Valerie Kay Nieto

Clinical Lecturer in Dentistry


Dental Hygiene




My passion for patient care was sparked in 2005 when I became a certified phlebotomist for the State of Michigan. In 2009, I earned an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Studies from Montcalm Community College, and in 2015 earned an Associate’s Degree in Applied Arts and Science, Dental Hygiene, from Grand Rapids Community College. While attending GRCC, I applied to the University of Michigan Dental Hygiene Degree Completion E-Learning Program and was accepted. I hit the ground running in the E-Learning Program weeks after becoming a Registered Dental Hygienist, where my passions to become an educator and researcher were ignited. In 2017, I earned my Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene from the University of Michigan, and shortly after was accepted back to U-M as the first Master of Science in Dental Hygiene Teaching and Clinical Research Fellow. The Fellowship has afforded the opportunity to gain experience in clinical research, and clinical and didactic instruction, while earning my master’s degree. My research has primarily focused on U.S. Veterans’ oral healthcare, with an emphasis on Veterans diagnosed with PTSD.