INA, Ill. (Nov. 10, 2016) - Dr. Lucas Steele spent a long time in school. That’s what happens when someone goes for that prestigious doctorate degree. But, thanks to his local community college, Dr. Steele was able to make that journey a little shorter by completing his bachelor’s degree a year earlier thanks to dual credit courses.
Dr. Steele grew up on the family farm in Vergennes, but moved to Pinckneyville in seventh grade and graduated from Pinckneyville Community High School. While at PCHS, Steele took advantage of as many dual credit opportunities as he could.
“I took full advantage of the dual credit system that PCHS and RLC provided. The ability to take classes such as English, Speech, Psychology, and Health really helped with the stress of transitioning from PCHS to college,” he explained.
“Those classes I took made me get out of the high school mode of thinking and made me start to think out of the box to help transition to college level course. I believe the dual credit classes allowed me to mentally prepare for future college classes. The teachers were great, and knew you were still in high school so they were more than willing to help you become a better college level student. It didn’t hurt that those dual credit courses are free. There was no reason not to take advantage of that.”
Thanks to those classes, Dr. Steele was able to earn his bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences with a Minor in Chemistry from SIUE in just three years, where he graduated cum laude. He went on to the Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine where he received his Doctorate of Dental Medicine.
He continued his education by doing the Advanced Education in General Dentistry Residency at the SIU School of Dental Medicine. During his residency, Dr. Steele placed and restored over 150 implants cases, received advanced training in the different aspects of oral surgery, and completed many full mouth rehabilitation cases.
After finishing school, he returned home to help on the family farm. He described staying connected to the farm as one of his favorite hobbies. He was also excited about helping and providing quality dental care to the community he grew up in.
To that end, Dr. Steele recently joined Dr. Ralph Chapman as an associate at Pinckneyville Dental Care, located at 1000 S. Main St. in Pinckneyville.
“The profession of Dentistry has always interested me. The technology and just what dentists do in general is changing all the time,” Steele explained.
“What we can do now compared to a decade or even a few years ago is incredible. For me I knew I wanted to be a dentist since I was in high school. My goal throughout college was to be a dentist and that never once changed. Each one of us sets goals throughout life to try and achieve and sometimes we get there and sometimes we don't. Being a dentist has always been my greatest goal so it was a feeling of accomplishment. I love helping people from this area and going to work every day always presents itself with new challenges and opportunities.”
And, it all started with Rend Lake College providing a local high school student with free, college-level courses.
“I believe the dual credit system is a great opportunity that students need to utilize. College is only becoming more expensive and every class you take will help you with that financial burden. RLC helps high school students transition to a different state of thinking that will help prepare students for college,” Dr. Steele said.
“The hardest part of transitioning from high school to college is becoming overwhelmed with how hard classes can be. Know that everyone feels that way. It’s easy to put added pressure on yourself when that pressure is not necessary. Keeping your head up and focused on the goals you have set for yourself is one of the most important qualities a college student can possess in my opinion.”
For more information on dual credit opportunities, contact the Rend Lake College Academic Advisement Center at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1343. Students in the Pinckneyville area can also explore all the opportunities offered by the RLC Murphy-Wall Pinckneyville Campus by calling 618-357-3742.