Working to Make People Smile: Devona Williams

Apr 30, 2024
Devona Williams

After pursing other career paths in health care, Devona Williams decided that becoming a dental hygienist was the right fit for her. But when looking at programs around her hometown of Pittsburgh, she found that they didn’t match her needs.

“My options were limited there. The University of Pittsburgh was too expensive, and the community college was outside of the city, and I’m a city girl,” she said.

Devona looked to Philadelphia, where she has family, and found the College’s Dental Hygiene program. She worked for one year as a dental assistant, where she received on-the-job training, while waiting to get into the program.

“As a dental assistant, I didn’t receive a lot of background. I didn’t feel comfortable with that,” she said.

Devona enrolled at the College in fall 2021, taking her first two classes online, before moving and attending classes in person.

“When I was working as a dental assistant, my back hurt because I didn’t know that there is a proper posture for working around a patient. There is a science behind it for your well-being, and what’s best for the patient,” she said.

For Devona, the highlight of the program was the outreach to residents, a part of their student training.

“It’s all about the community clinic. I love working in the clinic because all we see is patients who need dental treatment. They don’t have the option to rely upon insurance. They go years without treatment,” she said.

Preparing to take her written and clinical certification exams in June, Devona may return to Pittsburgh in the future, but plans to work in Philadelphia for a few years.

“I’ve met some amazing people here, I’ve made some good friends, and I’ve enjoyed my time here. The city is beautiful,” said Devona.

Her in-demand degree and certification will allow her to work throughout Pennsylvania and has given her the knowledge and confidence to care for others.

“I think the program prepared me really well. It helped shape me into a better clinician. You see people from different walks of life, and you understand why you’re doing what you do. The Dental Hygiene faculty are excellent at helping you grasp concepts and apply them in real life. The program may seem like a lot initially, but it is very rewarding.

If you’re invested and your heart is in it, just jump in. It’s worth it,” said Devona.