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Dental Hygiene program provided welcomed surprise(s) for Erica Jamroz

Thursday, February 29, 2024 12:00 AM

Erica Jamroz
Erica Jamroz

Dental Hygiene program provided welcomed surprise(s) for Erica Jamroz

If Macomb hadn’t added Dental Hygiene to its curriculum in 2021, Erica Jamroz’ life would have taken a different turn. She’d be commuting to Oakland County for her classes for one thing and would have missed the excitement of seeing herself on a roadside billboard.

“My mom is a dental assistant and she influenced me to go into dental hygiene,” said Jamroz, a 2018 graduate of Sterling Height’s Henry Ford II High School. “But I wanted to make sure that the dental field was for me before I fully committed, so I got a job as a dental assistant.”

She has worked at Knollwood Dental Care in Sterling Heights for three years and the mentoring she received from her coworkers helped her make up her mind. She enrolled at Macomb to complete the prerequisites necessary to transfer into Oakland Community College’s Dental Hygiene program, the closest to her home, when she received a welcomed surprise.

“I could not be more grateful.”

Macomb’s Dental Hygiene program debuted in the new working dental clinic near South Campus last year and Jamroz was one of the first to apply. She’s made the Dean’s List every semester since and is on course to graduate with her associate degree in 2024.

“This program has been amazing. All the students and staff have been so supportive, and it has just been a really great experience,” said Jamroz. “I have met some of my best friends through the program, and I could not be more grateful.”

15+ minutes of fame

In the fall, Jamroz is looking forward to welcoming Macomb’s second class of dental hygiene students into the program. Some will likely recognize her as the smiling “patient” on a college-sponsored billboard that has greeted passersby on some of the area’s busiest thoroughfares. Jamroz and classmate Lydia Marley agreed to be photographed during their clinicals but had no idea that when they smiled for the college photographer, fame would follow. 

First a classmate text Jamroz after seeing the billboard on I-94 at Little Mack. Then a friend from high school called after seeing one on Hall Road. Mom Cheryl, a former Macomb student, hustled Jamroz and her sister Courtney, a Macomb transfer student attending Ferris State University, into the car to go and see it for themselves. Over the next several weeks, Jamroz received texts, calls and social media messages about “her” billboard.

“Seeing it in person made it much more exciting. I never would have thought that I would end up being on a billboard representing Macomb’s Dental Hygiene program, but it has been a fun experience,” said Jamroz. “The one thing that surprised me the most about the work of a dental hygienist is that it’s so much more than just cleaning teeth. At the end of the day, it’s so rewarding knowing I can make an impact on others’ lives by educating them about the importance of oral health and oral hygiene.”