WCU Alumni Spotlight: Kevin Lopez, BSDH ’19

What brought you to WCU as a student?

I was intrigued that the school offered so many different programs other than dental hygiene and emphasized interprofessional education. The school prides itself on making sure its students from every program know how to work together in IPE to provide care for patients. Also, it doesn’t hurt that Disneyland was right around the corner. Knowing that I would be able to see the Matterhorn during the afternoon clinic and fireworks in the evening was the cherry on top! 

What is the most important thing you learned while you were at WCU?

It definitely has to be that WCU taught me how to educate patients about the oral and systemic health connection. So many out there are not aware that essentially “the mouth is the mirror to the body”. WCU prepared me to educate patients and other health care professionals and to learn from them as well.

What was your most memorable experience at WCU and what did you take away from your time at WCU?

My most memorable experience was participating in outreach at Catalina Island! Promoting oral health education and oral hygiene instruction to the students on the island and seeing how grateful they were was humbling. As I was leaving the island with my classmates, the students were running up to thank us for our time there. It made me realize patients want to learn- you just have to be willing to teach.

If you could give one word of advice to our WCU students, what would it be?

Communicate. I think once students are in the nit and grit of the challenging courses they get overwhelmed and pull back in a way due to stress. The DH faculty is all about open communication and they want to help you in any way possible. Communicate when you’re having a hard time with a learning objective, or even in life. During one term, three special people in my life died within three weeks from each other. I confessed to the staff what I was going through and they provided constant emotional support and took extra time to help me review school material I couldn’t understand due to the emotional stress. They showed me they not only care about school and this was proof they wanted me to succeed. They go above and beyond for you when you need them- you just have to communicate.

How are you involved with WCU currently?

I participate both through the WCU Alumni Network and the Dental Hygiene program. I’ve had the opportunity to speak about post-grad life to senior DH students and be involved in the NorCal Alumni events. I may start the master’s in health administration program soon… who knows! I’m glad WCU has given me the platform to participate in various ways. I really enjoyed my time in the program.

What does #WCUproud mean to you?

It means representation. It represents the hard work, the long hours of studying, the board reviews, the mock exams, the investment that I put into getting my degree and license. It represents all the memories I got to experience with my cohort, my schoolmates, and the faculty at WCU. It also means I represent the amount of heart and dedication the faculty puts into their teaching careers. I am proud to represent them through being #WCUproud.

Why do you think it’s important for our alumni to stay involved with their alma mater — whether by attending an alumni event, volunteering their time or giving to the alumni scholarship fund?

It’s incredibly important to stay involved on any platform in the alumni network because it could provide an opportunity that you were looking for to progress in your career. It could be a networking opportunity or even an exposure opportunity! It is also a great, inexpensive way to show your appreciation for how much you’ve prospered after graduating.

Would you like to share a positive message with current dental hygiene students?

The Dental Hygiene program at WCU truly helps to prepare you, not only to pass the boards, but helps you to succeed in your future dental hygiene career. With your knowledge and skills, you would definitely stand out as one of the many amazing clinicians providing oral health care. Every instructor that you will meet wants nothing more but to have exemplary, caring dental hygienists out in the field to take their place in clinical practice as they continue to teach. So trust that they’re looking out for you. I can’t wait to work with you guys in the future and see us being the front runners in preventive healthcare. You’ve chosen well to be at WCU!

WCU provides career guidance and assistance but cannot guarantee employment. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs or position of the school or of any instructor or student.