The Dental Hygiene faculty are dedicated, experienced professionals committed to your success inside and outside the classroom. They provide academic advising and personal program/career planning.

Department Chair

Paula Russell

Program Directors

Klamath Falls
Paula Russell
Salem Paula Hendrix
Online Degree Completion
Suzanne Hopper

Klamath Falls

Paula Russell

Paula Russell, EPDH, M.Ed, Associate Professor


Paula, an Oregon Tech graduate, is an Associate Professor and serves as the Department Chair/Director for the Dental Hygiene department. She graduated with her B.S. in Dental Hygiene in 1998 and worked in clinical practice for 10 years. In 2007, Paula started teaching part time in the Oregon Tech dental hygiene clinical courses, overseeing students performing patient care. In 2010, she earned a master’s degree in education: curriculum and instruction from the University of Phoenix and was subsequently hired as a full time faculty member in 2011. Paula has taught a variety of courses in the Dental Hygiene program such as, sophomore and junior clinic lead, Pain Management, Prevention, Ethics, and Restorative labs.

Paula is originally from Klamath Falls, and enjoys the small town lifestyle. She owns and operates a horse boarding facility which has been a family business for 30 years. She also is passionate about training and showing Paint and Quarter Horses, and spends most of her free time outdoors with her animals, or traveling/camping with her family in her RV.

Jeannie Bopp

Jeannie Bopp, RDH, BSDH, MS(c), Instructor


Jeannie was raised on a ranch in Langell Valley Oregon with two older siblings. After graduating from Bonanza High School she attended Portland Community College, where she graduated with an associate’s degree in Dental Hygiene. She became Newsletter Editor for the Oregon Dental Hygiene Association from 1982 until moving to California in 1984. Her 39 year career in dental hygiene took her in many directions including working in Munich Germany and coordinating a mobile dental van project to give the less fortunate access to dental care. In 2011 she graduated from OIT with a bachelor’s degree in Dental Hygiene. This has allowed her to return to her roots and continue in her professional growth as Senior Lead clinical instructor at OIT. Now she advances her education working towards her Masters of Science for Allied Health with Oregon Tech. She looks forward to sharing her vast experience and passion for her profession with the future graduates.

In her free time, Jeannie loves cooking and to travel and experience new places and cultures. She and her husband also have dairy goats which has led her to making homemade soaps with goat milk.

Krista Beaty

Krista Beaty, RDH, BS, MS, Assistant Professor


Krista is the Restorative Lead Instructor for the Klamath Falls Campus and coordinates continuing education and certification courses for this area as well. Her other teaching commitments are as the lead instructor for junior clinic, dental materials, and dental anatomy. Krista has been working in the field of dentistry since 1998, first as a Certified Dental Assistant, then as a Registered Dental Hygienist. She received her dental hygiene degree from Clark College in Vancouver, WA, and her Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene from Eastern Washington University. Krista is currently working to complete her master’s thesis on the general and oral health experiences of patients with CREST Syndrome through Idaho State University. She has over 14 years of dental hygiene experience, which involve clinical practice in restorative, periodontics, and general dentistry in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. As natives of Washington State, Krista and her family are avid Seahawks fans. Hobbies include music, reading, travel, and various outdoor activities in the beautiful Northwest.

Heather Schudel

Heather Schudel, Clinical Instructor

 SE 223

Heather Schudel graduated from Dental Hygiene at Oregon Tech in 2000. Experience in multiple areas of the dental field, including training new staff, lead Heather to pursue the education. Last year she completed her Master’s in Education and taught at Rose State College in Midwest City, Oklahoma. “Watching students learn patient management skills as well as seeing their excitement when the classroom and the clinic come together is incredibly gratifying. I love knowing that I am helping the next generation of my profession become better prepared.”


Darlene Swigart

Darlene Swigart, EPDH, MS, Assistant Professor


Darlene grew up in a military family where she lived in numerous locations throughout the United States. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene degree in 1998 and earned a Master of Science in 2018, both from Idaho State University. She has practiced dental hygiene in both Montana and California.

After 17 years as a clinical dental hygienist in general and periodontal practices, Darlene decided to pursue her life-long dream of becoming a teacher. Prior to Oregon Tech, Darlene taught Introduction to Periodontology and was also a clinical and lab faculty member at West Coast University in Anaheim, California.

At Oregon Tech, Darlene teaches the Community Dental Health courses and is Sophomore Clinic Lead. She loves teaching and appreciates giving back to a profession that has given her so much in return. In her leisure time, Darlene enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, and kayaking.

Elizabeth Wells

Elizabeth Wells, BSDH, MS(c), Instructor


Elizabeth, an Oregon Tech graduate, is an Instructor for the Dental Hygiene program at the Klamath Falls campus. She graduated with her B.S. in Dental Hygiene in 2014 and worked in clinical practice for several years. Elizabeth started teaching part time as adjunct clinical faculty in 2017 and is happy to now be full time in the department while she obtains her Masters in Allied Health here at OIT.

Being a Klamath Falls native she loves the area and all the beauty it has to offer. In her spare time Elizabeth loves to be outdoors with her family hiking, kayaking, and fishing!

Salem (Chemeketa)

Paula Hendrix

Paula Hendrix, EPDH, MEd, Associate Professor, Program Director

 Chemeketa 8 - 109D

Paula grew up in beautiful Central Oregon. She graduated from Oregon Health Sciences University in 1985 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Dental Hygiene and earned her Master of Education degree from Concordia University in 2013. She practiced dental hygiene in Washington and Oregon for over 27 years and has been involved in teaching and administration for twelve years.

Paula has taught a variety of courses including Pain Management, Ethics, Periodontology, Dental Anatomy, and all levels of clinic. She believes in teaching the importance of giving back to the profession by volunteering and serving others. One way Paula has stayed involved with her profession has been by working as an anesthesia and dental hygiene clinical board examiner in several states.

Paula enjoys spending time with her husband and three grown children and spouses. She loves to travel, enjoy the outdoors, and anything arts and crafts related.

Charisse Botsch

Charisse Botsch, BSDH, Instructor

 Chemeketa 8-109E

Charisse graduated from OHSU with a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene in 1985, and worked in private practice for over 30 years! She has been an instructor at Oregon Tech-Salem campus since 2012, and has been teaching full time in the dental hygiene department since 2015. Her current teaching commitments are as the sophomore clinical lead and the sophomore prevention courses. She loves teaching students who have a passion to help others! When not teaching, Charisse enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters. She is known for her phenomenal baking skills, which is one of her passions. She also enjoys traveling and hopes to experience more in the future. She truly enjoys living and working in the Pacific Northwest!

Jessica Luebbers

Jessica Luebbers, RDH, MS, Assistant Professor

 Chemeketa 8-109D

Jessica is a native Oregonian who was raised in the Willamette Valley. She attended Portland Community College, and graduated with a certificate in dental assisting and an associate’s degree in Dental Hygiene. After graduation she worked clinically and participated in various community health projects. She has been to Honduras twice with Medical Teams International. Her favorite volunteer activities include working with veteran’s groups and helping at the Mission of Mercy. In 2012, she graduated from Oregon Tech with a Bachelor’s degree in Dental Hygiene while working full time clinically as a dental hygienist. She earned a Master of Science degree in Dental Hygiene from Idaho State University in 2017. Her area of study included interprofessional collaboration and education. She is currently working on a Doctoral Degree at George Fox University studying educational leadership and curriculum design.

When not working, Jessica loves to spend time with her family, traveling, and exploring the Pacific Northwest. Her favorite travel destinations include the Oregon Coast, the San Juan Islands, and British Columbia.

Tonja Willey

Tonja Willey, EPDH, MEd, Assistant Professor

 Chemeketa 8-109F

Tonja is from the Portland area and enjoys living in the Pacific Northwest because of the short distances to beautiful ocean, mountains, lakes, and streams. She began her dental hygiene education at Mt.Hood Community College earning an associate degree in Dental Hygiene. After practicing for 27 years in Florida and Oregon she went on to further her education by receiving her Bachelor’s degree through Oregon Tech's Online Degree Completion Program in 2011 and then received her Master’s in Education from Portland State in 2013. Her passion for dental hygiene is fueled by sharing her knowledge and experience with students. She approaches education from the heart, knowing each of her students can achieve his or her potential. Currently Tonja is the lead clinical instructor for the senior students and teaches ethics for the dental professional.

Outside of dental hygiene, Tonja is famous for her race-walking capabilities. Her walking team has placed as top finishers for Portland To Coast since 2006. Her creative endeavors include cooking and quilting, but the main thing that completes her heart is her family and her wonderful grandchildren.

Online Learning

Suzanne Hopper

Suzanne Hopper, RDH, MAEd, Academic Director Degree Completion, Professor


Suzanne graduated in dental hygiene from Oregon Tech in 1981, and was a dental hygienist for 24 years in private practice. In 2006, she completed her master’s degree in education. Suzanne started teaching full time for Oregon Tech in 2005, and since 2012 she has taught exclusively online courses at all levels – freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, and graduate level.

Suzanne and her husband Doug have two grown sons. The whole family loves outdoor activities especially hiking and camping. Suzanne likes to walk 4-5 miles a day and during the nice time of the year hikes on the trails on Mt. Emily directly behind their house.

Jill Schultz

Jill Schultz, RDH, MEd, Professor


Jill Schultz is emeritus professor in the Oregon Tech Dental Hygiene Program. In 30+ years with Oregon Tech she has taught ethics, local anesthesia, dental practice management and community health on our campus programs in Klamath Falls and Salem. She has served as the department chair and as the program director for the dental hygiene degree completion program. Now retired, she continues to teach part-time in our online program and in the online Master of Science in Allied Health Program.

Outside of teaching, Jill is spending more time with her grandchildren; volunteering in the community and nurturing her creative side with home improvement projects.