Carpenter believes a career in dental hygiene can be life saving work.

What led you to come to WVU?

I really just wanted to get away from the small-town feel of where I was from, and WVU just really offered a good dental hygiene program. My aunt actually had oral cancer, and her dental hygienist found it. So, it just really made me want to join the hygiene program.

What will you remember during your time here at WVU and the School of Dentistry?

I'll honestly just remember my classmates, how great everyone has always been, my teachers, and the bond that we share with them. Because we've been with them for four years, you just really have created a relationship with them. I'll just never forget that.

What would you tell yourself as a freshman?

As a first-year student, I would honestly just tell myself how to manage stress, that stress is okay and that everything ends up working out. You stress and stress about all these things, and everything is going to be okay. Calm down and enjoy these four years, because they go so fast.

What's next for you?

I'm looking to move to Charleston, South Carolina. I have family down in the Carolina and Georgia area. There are so many possibilities with dental hygiene, which really makes it awesome. I want to start with clinical dental hygiene for a few years and see where it takes me from there.

Do you feel well-prepared? How did your experience outside the school help?

Yes, I do feel very well-prepared. I'm honestly excited to go out and show my knowledge and my skills. We went on a six-week (rural clinic) rotation. I was fortunate enough to just be in Fairmont. While I was there, it's just a lot more getting up to speed than in the school. But, I felt very prepared in my knowledge in knowing how to detect cavities and calculus, and the hygienist there was just so great. They just made me really feel at home there. They just helped expand my skills and my knowledge more than the school already had. So, I feel like the school definitely prepared me to go out in the real world. I've been ready since last summer almost.

Why did you choose dental hygiene?

Like I said before, my aunt. Her hygienist found her oral cancer, and I just thought it was amazing that she cared so much for my aunt to say, "Hey, go get this looked at because I think it actually might be something." My aunt's like my second mom to me, so if I would have lost her while I was younger, I would have been devastated. That's what drew me into this field. And I like teeth, and I like helping people.