Alyssa Domico credits the Honors Program with helping her seek bigger challenges—and get accepted to dental school

Alyssa Domico is comfortable getting outside her comfort zone. At Dominican, she majored in neuroscience, minored in chemistry and business administration, tutored students in a genetics class and worked three jobs. She played volleyball, basketball and softball, earning a spot among the top 30 honorees for the 2017 NCAA Woman of the Year Award. She volunteered to coach a youth league. And when she graduated, in 2017, she had a perfect 4.0 grade-point average.

How did she juggle it all? Domico was a member of the Honors Program, which she credits with teaching her to embrace challenges, not fear them. “I loved the Honors Program at Dominican,” she says. “It was a great opportunity to take challenging courses and step outside of my comfort zone.”

The hard work paid off. Domico is halfway through dental school at the University of Kentucky and on track to realize her goal of becoming an orthodontist. “The most challenging thing about dental school is definitely time management,” she says. On top of classes and lab assignments, she’s caring for her own patients. To stay organized, she’s using strategies she adopted at Dominican, including old-fashioned lists—monthly, weekly, daily.

“I try not to plan too far ahead because you really have to be flexible in this career, but giving myself a general layout helps me organize my thoughts,” Domico says.

Honors students at Dominican typically tailor the program to their own interests and goals—with the support of expert faculty. Domico’s honors professors and staff in the Career Development center helped her gain an internship as a dental assistant. She even earned credit toward her degree. “That gave me the opportunity to fully immerse myself in my intended career path while still earning credit for school,” she says.

As a child, Domico had crooked teeth and a massive underbite. She remembers one orthodontist turning her away for being “too complicated.” “I was so self-conscious, ashamed and frustrated,” she recalls. “And I promised myself I would do whatever I could to make sure other children wouldn’t have to feel like this.”

For those who don’t have it all figured out, Domico says, the Honors Program offers many opportunities to discover new interests. “Not everyone knows exactly what they want to do after college, and that’s perfectly okay,” she says. “Take time to find your passion. It’s worth it.”