Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Meet Rio Salado’s Colgate STAR Award Winner

Photo of Trisha with Rio Salado College President Kate Smith


Bright smiles were shining for this year’s Colgate STAR Award winner. Rio Salado College’s own Trisha Intintoli received the award and was recognized as a standout among dental hygiene students across the nation.

The STAR (Student Total Achievement Recognition) Award winner is chosen by dental clinic faculty and student peers. It is presented on behalf of Colgate Oral Pharmaceuticals to graduates who not only demonstrate true dedication to the dental hygiene profession but to those who also display compassion in patient care, enthusiasm for the community and truly enjoy being dental hygienists.

“The STAR award, to me, is one of the best compliments I have ever received,” Intintoli said.

Intintoli was introduced to the dental field at a young age by her mother who worked as a dental professional. Learning alongside her mother, Trisha trained as a dental assistant 14 years before advancing her education through Rio Salado’s Dental Hygiene program.

“Dental hygiene just felt like the next step in furthering my education, as well as a great paying career with flexible hours,” Intintoli said.

She said enrolling at Rio Salado was the best fit for her.

“I had taken classes at a couple of other community colleges and honestly, Rio Salado has been the most helpful in a variety of ways,” Intintoli said. “Registering classes, talking with honors, paying tuition and one-on-one with teachers have all been so easy and accessible.”

Once enrolled in the program, Intintoli received much more than just the education she expected.

“It is a special bond to spend 16 months with a group of people who really care for one another,” she said. “If you would have asked me what I was expecting to gain from the program prior to my acceptance, I would have simply said ‘a degree.’ If you ask me now, I would say a second family.”


Trisha with classmates in dental office locker room


Intintoli was recognized in front of her peers during last May’s graduation ceremony, receiving high praise from those who have worked with her.

“Trisha has a unique combination of verbal, clinical and leadership abilities rarely found in today’s graduates,” said Holly Harper, Rio Salado Faculty Chair of Dental Programs.

Intintoli also had much praise for the dental program director and faculty.

“Rio Salado has an amazing dental hygiene program with the most caring, devoted, helpful and knowledgeable director and faculty,” she said. “Everyone is cheering you on and there to support you.”

group photo of dental students and staff


Intintoli is back working in the very office where she trained 14 years prior, but now as a full-time hygienist.

Trisha in clinic chair posing with young dental clinic patient
Trisha with Patient at 2019 Clinic

“They welcomed me back with open arms and I was happy to go home,” Intintoli said. “It feels good to have patients remember me and congratulate me on my long-time goal of becoming a dental hygienist.”

Along with receiving the Colgate STAR Award, Intintoli received a certificate of recognition and her name inscribed on a plaque at Rio Salado College.

Contributed by Rio Salado Social Media Strategist London Phillips


Photo 1: Rio Salado Interim President Kate Smith with Trisha at May 2019 commencement.

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