Carrington College Blog

Irving Wohl Scholarship Awardee and Dental Hygiene program Student, McCall Smith’s, Journey to Success

December 5, 2023

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, and McCall Smith was looking for the shortest timeline between Dental Hygiene education and training and her dream job as a well-trained Dental Hygienist. Her search was arduous, but one Dental Hygiene program fit her primary need: No waitlist. Carrington College met that criterion…and more.


What was your Dental Hygiene program search like?

I had already applied to some other dental programs, but the wait lists were too long. Someone I knew who had gone to Carrington College’s Dental Hygiene program had positive things to say about their experience there and told me I could get into Carrington College’s Dental Hygiene program a lot sooner.

Everything I heard about Carrington College’s program sounded great. I could get in quicker and get into my career faster – which was a big plus. Wait lists elsewhere were 2-3 years.


What was your visit to Carrington College’s campus like?

I had an information session and got a packet that explained everything about the Dental Hygiene program and pricing. Then we had a tour of the facility and clinic. I enjoyed being able to see where we would be learning, the individual clinic chairs and bay areas for students. It was a nice clinical set-up and gave me a thorough, base understanding of what we would do.


Did you leave feeling confident that you could be successful in that Dental Hygiene program?

I had the feeling from the beginning that they really set us up for success. They gave us the tools we needed – and they provided us with an iPad®, (iPad is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries and regions.) with our books already on it. We had easy access to our classes that are all in one area.


Were there any surprises once you started your Dental Hygiene program?

I didn’t know that we would have a mentor for each student. Each mentor is a student ahead of us (in the Dental Hygiene program) that we can go to for advice, who tells us what they wish they’d done differently, how something worked out for them and just give us confidence and help as we go forward in the program. I will have the opportunity to be one as well and share advice with new students coming in.


What else did you not expect as a new student?

I was the recipient of the college’s Irving Wohl $1,000. Scholarship! When I enrolled, I applied for that scholarship by submitting an essay about “How a Dental Hygiene Degree prepares me to serve my community and improve the health of the public”.

Having worked for a non-profit, community service is important to me, and I wrote about how we (as Dental Hygienists) could help the community with our education. It was an honor to receive a scholarship that is dedicated to Mr. Wohl’s legacy and impact on the community.

(Note: Mr. Wohl is a decorated WWII hero who at 105 years old has been coming to Carrington College’s Dental Assisting/Dental Hygiene program lab every year around his birthday to have his teeth cleaned. Carrington College’s Dental Scholarship Committee established this award to honor his recognized heroism and his support of Carrington College’s Dental programs’ students.)


Was student life difficult?

It can be challenging, but once you get a grasp on scheduling when assignments are due, upcoming tests and keeping an organized time schedule, things get easier. They do a great job of giving us a syllabus, but it’s still easy to put things off.

Classmate support has been a really great thing in the program. And we have a lot more time ahead to spend together and get to know and help each other.


What is your advice to new students?

There’s a lot of information you’re not used to, so make sure you make time to study and reinforce all those things you’re learning because that establishes a good base for the program. It’s ok to make mistakes, just try again and keep moving forward.


Were your teachers there for you?

I appreciate all of my instructors and know they do a lot of preparation behind the scenes to help us succeed. In the clinic our instructors go around and ask us individually if we have what we need. I didn’t feel like I needed one-on-one help in the classroom setting that first semester, but I did in the clinic.

Instructors were knowledgeable and very prepared. They had been out in the field so had real world experience as well as what was in the books. It was nice to get insight into their actual experiences.


What kind of support did you have at home?

I am a full-time student, but I was really overwhelmed at first. My husband, Jace, has been really supportive. He helps me study at home by quizzing me – with flash cards. He helps out with the dishes, laundry and other household tasks and tells me to just keep going forward, pushing ahead. He reminds me of my goals, and it’s been great to have him as a support.

That is something Carrington College focuses on in the beginning: find a support system; family, friends. They stress the importance of having people in your corner.


What is one of your favorite moments as a Dental Hygiene student?

Having completed this first semester gives me a little confidence boost. I can do this! Starting out it’s all very daunting, but then doing well keeps you moving forward.

At the end of the first semester, we put together all the steps and skills we learned to process our first official patient appointment at the clinic. My mom was my patient, and I enjoyed being able to have her come in.


Where do you find inspiration to push forward?

My parents are both in education and are examples of working hard at the things they do. Having worked in non-profit and being able to see the disparity of dental care, I think of all the people I’ll be able to serve and whose lives I can improve with dental treatments and dental health education. Helping my community is always in my mind.

And, to think I’d still be on a wait list if I hadn’t started Carrington College’s Dental Hygiene program! That thought keeps me looking forward, too.


How will a career in the dental field further your life vision?

Another reason I chose Dental Hygiene is it’s a great job to have and be a mom. I want to have kids, a great career and make a good income. Getting there and helping support my family financially – that’s kind of a big thing.


What is your Career Vision?

My goal right now is to use the knowledge I will gain over these next couple of years and work right out of school to get experience in the field. I am also fascinated by the role of Registered Dental Hygienist in Myofunctional Therapy.

Dental Hygienists have to have hours of continuing education and I appreciate that I can keep learning and improving skills. I’ll always want to keep studying and progressing.


*Student loans, grants, and scholarships are available for those who qualify.


Request Information

Step 1 of 2

* Required Field

We’re hiring at Carrington

See job openings