For Laura Wolter, the path to dentistry was a natural fit. Growing up with a sister working in a dental clinic helped her to understand the daily life and responsibilities of dental professionals and the impact dental teams have on patients.
"I was drawn to the idea of making a meaningful difference through my work in healthcare, but I also wanted to maintain a healthy work-life balance and feel like part of an impactful and equally passionate team," Laura explained. "Dentistry offered the ideal combination, aligning perfectly with my personal and professional aspirations."
After earning her associate degree, Laura worked as a dental hygienist, but she knew she had more to offer and sought out the right place to enroll for a bachelor’s degree. It was this search that led her to Herzing’s dental hygiene program.
“Going back to school after nearly a decade was challenging,” Laura shared. “But the support I received from my family as well as the Herzing community made the experience enjoyable and valuable. I felt myself grow as a person because I had challenged myself.”
Impressed by her commitment, the faculty and advisors at Herzing recognized her potential and presented her with an exciting opportunity for even more professional advancement—a master’s degree. This prospect opened doors for Laura to take her career to new heights and create a better life for herself and her family.
"I hadn't considered pursuing an advanced degree until my counselors at Herzing brought it to my attention," Laura revealed. "The combined benefits, program structure, and unwavering support from my family and the Herzing community made my decision easier. This would help me grow, so I decided to go for it."
As Laura's educational journey continued, her family experienced their own journey of growth—Laura was pregnant! Amidst the joy of this news, Laura faced the challenges of a complicated pregnancy, leaving her overwhelmed and unable to keep up with her coursework. Suddenly, what should have been an exciting time became an extremely stressful experience for Laura and her husband.
“There are so many concerns going through your mind,” Laura shared. “I thought I would have to quit school, lose my money and have to start over from scratch because I wasn’t healthy. I was starting to accept that maybe this wasn’t my time.”
But just as Laura supports her patients, Herzing’s team supported Laura. They worked closely with her to ensure that she could continue her studies in a way that was healthy, manageable and productive. The compassionate response from her professors and counselors put her mind at ease.
“I felt like a human being rather than just a number or a tuition check,” Laura said. “It put me in a better position to ultimately earn my master’s, which had a huge impact on the trajectory of my career.”
After giving birth to her daughter in December of 2021, Laura earned her master’s and was able to continue her work as a dental hygienist in the same facility where she had her clinicals.
Now, Laura aspires to continue her professional journey as a dental hygiene instructor or educator with her valuable expertise and firsthand experience, she hopes to influence the next generation of dental professionals and contribute to the growth and development of the field.
Reflecting on her transformative journey, Laura offers valuable advice to students facing similar challenges, emphasizing the importance of resilience and perseverance. She encourages students to view each experience as a stepping stone toward a rewarding future.
“There are going to be plenty of times where you want to quit, but you have to continue pushing, reminding yourself that the destination will be worth it,” she shared. “Keep going. You can do this!”