Dental Hygiene Alumni Achievements

Southern Illinois University



Alumni Achievements


Jordan Brown - Jordan is a 2015 graduate of the SIU Dental Hygiene program, and a former SIU Cheerleader. After attending Southern Illinois University, Jordan adventured to Southern California with her golden retriever, Charm, to pursue a life she could call her own. Along with working in a private practice office in Point Loma, California, Jordan continues her passion of cheerleading as a personal cheer coach throughout Southern California. Jordan has designed and published her first innovative and interactive book called, A Mind of Cheer! A Mind of Cheer channels the philosophy of cheerleading through all aspects of life! It is created for readers to live a cheerful life! With the success of her launch, it ranked #1 Bestseller in SIXTEEN different categories in THREE countries making it a #1 International Bestseller! She values society's health on a local and global level; therefore, she is involved in the dental industry as well and is a global ambassador for Global Dental Relief, which is a non-profit providing dental care for children all over the world. Deep within this author's heart is a strong sense of empowerment and philanthropy bringing her commitment to participate with multiple non-profits. Jordan's love for smiling was not only seen throughout her cheerleading career, but in all areas of life. Jordan has channeled this philosophy of bringing smiles to the world through everything she does!

Obaid BaigOBAID BAIG– Please join us in congratulating Obaid Baig as he takes on the role of Product Marketing Coordinator, reporting to Ann O’Connor, VP, Periodontal SBU. Obaid will provide marketing support for programs and initiatives that are a key part of the growth strategy for the preventive and power scaling product lines.

As an intern for the periodontal team over the past five months, Obaid’s contributions touched many areas of the business including product strategy, global market analysis, and event planning, playing an integral role in the success of the RDH Under One Roof event in August. Prior to joining Hu-Friedy, Obaid, a dental hygienist, provided treatment and education to patients at Asian Human Services health center.

Obaid earned his Bachelor’s degree in Dental Hygiene from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, where he was a recipient of Hu-Friedy’s Golden Scaler Award honoring students who have demonstrated outstanding skills and a commitment to clinical excellence. He received his Certificate of Business Management and Marketing from Insotus College. Obaid, who is married and lives in the Edgewater area of Chicago, is looking forward to joining Hu-Friedy. He shares, “My relationship with Hu-Friedy began in 2005 as a first year dental hygiene student. Since then, I’ve admired the company for its quality and commitment to dentistry. I am honored to officially join the Hu-Friedy family and I look forward to contributing to the future growth of the organization!”

Obaid left Hu-Friedy in 2018 and is now with the American Medical Association working on diabetes prevention products. Regarding his new career move, Obaid stated: “Funny how dental knowledge transfers across health care!”

Congratulations, Obaid!

Charity JacksonCharity Jackson, B.S.D. H., M.S.M., was born and raised in the Midwest. Her dental career started in 1992 as a Dental Technician while serving in The United States Navy. After returning to the civilian life, she decided the Dental Profession was her career path. Charity completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Dental Hygiene at Southern Illinois University in 1999. After practicing as a Licensed Dental Hygienist for several years, she committed to furthering her education by earning a Master’s Degree in Management in 2012 from Colorado Technical University, while transitioning to the business administration side of the profession. She is a member of the American Association of Dental Office Managers and has many certifications which allow her a broad range of exposure in the dental setting. She has overcome many life altering obstacles both personally and professionally, but with a devout belief in how Jesus Christ can positively impact an individual, she has come out on top time and time again. Her passions include volunteering her skills on medical and dental mission trips, working with victims of domestic violence, and most importantly, sharing the good news of Jesus.

Trish JonesTrish Jones, RDH, BS - Motivated, dependable, and personable dental professional with college degrees in Dental Hygiene and Health Care Management. Currently  a Technical Accounts Manager with Aurum Group of Companies. Previously an iTero Sr. Clinical Trainer with Align and Six Month Smiles.  

Prior to Align Technology, Inc. had a successful 10-year track record of thriving business at an advanced dental laboratory (Aurum) situated at a post graduate continuing education institution, as well as 12 years’ experience in the dental office prior.

Flexible and versatile – able to maintain a sense of humor, focus and determination under pressure. Poised and competent with demonstrated ability to easily communicate with dentists and team members. Optimistic. Thrive in deadline-driven environments. Excellent team-building skills. Ability to empower and inspire others to do better. Enjoy Philanthropic contributions. Trish has over 20  publications in various professional and trade journals. She is an avid cyclist, mother of two and married to a fellow Saluki. 


Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, IL

  • Bachelor's Degree, Health Care Management, 1993 Graduated Magna cum Laude
  • Associate’s Degree in Dental Hygiene, 1991 Graduated Summa cum Laude

Professional achievements/Organizations

  • Member of Ride Texas Team 2013 and 2014 ~Cycling 500 miles across Texas supporting “Wish for our Heroes” that helps Military families in November 2013 and will ride in November 2014 ~ this year 575 miles across Texas
  • American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry Charitable Foundation Board Member (AACDCF) ~ Give Back A Smile Charity 2011-2014: Chairperson 2012~2013~2014. Current member Clinical Trainer of the Year Award 2012, Southwest Region, Align Technology, Inc.
  • Outstanding Clinical Trainer Award 2011, Align Technology, Inc.
  • Women on Wheels Cycling Member 2010-2012
  • Advisory Board Member for Dentistry Today ~ current
  • Key Opinion Leader for Ivoclar Vivadent, Inc.
  • Dental Sales Academy 2011
  • Global Institute for Dental Education (gIDE), CE video with Dr. Malcmacher Spring 2010
  • American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), member since 2001
  • International Association of Comprehensive Aesthetics(IACA)
  • Past Member American Dental Hygienists' Association (ADHA)
  • National Association of Professional Women (NAPW)
  • Past Member of National Association of Dental Laboratories (NADL)
  • Past Member of Toastmasters International (CTM)
  • Cover model January 2002 of RDH Magazine
  • Past President of the Southern Nevada Dental Hygienists' Association (1999-2000)
  • Outstanding Dental Hygienist Award, 1999
  • Sigma Phi Alpha, the National Dental Hygiene Honorary Society
  • Illinois Meritorious Dental Hygiene Student Award, 1991

Samantha MeltzerSamantha A. Meltzer BSDH, MDH, received her Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and a Master of Dental Hygiene in Business Management from University of Minnesota. Her career began with a leading dental practice in Chicago where she practiced full-time dental hygiene. In addition to clinical practice, Samantha has presented a variety of educational seminars regarding the oral systemic link. Samantha manages the Midwest territory for Philips Oral Healthcare and is a member of the American Dental Education Association and American Dental Hygienists’ Association. During her spare time she enjoys volunteering at the humane society, clinical practice and outdoor activities. Her mantra is life-long learning and growing. She currently resides in St. Joseph, Michigan.

DixonJennifer (Dixon) Kiley, RDH, BSDH, was born and raised in Northern Illinois. She graduated from Southern Illinois University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Dental Hygiene in 2004. She received the Colgate STAR award and the Southern Illinois Dental Hygienists' Society Award upon completion of the dental hygiene program. Since then, Jennifer has worked and holds licenses as a Registered Dental Hygienist in six states to include Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Washington, Virginia and Texas. Several of the moves and state licensures have been with her husband’s career in the United States Army. Six moves and several jobs have made Jennifer a versatile and adaptable hygienist to just about any dental office. Having relied on temporary staffing agencies throughout all of her moves in the past, she was planning to contact an agency for her next career opportunity in the Nashville community, but there was no dental staffing agency. With the newest move bringing her family to Fort Campbell, Kentucky Jennifer has started up a temporary and permanent dental staffing agency, Nashville Dental Staffing, with a business partner for the greater Nashville area. She and her husband have one son and are expecting another son before the end of 2014.

Picture of Dr. KomorowskiDr. Lucy Komorowski was born and raised in the Chicago area. When she was 15 years old, her family dentist asked her if she was interested in being a dental assistant for his practice. This is where her experiences in the dental field began. She instantly loved the dental field. After being a dental assistant throughout high school, she decided to pursue a career in dental hygiene and choose SIUC to complete her Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene. Her first year in the program, she was chosen by her anatomy instructor to be a tutor for the course.  She continued to tutor the course for her entire time at SIUC. During the second year of the Dental Hygiene curriculum, Dr. Komorowski realized that becoming a dentist was her ultimate dream. Immediately, she began adding dental school course requirements to her already rigorous dental hygiene curriculum.

Dr. Komorowski graduated Magna Cum Laude from the dental hygiene program at SIUC in 2006. During the long application process to dental school, Dr. Komorowski practiced dental hygiene in the downtown Chicago area for a cosmetic dentist and in a specialty office.  She was accepted into SIU-SDM in 2008. Dr. Komorowski continued to excel in the dental field and was chosen to tutor younger dental students in dental anatomy and fixed prosthodontics. Her ultimate dream was reality upon graduating Magna Cum Laude from SIU-SDM in 2012. Dr. Komorowski currently resides and practices general dentistry in Durango Colorado. She enjoys skiing and has climbed 7 of Colorado's 14,000 ft peaks.

picture of Jaterra Castine

 “You have to work hard and consistently for those things that are truly desired.” These are words that JaTerra Castine live by. She was born and raised in Chicago, IL and still calls The Windy City her home. While attending high school at Hyde Park Academy, she secretly dreamed of being a dentist one day, but just did not think that it was possible, partly because of the area that she had grown up in. Finances were also a huge deciding factor at that time. The odds were truly against her. However, she decided to apply as a Senior in high school to Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Dental Hygiene Program to see how she would like being in the dental field first. It was one of the best decisions she has ever made! While at SIU, JaTerra made the Dean’s List all of the years that she attended, became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and became involved in many Registered Student Organizations. During her junior year at SIU, she was elected as the Vice-President of the Student American Dental Hygienists’ Association, and also served as the Treasurer for her sorority. In May 2009, JaTerra graduated cum laude with her Bachelor of Science Degree in Dental Hygiene. Shortly after, she began to work as a hygienist in private practice, and continued to do so for almost 6 years. Although she loved bringing joy, education, and satisfaction to her patients as a hygienist, she began to wonder just how things would be if she decided to follow her dreams that she had almost given up on. Heavily motivated by her fiancé, JaTerra enrolled to finish the pre-requisites for dental school at Chicago State University in August 2013. Two years later, JaTerra is now a first year dental student at Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine in Alton, IL. She truly wants to be a role model and give back to her community. JaTerra hopes to spread the message, especially to her 4 year old daughter, that hard work is always rewarded. Sometimes different circumstances prevents us from achieving our goals at a specific moment, but just know that even impossible, says I’m Possible! Stay tuned for her graduation in 2019!

picture of kendra

Since the age of 7, Kendra Monroe has been highland dancing. No matter where her family lived, this Scottish art form was always apart of her life. 

Recently, at her sister’s wedding where instead of a speech, Kendra performed a traditional Scottish dance. It was there she ran into her childhood dance teacher, Jo Moore (now Kalat). In conversation at the reception, Jo commented, "well you really did it". Kendra smiled, thinking it was in reference to staring a premiere level Scottish dance group in NYC called Shot of Scotch ( Jo finished, "You became a Dental Hygienist, and made it to New York City as well!"

Though dance has always been a passion of Kendra's, her career choice from a young age was always been geared toward the dental sciences. During her junior year of high school she had to decide if she was going to pursue  a career in dance and attend Lyon college in AK, or if she would take the recommendations of her own dentist and attend the highly regarded dental hygiene program at SIU. After college visits and advise from her mother, Kendra attended Southern Illinois University Carbondale. During her time obtaining her bachelor degree- dance was taken to the back burner as the BS degree was a demanding program . Fortunately, with the caring and involved nature of the program and its faculty like Sherri Lukes, Faith Miller, and Joan Davis- Kendra graduated in the spring of 2006. During those years, through involvement in a sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta, and as a Residence Assistant... performance opportunities arose and Kendra was able to occasionally share her love of Scottish dance, while still focusing on the degree at hand. During her time in the program,  Kendra additionally worked at the front desk of the clinic, And treated patients in Coyote, Mexico with the mission trip run by Sherri Lukes.

After graduation, Kendra's dental hygiene career started at family practice, Krueger Dental associates, in Evanston, IL. She then practiced for 2 years with the multi specially group, Manus, in downtown Chicago. With no other reason, than a "now or never" mentality, Kendra gave a 2- month warning, began networking electronically, and then moved to NYC. There she began her career at the practice know globally, NYCSD, under the direction of world famous and leading implant specialist Dennis Tarnow. After a few months of settling into her new practice and New York City, something was still missing.  Kendra formed a premier (highest) level Highland Dance performance group, called Shot of Scotch.  This group started with 3 dancers practicing together in a small studio and has grown to an accomplished group of dancers who have performed at such places as Lincoln Center, Dixon Theater, Mohonk Mountain House, Brooklyn Ballet and been an intricate part of the New York City Tartan Week festivities.  Kendra's passion for spreading the word about Scottish Highland Dance with the flexible hours her work has granted her- she has not only grown a reputable performance group- but has become a certified BATD (British Association of Teachers of Dance) Teacher teaching adult and child lessons up to 6 classes a week. 

A healthy balance of work and play have given Kendra an ideal lifestyle in New York City.  That is, of course, with the support of a wonderful dental team providing a manageable schedule, fellow highland dancers who put time in and out of the dance studio to help grow Shot of Scotch, and of course a loving husband, Ryan Hansen.