After that, I started looking at local colleges. I wanted to become more advanced with dental assisting and found out that HACC offered a Commission on Dental Accrediting accredited dental assisting program. So, I applied and graduated from the dental assisting program in 2018. After that, I worked full-time while also taking credits at HACC for the hygiene program as well. Finally, in the spring of 2020, I was accepted into the dental hygiene program. I had high expectations for each program. Especially in dental hygiene, the program is extremely thorough and offers so many opportunities to help the overall public health.

Have you had any particular positive experiences you can share?

My expectations have been met in every aspect as a student at HACC. I love the environment. In my time at HACC, my most positive experience has been the opportunity to be class president for my dental hygiene program. With this role, I have been able to motivate my class and the first years as well to stay involved in the program and to find ways to serve the community. I love being able to organize events and ideas to help serve those around us and to also become closer as a dental family.

Are there any specific individuals at HACC who have helped you succeed?

In my time at HACC, I have met a few individuals whom I look up to and strive to be like. First, Dr. Sarah Ostrander, who is the program director for dental hygiene. Her passion and thorough knowledge of the program and the field of dentistry has inspired me to continue reaching my goals and even consider teaching at HACC. Second, Ms. Sherie Tynes, who is an Associate Professor in the dental hygiene program. When I was in dental assisting, we had the pleasure of having Ms. Tynes teach us a lesson on a topic she was passionate about. Seeing how she talked about caring for patients, and her desire to educate, really pushed me to move further into hygiene. All my instructors in dental assisting and dental hygiene have helped me succeed.

What are your plans after HACC?

My plans for when I graduate are as follows: I plan to get a full-time job in a dental office within the area. I am not sure if I want to do private practice or a community health center. Then, I plan to pursue my bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene and work part-time as a clinic instructor at HACC.

Spotlight is an occasional column appearing in HawkEye Media and is a collaboration between SGA and HawkEye. Students featured have given their permission to appear in Spotlight.