Dental Hygiene Graduate Uses “God-Given Talents’ to Help Her Community

Neysha Medina (Constitution High School, Philadelphia) graduated from Manor College with an associate's degree in dental hygiene.

Nessa Medina

Neysha Medina giggles when she talks about working with her father. To be fair, Medina admits she laughs a lot, but when it comes to her craft, her laugh is laced with pride.

Medina spent years helping his father with electrical, plumbing and carpentry jobs. She proudly boasts about using a wet saw to cut tiles. She values ​​attention to the last details that bring beauty to a project.

“It's in these final details that you finally see the final product,” Medina said.

The fine details required to complete a project were partly what inspired Medina to become a dental hygienist.

“When you have patients who have a mountain of plaque and you get them back to good health, you see this transformation,” Medina said. “You can give them confidence in their smile again.”

Medina graduated from Manor College in May with an associate's degree in dental hygiene. In addition, she will deliver the commencement address on behalf of all associate degree students in the Class of 2024.

“Graduation feels surreal,” Medina said. “I've always wanted it so bad. I wanted to go to the clinic.

Dental Hygiene is one of the most rigorous programs at Manor College. Only a small number of students make it – 14 from more than 100 applicants. Once inside, the hard work begins with class. Students complete clinical work at Manor College's Dental Health Center. This includes working with and completing competencies with certain types of patients.

Nessa Medina prepares for a dental checkup.

Despite the challenges the program faced, Medina never considered giving up an option.

“God led me to where I am now for a reason, so I don't want to say, 'OK, this is going to be hard. I'm going to bail,'” Medina said. “If I were to quit the program, I would be pulled out by my fingernails.”

Upon completion of her degree, Medina will complete the required registered dental hygienist examination. She hopes to use her degree to become involved in the public health field. She works at a volunteer clinic called Mom n' Pa with clinic instructor Dr. Michele Gladstone.

“These people are waiting in line for hours all day long because they need this service,” Medina said. “It gives me joy to use my skills. In Christianity, that’s what we’re supposed to do—use the gifts God has given me to help the community.

Medina came to Manor College because of the dental hygiene program. It didn’t take long for her to fall in love with the institution.

“For me, it was either hacienda or nowhere,” Medina said. “My first interaction was with (Dean of Admissions Jessica Zsoldos) and I felt like she represented Mano very well. I knew I would be in a good place if I came here .

Medina is also involved in campus activities. She played volleyball for the Blue Jays and was a member of the outdoor track and field team. She is a presidential ambassador, a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and president of the American Association of Student Dental Hygienists.

Her contributions on and off campus earned her the 2023 Mother Josafate Medal. The honor is the highest honor a Manor College student can receive.

As her time on campus comes to an end, what Medina will miss most are the friendships she gained.

“The connection I made in the dental hygiene program was the blood there,” Medina said. “We've been through this together and persevered. I'm so proud of everyone and their hard work.

Medina’s advice to students is that Manor’s “good vibe is contagious” and that the institution can make you a better person.

“I didn't like who I was in high school,” Medina said. “I was obnoxious. I was immature. I didn't know how to express myself in certain situations. I've changed. I feel more comfortable in my own skin. Even if I did something embarrassing, I Admit it. I love who I am.

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