Springfield Community College Program Receives National Honor

Feb 7, 2018

Dental Tools
Credit East Midtown / Flickr

The Dental Hygiene program at Ozarks Technical Community College is the recipient of .the inaugural Siemens-Aspen Community College STEM Award, presented by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program and the Siemens Foundation.

The program’s director, Rebecca Caceres, said only 10 percent of colleges nationwide were invited to apply.

"So, it's an outstanding recognition for not only the program but OTC," Caceres said.

The honor comes with a cash award of $50,000.  Caceres said half of that will be used for curriculum development and program enhancement.  The other half will be used to select Siemens Technical Scholars who will receive scholarships of $3500 to $10,000 each. 

"They will be selected based on their cumulative grade point average, outstanding leadership skills and good communications," she said.

The scholars will share their stories with others, according to OTC, to demonstrate the economic opportunities available in STEM middle-skill jobs.  

OTC's Dental Hygiene program uses a selective admission process with a focus on outstanding academics, according to the school.  It receives an average of 100 applications each year and admits only 20 students at a time.  The starting salaries for dental hygienists in Springfield are around $69,000 a year.