Allison Riley | Class of 2022
After serving her country in the United States Air Force, Allison Riley will soon be serving the Yakima Valley community upon completing her Bachelor of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene degree at YVC.
Riley joined the Air Force after high school and served as an aircraft electrician, working on both fighter jets and cargo planes during her eight years in the service. She also travelled the world and helped instruct technicians for the air forces of Hungary, Kuwait and Australia on aircraft electrical and environmental systems maintenance and troubleshooting.
Originally from Tucson, Ariz., Riley and her husband fell in love with the Washington after being stationed in the state.
“We simply could not leave the state after we both got out of the Air Force,” Riley said. And when work and school brought her husband to Yakima Valley, Riley also found a path to the next phase in her life.
“I heard YVC had a dental hygiene program which was my long-term goal and number one career choice,” she said.
“The next chapter in my life will be to work locally as a dental hygienist and provide dental care for the community.” — Allison Riley, Class of 2022
Riley noted that while YVC’s dental hygiene program is rigorous, it also ensures that students are ready to hit the ground running as soon as they graduate.
“It feels like you are being fed information through a firehose,” Riley said. “There is so much to learn in such a short span of time. I have learned that you get what you put into it. Working hard, finding patients and keeping yourself organized is key.”
Over the past two years, she’s also helped tutor other dental hygiene students, both in her own class as well as the class of 2023, helping them make progress and succeed in the program.
During her time in YVC’s program, Riley and her classmates have already helped provide low-cost dental services to members of the Yakima Valley community.
“We rely solely on the experiences we have with our patients in [YVC’s] clinic and learn to improve our skills with each experience,” she said. “We also volunteer to educate the community on oral health. For instance, we have presented at schools and nursing homes to help educate others on healthy oral hygiene habits and care.”
Riley plans on staying in the Yakima Valley after graduation.
“I have fallen in love with the area,” she said. “There is so much to do here and I have so much more to explore. The next chapter in my life will be to work locally as a dental hygienist and provide dental care for the community. I am passionate about helping others and would take every opportunity given to improve and maintain someone’s oral and overall health.”