VIU graduate Robyn Doll smiling with diploma

Excelling in her field: Robyn Doll

July 14, 2022
Author: Eric Zimmer

Meet this year’s recipient of the Governor General’s Academic Bronze Medal

The future looks bright for Robyn Doll.

She graduated from VIU’s Dental Hygiene diploma program this year and has already secured a job as a dental hygienist in her hometown in northern BC. She is also this year’s recipient of VIU’s Governor General’s Academic Bronze Medal. The bronze medal is awarded annually to the student who receives the highest academic standing in a two-year diploma program.

“I feel very honoured to have received this award,” she says. “The countless hours of studying and hard work were unquestionably challenging but being recognized for these efforts is very rewarding.”

We caught up with Robyn to get her thoughts on the award, her time at VIU and what's next.

What does receiving this award and recognition mean to you?

I feel very honoured to have received this award. The countless hours of studying and hard work were unquestionably challenging but being recognized for these efforts is very rewarding. 

What drew you to pursue your post-secondary education at VIU?

After deciding on Dental Hygiene, I began to research which institution to attend. The VIU Dental Hygiene program has a great reputation and piqued my interest. On top of that, my hometown is in northern BC, far away from the ocean. The thought of living somewhere where I could eat endless seafood and wear shorts for more than two weeks a year was very appealing.

Can you tell us about any challenges you faced during your studies or otherwise, and how you overcame them?

The course load and clinical requirements myself and my fellow classmates were faced with during our program was probably one of the most challenging things I have ever done. Luckily, I had amazing support systems to help me overcome these challenges. This support included pep talks over the phone with my parents and boyfriend, and long walks around the neighbourhood venting to my roommates. Without these people to lean on I don’t think I would have been able to complete this program, and so I am forever grateful to all of them.

What’s next for you, education or career-wise, or both?

I will soon be starting my career as a Registered Dental Hygienist in my hometown of Smithers, BC. I look forward to gaining experience in a clinical setting and helping people improve their oral and overall health. In the future, I do hope to work in public health and push for dental care to be more accessible, affordable and comfortable for all. 

How do feel your time at VIU helped in your path towards achieving this goal?

After being a student for so many years, now I feel quite terrified to be stepping into the workforce without an instructor right there to provide me immediate feedback and advice. However, I know that the education I have received at VIU has given me a toolbox of knowledge and skills that will enable me to face whatever comes my way. Additionally, because of the strong relationships I built with many of my classmates and instructors I know that I will always have people to turn to in moments when I need help. Maintaining these connections will benefit my abilities and confidence as a dental hygienist to help me reach my goals.

What was the highlight of your time at VIU, and what has been the biggest takeaway? 

My time at VIU sort of feels like a blur. From spending most of my first year doing online learning, to adapting to wearing a mask in a classroom all day long, it has been a rollercoaster. Nevertheless, through all the chaos, there were great moments of triumph and joy. As a student in a health-care program, many of these moments included providing clients in need with care. As for my biggest takeaway, the anonymous quote, “You have everything within you that you need to be successful” motivated me throughout my years at VIU, and I hope that fellow students can find this success within themselves as well.

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