Alumni Spotlight - May 2021
Jennifer Lyman '12
Jennifer was born in Bend, OR then moved to Klamath Falls around age 8. She graduated from the Triad School and when deciding on which college to attend, she chose Oregon Tech because it would keep her close to her family. The decision was wise, as Jennifer explained that having her family’s support made her college experience far less stressful than if she had moved away. Oregon Tech was and still is very highly ranked for its dental hygiene program, which is the path Jennifer wanted to pursue. She knew she would find employment in this field right after graduation, which was a big attraction.
During her time at Oregon Tech, Jennifer enjoyed playing intramurals basketball and making good friends. She especially enjoyed the dental hygiene externship she went on, working in Honduras for two and a half weeks. She says the experience was unlike anything she had ever participated in, seeing and doing things she could never be exposed to in the United States.
During her senior year of college, Jennifer had the opportunity to do her clinical practice working at both Klamath Tribal and at Chiloquin Indian Health Services, experiences she says she would not have gotten at any other school. Jennifer stays in touch with the dental hygiene professors.
Jennifer and her husband Travis’ families were acquainted from early on, so their love story began when she was just 14 years old. Travis was a few years older and enlisted in the military, and the two married during her last year of college. After graduation, the Lymans had their first child and moved back to Bend. Jennifer eased into her profession, working part time and eventually transitioning to full time hygiene work.
After nine years in the dental hygiene profession, Jennifer helped establish a brand new dental clinic, Alpenglow Dental, in March, 2020, with Dr. Hallie McNaughton Ballance, DMD. At Alpenglow, Jennifer enjoys practicing dental hygiene on a limited basis while also acting as the clinic’s office manager. She considers this her “main” job, while she also has two other businesses on the side. Jennifer does private medical billing for speech pathologists and she recently began another business, military consulting for families dealing with deployment.
Jennifer’s husband has been in the military since he was almost 18 years old, so she and her children have had to manage with him being deployed many times. She understands how difficult it is on families to go through that process alone, especially without a strong support system. Jennifer has friends who reached out and confided their struggles to her and she naturally took on a mentorship role for them. A friend encouraged her to help even more families so Jennifer launched a website, www.homefreecoaching.com, in March of 2021 in order to help mentor women and children experiencing deployments and reintegration. Her program also helps the spouses feel wanted and nurtured when they return home. The website contains the various services she offers and a blog that she is developing. Jennifer explains, “It’s not just wives and moms, I want to support women in general.” Home Free Coaching is a passion project for Jennifer, her personal mission, but she also loves working as a hygienist, working with patients and helping grow a clinic.
Jennifer has an 8-year old son and 6-year old daughter whom she homeschools while also working her three jobs. She explains that while many people feel sorry for military families, she sees things very differently. She feels she and her family have all flourished while being in the military and that she and the children have become very independent.
Jennifer’s advice for current and future Oregon Tech students is to “make the most of your college experience, academically and socially.” She adds, “Get to know people because they will be your life-long friends and your support system in your career.” Jennifer just helped two hygienists from Oregon Tech get hired at her clinic. Connections matter! Jennifer encourages alumni to reach out to her on LinkedIn and other social media channels.
~Becky Burkeen, Alumni Relations Manager