Honoring our dental hygienists

Laurie Sarkinen

The United States celebrates National Dental Hygiene month in October, honoring the dental hygienists who care for our teeth and promote healthy habits throughout our lives. At the School of Dentistry, we are proud to educate learners who are prepared intellectually, technically and ethically to meet the oral health care needs and challenges of the future.

As part of our dedication to excellence in education and practice, the School of Dentistry recently implemented a guaranteed admission program that allows prospective students to apply for admission into the University of Minnesota as first-years while also applying to study at the School of Dentistry. This allows students to complete their prerequisite year at the University of Minnesota with the knowledge that they will begin their dental hygiene studies in their second year, without the need for a second application process.

This year, the first class of guaranteed admittees began their dental hygiene studies with the class of 2023. Laurie Sarkinen is one of those students. We spoke with her to learn more about her experience as a dental hygienist and as a guaranteed admittance student.

Why did you choose to study at the University of Minnesota through the guaranteed admission program?

I joined the University of Minnesota through the guaranteed admission program because it is a streamline way to pursue my degree at a reputable top-ranked college. The dental hygiene program at the U of M sparked my interest because it is one of few that are associated with a dental school. The University of Minnesota School of Dentistry offers interdisciplinary learning, giving us a robust education experience. Through this accelerated program, I will be able to graduate with my Bachelors of Science in Dental Hygiene in three years.

Why did you choose dental hygiene?

Dental Hygiene excites me because it is a people-oriented atmosphere. Interacting with and helping others has always been a passion of mine. In the past, I have always had compassionate hygienists care for me and make me comfortable. Experiencing this high quality care has made me want to give back to the community in the same way.

What do you think people should know about dental hygiene?

I want others to know how important oral health is! Good oral health translates into good health overall.