Skip to main content

Campus Alert

News & Stories

Alumni Success Story: Emily Chaffer Has a Future to Smile About

Emily Chaffer Dentistry Student Carroll Community College

Emily Chaffer now has a clear vision of her future, thanks in part to her formative experiences as a student at Carroll Community College. In 2017, she enrolled at Carroll, where she focused on building a strong foundation in science courses that were essential to pursue a rewarding career in dentistry.

Meeting Her Mentors

Emily’s academic path at Carroll was significantly shaped by her experience in Biology 101, taught by Associate Professor of Sciences Stacey Zell. “Being my first science course in college,” Emily recalls, “Prof. Zell taught me how to prepare for laboratory sessions, which are skills that I still carry on today, even when working in a clinical setting in dentistry.” Prof. Zell became more than just a teacher to Emily; she was a mentor who provided continuous support, helping Emily navigate through times of uncertainty and stay focused on her goals.

Associate Professor of Sciences Joyce Davis also played a pivotal role in Emily’s journey by encouraging her to explore the Microbiology program at the University of Maryland. Through this exploration, Emily discovered the connections between microbiology and dentistry, which led her to identify the specialization she wanted to pursue in the field.

Emily earned her Associate of Science in Biology from Carroll Community College in 2020 and subsequently transferred to the University of Maryland, College Park, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences, specializing in Microbiology, in 2022.

I encourage students pursuing a similar education or career path as me to stay positive, dream big and take advantage of every good leadership, clinical or professional development opportunity that is available to them!

Emily Chaffer Dental Quote Carroll Community College
Emily Chaffer Alumni

Gaining Practical Experience

After completing her undergraduate degree, Emily sought to expand her knowledge and skills in dentistry by working as a dental assistant at a private practice in Owings Mills, Maryland, and with the Implantology Continuum Program at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry. These experiences ignited her passion for preventative dentistry and public health, prompting her to enter a graduate program to continue developing her skills.

Her acceptance into the B.S./M.S. Dual Degree Clinical Dental Hygiene Leader program at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry marks a significant milestone in her educational journey. This unique program will allow Emily to graduate in 2026 with both a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Dental Hygiene. “This program will present me with many opportunities as a dental hygienist,” Emily explained, “such as exploring roles in research, education and advocacy for patients and our field through administration to significantly improve public health.”

Emily’s exposure to the social determinants of health during her undergraduate studies has deepened her understanding of health inequities. “In my career, I want to advocate for all patients to have access to quality and affordable preventive dental care,” she shared. She is also excited about the opportunity to integrate medical care with dental care to promote the oral-systemic health connection.

“My role as a leader in dental hygiene will be crucial in the health care delivery system,” Emily said, “because I can advocate for patients and their oral health inside and outside the clinical setting.”

Paving a Bright Future

Emily Chaffer Dental Success Carroll Community College
Emily Chaffer earned her Associate of Science in Biology at Carroll Community College in 2020.

Carroll Community College holds a special place in Emily’s heart. The supportive environment and dedicated faculty members provided her with numerous resources and opportunities to grow both as a student and as a leader.

“Some of my favorite experiences at Carroll were my involvement in the Leadership Challenge, being the Vice President of Fellowship for our Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society chapter, being a Mentor in the Lynx-to-Lynx mentoring program and being the event coordinator for the campus activities board,” Emily said. She was also part of the prestigious Hill Scholars (now Pappalardo) honors program at Carroll.

“Because I have felt so connected and pleased with Carroll,” Emily said, “I hope one day I can play a role in the development of a dental hygiene program at the College and educate students so we can increase the number of dental hygienists in Carroll County and positively influence patient care and oral health in our community.”

Emily’s story is a shining example of how Carroll Community College fosters an environment where students can pursue their passions and achieve their dreams. As she steps into her future role as a Clinical Dental Hygiene Leader, ready to make a meaningful impact in dentistry and oral healthcare, Emily carries with her all the values and lessons learned from her time at Carroll.

“I encourage students pursuing a similar education or career path as me to stay positive, dream big and take advantage of every good leadership, clinical or professional development opportunity that is available to them!”

Start Here, Go Anywhere!

With an Associate degree from Carroll, your credits are transferable to any public higher ed institution in Maryland.