Dental hygiene mom masters passion, purpose and parenting with a smile

Kayley Sisler is a graduate from Garrett County, Maryland.

Kayley Sisler wrapped up her freshman year at West Virginia University certain of the profession she would pursue. She had already been introduced to it after graduating from high school in Garrett County, Maryland. “I knew I wanted to do something in the dental field as a career,” Sisler said. “After working as a dental assistant for a year, I decided that dental hygiene was what I wanted to do.”

Sisler didn’t take baby steps to apply to the dental hygiene program at WVU School of Dentistry.
“When comparing WVU School of Dentistry to other dental hygiene programs, I knew WVU was my best option since I would be able to get my bachelor’s degree versus an associate degree,” she said.

The Health Sciences Center where she would receive most of her education is in Morgantown, West Virginia. “Home” for Sisler is about an hour east on Interstate 68, just across the West Virginia state line. “In all settings, including classroom, clinic, or service activities, Kayley has always been professional, hardworking, reliable, and a fantastic team player. She never missed a day, even when 68 was basically impassible due to snow,” Amy Funk, department of dental hygiene chair, said.

Sisler would greatly appreciate the close proximity to family. “I took the leap and couldn’t be happier about my decision,” she said.

The leap was followed by baby steps. “I had a baby during sophomore year and still managed to make it through the program,” Sisler said.

Baby MyahMyah was born Aug. 1, 2020, less than a month before her mom began the second year of her journey toward a dental hygiene degree.

The gender reveal had long passed. However, a baby reveal would soon make its way through the dental hygiene Class of 2023.

“The first person I shared it with was a faculty member. She saw my necklace that was an initial ‘M.’ She asked me what it meant, and I told her it stood for Myah,” Sisler said. “She then asked if Myah was my pet. I told her, ‘No, it is actually my daughter. My 4-week-old baby.’ From that day forward, I realized that having Myah was something that I shouldn’t be hiding.”

Sisler was hesitant initially because she knows first impressions are important. After all, she dreamed of brightening her patients’ first impressions as an oral healthcare provider. “It wasn’t that I was ashamed. It was just that no one knew me and I didn’t want them to get a bad first impression of me,” she said.

Word of Myah spread quickly. Cue some awkward inquiries.

Kayley and family“I had people ask me, ‘So do you know who the dad is? Are you even with the baby’s father?” Sisler said. Know him? She knew him pretty well. “Myah’s father and I have been together since we were 13 and 14 years old. At the time I got pregnant, we had been together for seven years. It shocked so many people,” she said.

Baby Myah is now a toddler. On, May 13, 2023, her mom became a college graduate. “It was very tough, but with the support of my family, friends and faculty, I knew it was possible,” Sisler said.

But, she may have made it look easy. “What others viewed as obstacles, she looked at as opportunities to succeed at the highest level. Kayley is the perfect role model for her daughter and for other students of what you can achieve,” Funk said.

Kayley and MyahAfter hundreds of hours in a classroom, laboratory or clinic, Sisler became a provider three years after she surprisingly became Myah’s provider. “My daughter is my purpose in all that I do, and I hope she grows up knowing that anything is possible and that if she has a dream to chase it. I will be her biggest supporter no matter what she decides to do,” Sisler said.

With one look at Myah’s bright smile, it is easy to see she is also her mom’s biggest supporter.

Kayley and Myah