Student News


2016-2017 PDHA Student Member Representative, Frank Kanak

Not too long ago I found myself unsuccessfully searching for a job after graduating from a technical school in Greensburg, PA. My first degree was for architectural drafting and design. After a bit of luck, I managed to obtain a job in Ohio, but had to move back home because the job was not the same as advertised. I knew that I had to jump back in the saddle and change my course as soon as possible.

Healthcare was always in the back of my mind – I just never thought it would be right for me at the time. I considered nursing, but I couldn’t really picture myself doing that for a career. It was when I was getting my teeth cleaned at my local dentist that it hit me. I could immediately picture myself being a dental hygienist. Going to the dentist and having my teeth cleaned never bothered me, and I never had a negative experience. I was able to see myself chairside providing care for patients. For the first time, I was finally excited about my future that I pictured. After a bit of research, I found Westmoreland County Community College and applied.

School was very tough at first. The world of anatomy and physiology was alien to me. I kept focused and worked hard to pass my pre-requisites and learn about the human body, as well as other fields likes psychology, chemistry and microbiology. With a great deal of hard work and dedication, it wasn’t long before I was walking into class for the first time as a dental hygiene student at WCCC.

I am truly honored that my peers chose me to represent them. It was very encouraging to listen to the table clinics and to see how much can be learned in such a short period of time. Seeing all of my fellow students’ work and accomplishments was very inspiring. I cannot wait to get to work and to learn all I can about our profession. As I prepare to jump into the student representative position, I am making a promise that I will work hard for all of you. Thanks again, and best of luck to my fellow dental hygiene students across PA!


 Elizabeth (Liz) Economus - 2015-16 PDHA Student Member Representative (2)

2015-16 PDHA Student Member Representative, Elizabeth (Liz) Economus

Figuring out what you want to do for the rest of your life is a really big decision and about 80 percent of college students change their majors at least once.  I was no exception.  Upon graduating high school, I headed to Indiana and started college with plans of becoming a teacher.  After one semester, I realized I would have a hard time finding a career, and made a change.  I came back to PA and decided to get involved in the dental field.

I did not know much about dentistry.  I discovered that Bradford School in Pittsburgh, PA had a dental program. Within the first couple weeks, I discovered the program was a CDA/EFDA program instead of what I wanted to do, which was hygiene.  However, I decided to continue because I had learned so much within those first couple weeks and I enjoyed what I was getting myself into.  I graduated sixteen months later in December 2013 with an associate degree and went on to receive my EFDA license along with my CDA credential.

I graduated with a few different job offers, and decided to accept an offer at a general practice in my small town.  I loved working as an assistant but knew I wanted more.  I have always wanted to do hygiene, and nothing was changing my mind nor stopping me.  While working for my boss, I started completing prerequisites for the hygiene program at Westmoreland County Community College. I had submitted my application, took my entrance exam, and was accepted to start the hygiene program in fall 2015.  After a year and a half, I left my workplace eager to begin my hygiene journey.  I had several people question my ability to succeed in school since I have two little boys.  I remember telling my boss, “When you want it bad enough, you just do it.”  I have learned so much over the small amount of time I have spent working.  I have had good days and bad days, but through it all, I remained excited about the dental field.  I have a passion for people, I love dentistry, and I want to spend my life caring for people and helping to meet their oral healthcare needs.

I am so grateful for this experience.  Thank you to all of my fellow hygiene students in Pennsylvania for allowing me this opportunity.  I look forward to keeping all of you informed and I assure you I will represent the student body well.



The Clark J. Hollister Award is presented by the Pennsylvania Dental Hygienists’ Association to a student in each of the dental hygiene schools in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a memorial to Dr. Clark J. Hollister. The award is given to a graduating student who has shown outstanding ability and achievement in Dental Health Education.

Dr. Hollister was responsible for the creation of the Dental Division within the Pennsylvania Department of Health. The present dental hygiene program in the public schools systems of Pennsylvania is a direct result of Dr. Hollister’s endeavors and foresight during the early years of dental hygiene in Pennsylvania.



Community College of Philadelphia – Kathryn Henkenius

Fortis Institute – Scranton – Lisa Krzywicki

Harcum – Devon D’Amico

Harrisburg Area Community College – Kenneth Lauer

Luzerne County Community College – Katie Brislin

Manor College – Rosa Montoya

Montgomery County Community College – Alexa Javier 

Northampton Community College –

Pennsylvania College of Technology – Rebekah Caretti

University of Pittsburgh – Emily K. Roberts

Westmoreland County Community College – Lindsay Takitch

WCCC Hollister 2017

________________________________WCCC Outstanding Student Award_____________________________________________


Community College of Philadelphia – Ivanna Belokrinitskaya

Fortis Institute – Erie – Amanda Fehlman

Fortis Institute – Scranton – Desiree Boylan

Harcum – Krysti Slusarski

Harrisburg Area Community College – Heather Bickel

Luzerne County Community College – Terie Oelke

Manor College – Chelsea Bourdon 

Montgomery County Community College – Olga Fazlyeva     

Northampton Community College – Melissa Trevezo

Pennsylvania College of Technology – Erica Houck

University of Pittsburgh – Stephanie Secoda

Westmoreland County Community College – Laura L. Reichert

2016 Hollister Fortis Erie




Allison Sedgwick, Community College of Philadelphia

Kristen Shankel, Fortis Institute – Erie

Marisa Duchnik, Fortis Institute – Scranton

Tara Albert, Harrisburg Area Community College

Sandra Nawrocki, Harcum College

Michele Macker, Luzerne County Community College

Leanne Giampi, Manor College

Sandra Deiley, Montgomery County Community College

Breanna Connell, Northampton Community College

Chelsea Wanner, Pennsylvania College of Technology

Holly Holliday, Westmoreland County Community College

Andrea Naplen, University of Pittsburgh


2015 Hollister Fortis Erie

2015 CCP Hollister Award



Ashley Tiernan, Community College of Philadelphia

Marissa Atherton, Fortis Institute – Erie

Rebecca Schultz, Fortis Institute – Scranton

Candice Dayley, Harrisburg Area Community College

Stephanie O’Leary, Harcum College

Stephanie Kimble, Luzerne County Community College

Katie Grisafi, Manor College

Bridget Pfeil, Montgomery County Community College

Maureen Burke, Northampton Community College

Claudia Naylor, Pennsylvania College of Technology

Farrah Keedy, Westmoreland County Community College

Victoria A. Bryan, University of Pittsburgh



Dental Expo: SADHA Club members at Harcum’s Dental Expo on Saturday, April 5, 2014.


photo 3-6
The 2014 PDHA President, Laura DeHennis (center) met with University of Pittsburgh students on Friday, March 28, 2014


Over Spring Break 2013, six Penn College of Technology students enrolled in the four-year dental hygiene: health policy and administration concentration went on a study-abroad trip to Managua, Nicaragua, to provide dental work to those who cannot afford such care. Rhonda J. Seebold, part-time instructor of dental hygiene, accompanied students Kathrine E. Dixon, of Houtzdale; Sara E. Larson, of South Williamsport; Brandie L. Pate, of McSherrystown; Helen K. Houdeshell, of Lansdale; Karlee A. Smith, of Mineral Point; and Kristan S. Delbo, of Marion Heights. A valuable learning experience, the seven-day trip presented students with a language barrier and a completely different environment than they are used to in the United States. With the help of Nicaraguan dentists, they provided cleanings, extractions and restorations for more than 150 children.

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