Irem Culhaci first heard about West Coast University's dental hygiene program from her mom's friends.
"They were dental hygienists and they highly recommended the program," Culhaci said after her cohort's April pinning ceremony.
After doing some research of her own, Culhaci said she was drawn to the bachelor of science in dental hygiene program's accelerated schedule and decided to apply. Now, less than three years later, she received her degree with her 23 classmates and Culhaci was the one doing the recommending.
“It goes by very quickly, so some people may get intimidated by how fast-paced it is, but I can promise that you will survive. Put in the effort," she said. "Your professors are there to support you emotionally — that’s how I made it alive — so if you have an urge to go for dental hygiene, I highly recommend West Coast University for that program."
Culhaci said she especially liked the program's fourth-floor clinic that provides no-cost dental hygiene services to the community. Besides being able to work side-by-side with her professors, Culhaci said volunteering at WCU's annual Smile Camp event helped provid invaluable preparation for her future career.
"We were in clinic almost every day for about three to six hours and we worked hands-on there," she said. "That’s where I would say that I gained the majority of my experience."
Jose Pineda II, who earned the cohort's community service award, advised future WCU dental hygiene students to work hard and dedicate their time and efforts to their schoolwork.
“Everybody here helped each other out and that’s what I believe is important to be successful," Pineda said. “My advice is to work very hard, stay dedicated and keep your eyes on the prize. With help from everybody you can achieve anything you want to."