Penny Ryan, BLS

Penni RyanThe BLS Program has offered me so many options in completing my degree. I started the program back in the Fall of 1991 and have continued to take a course each semester sometimes even through the summer. It has been a very long road – but a very rewarding one. I think I have learned more from the students in each of the classes – I believe they have kept me young since I am usually the oldest one in the class.

My goal when first starting college was just to "get my degree." Now I am not only getting my BLS degree but also receiving my Certificate in Aging Studies. For my internship in Aging Studies I am able to work within my own College of Dentistry along with Drs. Howard Cowen and Ronald Ettinger. Both faculty have been extremely supportive of me and my quest to obtain this Certificate. My internship involves developing/producing 10 teaching modules that will be used as teaching tools for Collegiate faculty and students within the dental curriculum; provide Continuing Dental Education for dentists, hygienists and assistants across the State of Iowa; provide educational awareness for nursing home staff, family members, social workers, and nurses on the oral health care needs of the elderly.

The most challenging part of obtaining my degree was the "self-dedication" needed by myself to stay focused when taking the on-line courses and/or the guided correspondence courses. It is hard after a long work week to come home, take care of the family, and get right on to the homework for the evening. Fortunately, my advisor and all of the professors I have encountered have been extremely helpful and supportive. The BLS Program is the perfect way to obtain a degree at The University of Iowa while working a full-time, demanding job while taking care of a family.

My goal was to walk across the graduation stage with my youngest son, but he beat me to it. Now my goal is to teach in our Special Care Clinic alongside Drs. Cowen and Ettinger to continue to learn more. Learning for me will not cease once I receive my degree. My husband continues to say "school will never be over for you."