First Dental Hygienist Students to Graduate from Blackhawk

May 10, 2024


Spring 2024 Dental Hygienist Graduating Class

Front row: Kristen Ziegler (Lead Dental Assistant Instructor), Gracie Hill, Karson Bailey, Dr. Mary Hirsch (Dental Clinic Dentist). Middle row: Morganne Krizan (Adjunct Instructor), Mackenzie Byrne, Morgan Berg, Nancy Espana, Lisa Johnson (Dental Hygienist Program Director). Back row: Kayla Marks (Instructor), Brittany Oren, Miranda Slaback, Haley Dunphy, Lisa Anderson, Sara Gibson, Nicole Murray (Adjunct Instructor).

The inaugural class of Blackhawk Technical College’s Dental Hygienist program celebrated the completion of their degree on Friday morning with a pinning ceremony at Central Campus held alongside Dental Assistant graduates. The event marked the culmination of hard work for both groups, who also will participate in the upcoming Blackhawk Commencement on May 18.

“This is a momentous occasion,” said Lisa Johnson, Dental Hygienist program director. “Every student in our inaugural class took a chance on a new program with no track record, no history … You embraced my vision for this program and helped me make it better.”

The Dental Hygienist program was launched by Blackhawk Technical College in the fall of 2022 in response to a growing need for skilled professionals in oral health care, particularly in the roles of dental hygienists and dental assistants. The program offers an associate degree, enabling graduates to pursue licensure as dental hygienists. Students in the program also help run Blackhawk’s Dental Clinic, which is open to community members at a reduced cost.

After completion of the program, dental hygienist graduates are required to successfully complete comprehensive written and clinical examinations given under the direction of the State Dentistry Examining Board, the American Dental Association's Joint Commission.

Of the 10 Dental Hygienist students, two were award recipients during the pinning:

  • Nancy Espana was the recipient of the Dental Hygienist Rising Star Award, which is given to the student who has demonstrated exceptional growth throughout the program.
  • Brittany Oren was given the Golden Scaler Award, which is given to a student who has demonstrated remarkable skill and talent throughout the program.

Also, Lisa Anderson was a recipient of a scholarship from the Wisconsin Hospital Association.

Twelve graduates in Blackhawk’s Dental Assistant program also celebrated the completion of their degree during the pinning ceremony.

“The future you have been planning for is here. We are so lucky to be in a profession where every day at work, we have the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life,” said Kristin Ziegler, Dental Assistant Instructor.

Congratulations to the following Dental Hygienist graduates:

  • Lisa Anderson
  • Karson Bailey
  • Morgan Berg
  • Mackenzie Byrne
  • Haley Dunphy
  • Nancy Espana
  • Sara Gibson
  • Gracie Hill
  • Brittany Oren
  • Miranda Slaback

Congratulations to the following Dental Assistant graduates:

  • Carissa Carney
  • Kylie Cole
  • Regina Gillen
  • Zaria Holbrook
  • Madyson Mitchell
  • Melody Ramirez
  • Riley Runkel
  • Jessica Seuser
  • Jenna Shinkus
  • Kyla Stacy
  • Julianna Verduzco
  • Tove Westermeyer


Spring 2024 Dental Assistant Graduating Class

Front row: Julianna Verduzco, Kylie Cole, Madyson Mitchell, Riley Runkel, Tove Westermeyer. Middle row: Morganne Krizan (Adjunct Instructor), Melody Ramirez, Jessica Seuser, Zaria Holbrook, Kristen Ziegler (Lead Dental Assistant Instructor), Lisa Johnson (Dental Hygienist Program Director). Back row: Kayla Marks (Instructor), Kyla Stacy, Jenna Shinkus, Carissa Carney, Regina Gillen.

Previous Article Blackhawk Nursing Graduates Honored in Pinning Ceremony
Next Article Graduating Radiography Students Recognized in Pinning Ceremony
© 2024, Blackhawk Technical College. All rights reserved.