The Charger Blog

New Dental Hygiene Professor is Excited to Call Connecticut Home

Robin Kerkstra, M.S., a new assistant professor of allied health at the University of New Haven, has already immersed herself in everything that Connecticut has to offer.

August 22, 2019

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Image of Robin Kerkstra and her husband, Terry
Robin Kerkstra and her husband, Terry, at the beach – one of their favorite places.

Robin Kerkstra, M.S., a Michigan native, has only been in Connecticut for a short time. Still, she has already discovered some similarities between the two places.

“I am finding many of the things I love about Michigan in Connecticut: sand, water, yoga, and great food,” said Prof. Kerkstra, a new assistant professor of allied health. “I have only been in Connecticut for several weeks, but I am loving it.”

Image of Robin Kerkstra
Robin Kerkstra and her husband, Terry, recently spent two weeks in Jaco, Costa Rica.

Born and raised in the Grand Rapids area of Michigan, Prof. Kerkstra first became acquainted with the East Coast as a graduate student at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Science University in Boston. Prof. Kerkstra, who earned her master’s degree in dental hygiene, became interested in the field when her family dentist offered her a job as a dental assistant.

“He encouraged me to go to college and to get my dental hygiene degree,” she said. “I have had wonderful professors in my life who encouraged me to continue my studies. The positive influence that my mentors have had in my life is the reason that I am in education.”

"All of the professors here are passionate about their students’ education and making an impact on the future."Robin Kerkstra M.S.
Image of Robin Kerkstra
Yoga first brought Robin Kerkstra to Times Square in June.

Prof. Kerkstra previously lived in Indiana while she studied dental hygiene at Indiana University, later returning to Michigan to work as a dental hygienist and to teach. Her research examines education within the field of dental hygiene, and she has focused on student test anxiety and summative clinical assessments. She is currently writing a book chapter for a new dental hygiene textbook.

She joined the University to coordinate the junior-level clinic activities and teach dental hygiene classes.

“I am so proud to be joining the University of New Haven’s faculty,” she said. “All of the professors here are passionate about their students’ education and making an impact on the future.”