Gonzalez family
(Left to right) Alexander González, Jorge González and Raquel González
have made their dental hygiene studies a family affair.

Raquel González, her husband, Alexander González, and brother, Jorge González are enrolled in the dental hygiene program at Hostos, and together they are proving that teamwork really can make the dream work.

The Venezuelan-born trio were all dentists in their home country, but they are not licensed to practice in the U.S. Determined to continue working in their chosen field, they worked as dental assistants at different
practices throughout the New York City area, and in 2016 decided they wanted to go back to school to advance their careers in the U.S. and become dental hygienists. At the time, Jorge was working with a dental hygienist who’d graduated from Hostos. “He said it was an excellent program and that I should go ahead and try it,” Jorge recalled.

The Queens residents had previously heard of the College and liked that it was affordable and not too far from home. With all of this in mind, they began taking prerequisite courses at Hostos in 2017 and enrolled in the program last fall.

The González family said their journey so far has been intense at times, particularly when they were juggling prerequisite courses and full-time employment. “As soon as we left the school, we were going straight to work,” Alexander said. “We were studying and doing homework Saturdays, Sundays — we didn’t have a weekend life for those first semesters.” But they did have each other, and that counted for a lot.

Going through this experience together has been rewarding for the family, allowing them to empathize, strategize, and study with one another. They also remind one another about upcoming exams and keep each other on track. 

“I’m really bad with scheduling, and she has a better memory than me,” said Jorge of his sister. “She’s like, ‘Oh, did you do the homework? And, I’m like, What?’”

Now in their second semester, the trio is required to recruit patients for their clinical work. Raquel admitted doing so can be difficult, especially as the patients have to meet specific requirements to qualify. However, she is happy to refer potential recruits to her brother and husband whenever she can.

“This program is very demanding, maybe more than I thought, which is good because it makes it highly competitive and I’m proud we all made it,” Raquel said. “It’s very comforting that we’re all together here, and we enjoy helping each other.”

Jorge echoed his sister’s sentiments. “It’s comforting to have people who have your back, and they can cheer you up or give you a push when you need it or a kick in the butt whenever you need it, too,” he said, adding he would definitely encourage others to pursue an academic or career goal with loved ones.

Looking ahead, the Gonzalez family said they do not know if they will go on to dental school in the U.S. – collectively or individually. However, they do know that whatever they decide to do, they’ll support one another, just as they always have.

For more information about Hostos’ dental hygiene program, click HERE.