KCC Stories: Dental Hygiene student Elizabeth Leal is turning her passion into a career

KCC Dental Hygiene student Elizabeth Leal.

Many children dread going to the dentist. However, that wasn’t the case for Elizabeth Leal, who couldn’t get enough when she was younger and looked forward to each experience.

Now 25, Leal is a first-year student in Kellogg Community College’s Dental Hygiene Program, where she is using that love and passion to pursue a career in dentistry.

Leal, of Coldwater, chose KCC’s program because it’s closer to her home than other programs and offers a faster-track two-year program. Initially she considered becoming a teacher, and completed her prerequisite classes at KCC’s Grahl Center campus in Coldwater before eventually deciding to join the Dental Hygiene Program.

“When I was a little girl I loved going to the dentist, but I honestly thought that it would be too hard for me to pursue and wasn’t in my cards,” Leal said. “KCC made it a reality that I can do this without having to go into debt.”

One of Leal’s biggest concerns was going away from home to a university and not being able to work, she said, which would have been an issue as she supports herself financially.

Leal balances her studies as a Dental Hygiene student with work as a dentist assistant and nanny. With a hectic workload, she said she appreciates the family-like atmosphere in the Dental Hygiene Program.

“There’s no man left behind. We see each other all the time, sometimes more than we see our own family,” Leal said. “We’re all in the same boat and here to help each other.”

Leal’s options for the future are wide open. She’d love to go into pediatric dentistry and work with kids, she said, or maybe even work at a prison, as she’s had some experience job shadowing and doing dental work on inmates in the past. There’s also the possibility of continuing her education beyond the hygienist level to become a full-fledged dentist, possibly opening her own private practice.

“It doesn’t matter who I work on,” Leal said. “I love it.”

Study Dental Hygiene at KCC

Applications for KCC’s 2018-19 Dental Hygiene Program are available now – the deadline to apply is March 1! Visit our Dental Hygiene Admissions Web page for the application and more information.

What’s Your KCC Story?

What’s your KCC story? Share it on social media using the hashtag #KCCstory or send it to us via the online form linked from www.kellogg.edu/kccstories.