Entering the field: A veteran prepares for a career in dental hygiene

Dental Hygiene student Adam Secor

Adam Secor

When it comes to creating a meaningful life, balance is often a critical ingredient.

Often, but not always. When he was a student at Vernon’s Verona Sherrill High School, Adam Secor – pondering a healthcare career — shadowed a surgeon. The latter’s workday started at 7 a.m. and continued well into the night. Secor asked if this was a typical day; “pretty much” was the reply.

Scratch surgeon off the career possibilities list. “I wanted to have a family. I didn’t want to be at work 15 hours a day,” Secor explained.

After graduating from high school, Secor enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he served in the infantry until 2010 with tours in Bahrain, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The seed of an idea – a career in healthcare – was still planted in Secor’s mind. A trip to a dentist’s office inspired him to look into dentistry as an option, and he liked what he saw. After being honorably discharged, Secor enrolled at Binghamton University, where he earned a degree in biology.

Afterward, he considered dental school – but it seemed a deep commitment, both financially and in terms of time.

“When I graduated from BU, I was working at UPS and not going anywhere, so I decided to go back to school and do dental hygiene,” said Secor, who lives in Endicott with his wife and two children.

Secor found a home in his new field, and will graduate in May 2018. Male students aren’t common in dental hygiene, but that’s never held him back. “Personally, I don’t notice the difference,” he said of being a non-traditional student.

Dental Hygiene students receive hands-on experience in the program’s state-of-the-art clinic in the Decker Health Sciences Building, which serves patients at low or no cost. They will also do a rotation at a local assisted living facility.

“I’m really pleased to be here. The more I learn, the more I like what I’m doing,” Secor reflected. “Help is there when you need it. They want you to succeed.”