TSTC Dental Hygiene student Miranda Gonzalez (left) visits with Lillian Adame Nelson, a dentist at Los Ebanos Family Dentistry in Brownsville, at the recent dental hygienist networking event.

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Dental Hygiene program recently hosted its inaugural dental hygienist networking event in collaboration with San Antonio-based Patterson Dental Supply.

The event was held April 4 at SMOKE: Texas BBQ and Watering Hole in Harlingen, where more than 20 graduating TSTC Dental Hygiene students networked with representatives from about a dozen dental offices and related businesses.

The representatives described the qualifications they are looking for in potential candidates for employment. They also talked about company culture and job benefits.

“This networking event turned out to be a great success,” said Raquel Rico, TSTC’s Dental Hygiene program director. “Their interactions with dental industry representatives demonstrated they’re ready to start working.”

Jon-Paul Sourdellia, equipment and CAD/CAM specialist for Patterson Dental, said TSTC is an example of the partnerships that Patterson Dental fosters.

TSTC’s Dental Hygiene program does an excellent job in providing high-paying professional opportunities for its students,” he said. “There is no doubt the program has a positive impact on the RGV, and we’ll continue to support them. Graduates need jobs, and dental offices need hygienists. So we decided to bring them together in a casual way so they can network”

Lillian Adame Nelson, a dentist for Los Ebanos Family Dentistry in Brownsville, said TSTC’s Dental Hygiene program is producing quality dental hygienists.

“I am seeking graduates who demonstrate they want to learn,” she said. “I am looking to find that they are knowledgeable, proficient in their skills and have the confidence to communicate. As for my dental office, what makes the work culture exciting is that I have an excellent team who helps each other out. The first-semester Dental Hygiene students visit my clinic two days per week and witness firsthand what happens in a dental environment.”

B. Octavio Elizondo, dentist for Howdy Dental in San Benito, said his clinic has hired graduates from TSTC.

“The environment was perfect for me to get to know the students,” he said. “My private practice is easygoing and has six employees. I believe that environment definitely helps out a dental hygienist who is beginning their career. That allows them to gain great experience in the field.”

Michele Fawcett, consumables specialist for Dentsply Sirona, said the event created a great energy.

“As a manufacturer representative, I visit doctors’ offices every single week, and they are always seeking dental hygienists,” she said. “I received a call from a dentist during the event, and I said that I just met some upcoming graduating students from TSTC who will be searching for a job.”

Miranda Gonzalez, of Santa Rosa, is studying for an Associate of Applied Science degree in Dental Hygiene. She conversed with some dental representatives at the event.

“Each dentist expressed information about the job opportunities that are available and their services,” she said. “Dr. Nelson’s clinic appealed to me because I shadowed two dental hygienists during my clinicals. Their work culture creates a nice setting, and to me that demonstrates her employees have close communications.”

William Torres, of Harlingen, is also studying for an Associate of Applied Science degree in the program.

“The occasion helped me and my classmates get our names out there because we graduate next month. Some questions that I asked the dentists were, ‘What is the patient count?’ and ‘What is a normal day at your business?’ It’s just a matter of time to find out which company will hire us.”

For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

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