Samantha Moeker Pursues Academic Life

Inspired by BSC professors, now she serves as faculty at two colleges

ScreenShot20180710at10.20.23AM.pngBSC alum Samantha Moeker lives in Wassau, Wisconsin, and is one of five oral health educators for the state, works as a dental hygienist, serves as community faculty at the Central Wisconsin Medical College and has an adjunct faculty position at Northcentral Technical College. As if that isn’t impressive enough, she can also tell you the best time for a quick grocery run in her home state of Wisconsin – during a Packers game since being a fan is nearly required and therefore no one is at the store.

Moeker decided to go to college in North Dakota and at BSC, because she wanted to get her college experience away from home and try making it on her own. Make it she did. She earned both an associate of arts degree and an associate of science degree from BSC, because she wasn’t sure at the outset what career to pursue and said she likes having options. Then, she went on to graduate summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in education from Dickinson State University on the BSC campus.

One of her favorite moments while at BSC was helping her fellow student, Preston Schmidt, when he ran for international president of Phi Theta Kappa, an honor society. “I was his campaign manager and we developed a campaign surrounded by Lewis and Clark. We actually traveled to Seattle and he won! That was my most proud moment of my life to that point. I was so proud of him. We worked so hard.”
 
After graduating from DSU, she applied for teaching positions, but also submitted an application to the University of Minnesota’s dental hygiene program. There were more than 600 applicants that year and only 24 spots – one of which was given to her. That acceptance letter charted her course.
 
It was the educational foundation Moeker received at BSC that she says set her up for success. “They created the foundation to then put all my building blocks on. Whether they were an education route or a dental hygiene route, I needed the solid foundation to build upon. Even going back to my coursework with Lloyd Anderson, Ph.D.; Linda Tonolli and Dan Leingang, Ph.D. It really all goes back to BSC.”


While at the University of Minnesota, Moeker decided to study abroad in Bergen, Norway. “I had wanted to go to Norway for quite some time as that’s where my family immigrated from back in the 1860s.” The country has extra meaning now, since her sister who was seven months pregnant came to visit her and ended up giving birth while there.

Moeker’s time in Norway taught her about the importance of both preventative care and education in dentistry. Both of which have become passions of hers. Since her time in Dr. Anderson’s classroom at BSC, she has wanted to teach. Being able to pair her love of dentistry with her passion for educating future generations has been very fulfilling for her. “I really love being part of that empowerment for that next set of hygienists that come along.”

She is also able to put her education degree to work in the clinic setting. “You really get to know your patients. You empower them. Their changes are tangible and measurable when you see them from appointment to appointment. When patients are empowered in dentistry that equals teeth for life.”


Moeker credits Dr. Leingang with broadening her horizons. “Dr. Leingang was really that bridge to say look at all these great things you are doing in the classroom, but guess what, you can do all these amazing things outside the classroom.”