Student Stories: Sunil Joshua

Sunil Joshua

Major: Dental Hygiene

Sunil Joshua had worked in the medical field as a CT, MRI and X-ray technologist for more than 12 years when he decided to make a change.

Health Science Admissions at COD

“Because of family reasons, I was looking for another health care career that would allow me to work less weekends, evenings and nights,” he said. “I found dental hygiene to be a career that would give me daytime schedules, opportunities to grow in the profession and comparable pay scales.”

Having graduated as class valedictorian from Malcolm X College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago, Joshua was familiar with how well community colleges educate and train health care professionals. He worked alongside graduates of College of DuPage and heard from peers in radiology about the school’s excellence.

“In my research, I found that the COD Dental Hygiene program had a very high success rate of graduates, much like their other programs in radiography and nursing,” he said. “I decided I wanted to attend COD’s program only and had no plans for any other college.”

His first semester was entirely online due to COVID, and he had to retake his science classes for prerequisites because his were more than 10 years old. But biology professors like Karen Persky and Tara Leszczewicz set high standards, and Joshua felt like he was being well-prepared for success.

Still, he knew nothing about dental hygiene and initially felt out of place once he started the program.

“During the first few months, I was a real mess to deal with,” he said. “But Program Chair Lori Drummer, Assistant Professor Marliene Tobin and the entire faculty helped me learn from scratch. They are very approachable and understand a student’s obstacles.”

I feel confident as a dental hygienist, thanks to the excellent teaching in COD’s Dental Hygiene program.

Joshua also enjoyed volunteering in the community. Through the Community Dental Health courses, he learned the importance of educating people about healthy dentition and oral health as a way of improving quality of life.

“We were constantly taught about dental deserts, places where there is no dental help for local residents. As a result, their health suffers,” he said. “The outreach does not feel like work but more like a personally motivated mission that brings out the best in me. Enabling people with special needs to care for their oral health, providing dental resources for those who do not have them and educating people about oral health is highly fulfilling. The sense of satisfaction I feel when I do community outreach makes this career choice even more perfect for me.”

In earning his Dental Hygiene Associate in Applied Science degree, Joshua was named one of the College’s outstanding graduate finalists. He is happy about his decision to switch careers and encourages anyone to enroll at COD.

“I feel confident as a dental hygienist, thanks to the excellent teaching in COD’s Dental Hygiene program,” he said. “COD provided resources like a clean campus, big library, so many quiet places to sit and do my work, outstanding faculty with excellent standards, ample parking, friendly staff—on the whole a great atmosphere for learning. I loved being on campus!

“The Dental Hygiene program is the best program to be in, not just in terms of a high board pass rate but also in terms of becoming a true dental hygiene professional, armed with great skills, knowledge, confidence and education. It is highly competitive to get into the program but a great place to grow and become a successful dental hygienist.”

Learn more about the Dental Hygiene program at College of DuPage