Student Spotlight: Catherine O'Reilly

Catherine O'Reilly

Catherine O'Reilly
Major: Dental Hygiene
Hometown:  Naperville

Catherine O'Reilly originally earned her bachelor's degree in International Business and World Trade from the University of Buffalo.

Her uncle, a dentist, then encouraged her to apply to dental school. But O'Reilly was not interested in more schooling and began her career in sports marketing.

"After working for seven years, I became a mom and decided to stay home," she said. "After about five years, I really wanted to go back into the workforce but realized my old profession was not a good fit for our family anymore.

"I remembered what my uncle had said and asked my hygienist how she liked her job. She said she loved it because it was a good paying, flexible mom job. Shortly after, I began to take my prerequisites for acceptance into COD's program."

O'Reilly chose College of DuPage because of its reputation and proximity to her home. She was accepted into the program and graduated in 2011.

"COD has been instrumental in helping me achieve the new goal I had set for myself," she said. "I feel very lucky to have been with such an excellent group of students. Everyone has been so supportive of each other and we've become like a little family. It has been a tough course, but we made it through together."

After graduating, O'Reilly landed a job as a registered dental hygenist at a progressive Naperville office.

"The license I received after completing the program is helping me provide for my family," she said. "I have children who will go to college and I want to help secure that happens.

"I also want to volunteer my services and give back to the community. I'd like to receive certification as a medical translator and maybe eventually work in a new position using my marketing degree again. Becoming an RDH along with my BA and being bilingual, I'll have the ability to launch my career in endless directions."

More about the Dental Hygiene program