Willie Carter was no stranger to working in dental care when he joined the Dental Hygiene program at Thomas Nelson. When entering the Army, Carter was told by his recruiter that he would likely do well as a dental technician given his personality and manual dexterity, so his first duty station was in the post’s dental clinic. After retiring from the military, Carter and his wife moved to Hampton Roads, where he enrolled at Thomas Nelson in 2010 to pursue a degree in Business Administration. A few months into his coursework, he discovered Thomas Nelson offered a Dental Hygiene program. Carter believed it best to pursue a familiar career, and began taking the dental hygiene prerequisites. He applied for admittance to the program in 2013 but was not accepted. He earned an Associate Degree in Social Science in 2014, then reapplied to the Dental Hygiene program and was accepted. He was the first man to ever join Thomas Nelson’s Dental Hygiene program.
Despite his experience in the field, Carter still found challenge in his Dental Hygiene classes. The Dental Hygiene IV clinic, which includes practicing advanced hygienist skills, was an especially demanding class for him, but overall he had a very positive experience in the program. “I enjoyed the camaraderie with my fellow students, the vast amount of information I was taught, but most of all, the rewarding feeling I got from satisfied patients,” recalls Carter. His post-graduation plans are to secure a job in a military dental clinic or with the Veterans Health Administration, due to his love of working with military members and veterans.