Del Mar graduate earns praise as instructor 

Monica Martinez called ‘a voice of reason’ in college’s Dental Hygiene Clinic

Shortly after starting a new job at Del Mar, Monica Martinez found herself having to work through the issues of the pandemic in 2020.

Martinez, assistant instructor at the Dental Hygiene Clinic, remembers the experience well.

“I started right before COVID hit and had to navigate a new career path in the mist of chaos,” said Martinez, herself a Del Mar alumna. “It was a challenging time but the stability and teamwork at the DMC Dental Hygiene Clinic overcame all the obstacles.”

According to Martinez, patience and perspective have been significant factors during her time at the clinic.  She also said she greatly enjoys her colleagues. 

“We all have a passion for dental hygiene and it’s a thriving environment when you are surrounded by like-minded people,” Martinez said.  

Martinez said dental hygiene has always been a career choice. According to Martinez, during her time as a dental hygiene student, her education came from some of the best instructors whom she has the privilege of working with now.

Trey Alvarez, clinic coordinator, who has worked with Martinez for a little over three years, speaks highly of her.

“Working with her is adventurous and fun. She is knowledgeable about the clinic procedures and policies. She can critically think on moment’s notice,” Alvarez said. 

According to Alvarez, while Martinez follows and enforces the rules for her students, she still goes above and beyond for them.

Students also were quick to praise Martinez.

“She is an amazing instructor,” dental hygiene student Tyler Hernandez said. “When she is grading each patient of ours, she really takes the time so show us and remind us of what we are looking for and what we are supposed to remember as a hygienist. She radiates with energy and is always so eager to help us learn something or do better.

“I really admire how she takes time out of her personal life after school to offer tutoring to those who need it,” Hernandez said. “I really would be lost without her. She’s the most helpful out of all our instructors and continues to guide us every single day.” 

Another dental hygiene student, Lawrin Grimes, said Martinez can give tough love.

“This is her way of telling us she knows we are capable of all obstacles that come our way,” Grimes said. “Not only does she have confidence in us but teaches us to have that same confidence.

“What I like most about the way she teaches is how you can ask her any question,” Grimes said. If she does not have an answer to the question, she uses that opportunity for us to learn together.”

Grimes called Martinez a voice of reason.

“Martinez doesn’t just stop at teaching, she’s also a mentor” Grimes said. “There are moments in our program where you feel behind, a patient doesn’t show, or you’re just merely overwhelmed. She always seems to have the right thing to say.”

While being an instructor at the clinic, Martinez is heavily involved in the Dental Hygiene Program, which she said is always looking for people from the community to participate.

According to Martinez, the program offers free hygiene services for patients while creating opportunities for the dental hygiene students of the program to acquire the hours they need for their classes. Martinez takes care of the social media Facebook page, Del Mar College Dental Programs, for the program.

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