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Dress for Success - Ashley Cuacuamoxtla

Ashley is a full-time student in the dental hygiene program at Ivy Tech Community College at the South Bend campus.

Tell us about your journey to Ivy Tech.

Prior to attending Ivy Tech, I was a high school senior enrolled in the Dental Health Careers Program at the Elkhart Area Career Center. During that time, I was earning college credits through Ivy Tech while simultaneously attending my regular high school.

While enrolled in the Elkhart Area Career Center, the program’s curriculum taught dental assisting skills that are utilized in a general dental office. At that time, I also competed in a dental assisting competition through Skills USA, a national organization that promotes career and technical education in order to improve the workforce in America. The first stage of the competition was regionals, in which the top five competitors advance to the state level. In the state level, I competed with other competitors from the other Indiana regional districts. At the end of this competition, I won the gold medal and title of first place winner. Additionally, I was awarded a scholarship to Ivy Tech that entitled me to a free full year of tuition. The final stage of the competition was the national level in which I represented the state of Indiana in the area of dental assisting and placed ninth in the nation.

Why are you pursuing a career in dental hygiene?

My education from the Elkhart Area Career Center was truly the stepping stone to where I am today. I had decided to pursue dental hygiene instead of dental assisting because my passion is truly in providing preventive services instead of restorative services. While dental hygiene is different from dental assisting, the terminology that is used is the same, and having some background knowledge has helped me in aspects of the dental hygiene program. There have been some challenging days, but I am persevering and trying to take it all one day at a time. The field of dentistry is my passion and I know that it will all be worthwhile in the end.

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