Trio of TSTC Dental Hygiene grads excited about new jobs

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From left to right: Robert Barajas, Brianda Pena and Laura Trevino are 2024 graduates of TSTC’s Dental Hygiene program. All have recently accepted job offers. (Courtesy: Texas State Technical College/TSTC)

HARLINGEN — Recent Texas State Technical College Dental Hygiene graduates Robert Barajas, Brianda Pena and Laura Trevino are committed to providing the best dental care possible in their new jobs.

Barajas, of Mission, and Pena, of Palmview, were hired as traveling dental hygienists with Team Placement Staffing Services in Austin. Trevino, of San Benito, is going to work at Burke Children’s Dentistry in Harlingen.

The three received Associate of Applied Science degrees at TSTC’s spring commencement.

“I will start in June after I test for my license,” Barajas said.

“I’m excited to start my career in July,” Pena said. “I’m combining my love for adventure with a job I love doing.”

Samantha Kruger, a travel program recruiter at Team Placement Staffing Services, said Barajas and Pena impressed her with their communication skills and professionalism.

“They both acquired good experience from their clinicals at TSTC in preparation for joining the work field,” Kruger said.

Trevino said she was thrilled to get hired by Burke Children’s Dentistry.

“Dr. Burke is a top dentist in Harlingen, and it’s a great opportunity to work for her,” she said.

Sylvia Perez, office manager at Burke Children’s Dentistry, said she first met Trevino at the Dental Hygiene program’s recent networking event.

“Not only did she express enthusiasm for the dental field, but she has previous experience as a dental assistant. I knew I had to hire her,” Perez said.

Raquel Rico is TSTC’s Dental Hygiene program team lead.

“Our graduates are trained by industry standards, and that makes them marketable,” she said. “We look forward to learning about their career success.”

According to, dental hygienists in Texas earn an average annual salary of $89,160. The need for hygienists in the state was expected to grow 32% from 2020 to 2030, according to the website.

Registration for TSTC’s fall semester is underway. For more information, visit