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Rowan College at Burlington County dental hygiene faculty member proves a career that isn’t set in stone can give you a reason to smile

RCBC dental hygiene faculty member Faith Zimnes works with senior RCBC dental hygiene student Jessica Scanlon

Faith Zimnes, a Rowan College at Burlington County alumna and dental hygiene faculty member, goes from geologist to dental hygienist and receives a statewide award for student mentorship.

Faith Zimnes will receive the 2017 Mary Jane Kellogg Dutton Faculty Mentorship Award from the New Jersey Dental Hygienists' Association at their annual conference on Oct. 28. The award is given to a faculty person in New Jersey who demonstrates a commitment to the future of the dental hygiene profession and provides outstanding service to students.

“As an alumna, Faith Zimnes is an example of the transformative power of Rowan College at Burlington County, and as an instructor she is representative of the excellent faculty we have,” Acting President Michael Cioce said. “She has earned the respect and admiration of her students. We are proud to have faculty like Faith preparing our students for the future of healthcare.”

Recipients of the Mary Jane Kellogg Dutton Faculty Mentorship Award must be nominated by students. A panel of judges then selects the recipient based on the students' nominating letter and director recommendations. 

Recent RCBC dental hygiene graduate, Joanna Maul said, “I feel that Faith was the best candidate for this award because she is real. She was so easy to talk to, very easy to communicate with, and real in the aspect of truly caring about her students and our education.  

“I knew I could always go to her with an issue or a personal struggle with school and talk with her, she would always know the right thing to say. She was always so willing to help because she cared and it showed,” explained Maul.  

Maul has been working as a dental assistant for the past 20 years, and once her dental hygiene license arrives in the mail, her employer will hire her as a hygienist.

Zimnes, of Bordentown, NJ, decided to change her career after working as geologist for more than a decade, which included extensive travel.

“I wanted a career where I could be home more often, but serve the public and still be in science,” explained Zimnes. “I love working with our students, and I continue to work clinically as a dental hygienist. It is an especially exciting year at RCBC as we begin teaching in the new Health Sciences Center and dental hygiene clinic.”

In addition to having her dental hygiene associate degree from RCBC, she also has an associate degree in biology from Mercer County Community College, a Bachelor of Science in Geoscience from The College of New Jersey, a Dental Assistant Certificate of Proficiency from Lake Washington Technical College in Kirkland, WA, and a Master of Science in Higher Education Administration and Leadership from Capella University. From 2013 to 2016, she served as an adjunct instructor at RCBC. She was hired full-time in August 2016.

RCBC recently held an unveiling for its new state-of-the-art Health Sciences Center. As part of the campus transformation and transition from the Pemberton Campus, RCBC moved all of the Health Sciences programs to the center, including nursing, dental hygiene, imaging, and health information management courses, as well as the Virtua Paramedic Science at RCBC program. For information on other Celebration of Transformation events, please visit rcbc.edu/celebration.

Photo Caption: Rowan College at Burlington County dental hygiene faculty member Faith Zimnes, the 2017 Mary Jane Kellogg Dutton Faculty Mentorship Award recipient, works with senior RCBC dental hygiene student Jessica Scanlon in RCBC’s new dental hygiene clinic at the Mount Laurel Campus. RCBC’s dental hygiene program continues to provide low-cost preventative oral health services to the community. For hours and to schedule an appointment, please call 856-222-9311, ext. 1074. For more information on RCBC’s dental hygiene program, please visit rcbc.edu/dental.