photo collage of Kayleigh Short with title "Meet Kayleigh Short"

Dr. Kayleigh Short knows about transitions, both on the basketball court as a former Red Devil player and in life. For example, when she arrived as a freshman student-athlete at Lower Columbia College in 2004, she discovered that there were about as many people in some of her classes as there were in her graduating class at Petersburg High School in Southeast Alaska.

“I graduated from a class of 53 to a science class of maybe 53,” she said. What mattered to her was the abundant help and guidance she received, which she said was pivotal as she adapted to college.

“It was foundational,” she said. “A lot of one on one, a lot of good core work. I got a lot of the base things done there that set the course for my further education.”

Her education continued at Western Washington University and then in dental school at the Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health, where she received her doctorate. She opened her own practice in 2022 in Mukilteo, called Wholistic Dental Care.

As an outstanding high school basketball player, Dr. Short drew the notice of college coaches, including then-LCC women’s coach Jason Hosney, who was scouting players at the Alaska state high school basketball tournament. She said that LCC “wasn’t on my radar” but as she learned more about the school, its reputation and its smaller size she decided it would be a good fit.

She arrived as a shooting guard but later changed positions, helping the Devils win 26 games as a freshman and 20 the next season. The team earned spots each year in the Northwest Athletic Conference tournament.

Dr. Short said the experience of being part of the school’s athletic and academic community was life changing. She said she acquired skills that translated to her student experience and beyond. “As well as being a student-athlete, I learned basic skills such as time management and work ethic.”

LCC coaches demanded excellence on and off the court, she said. “Everything from getting in the right classes, to study sessions and follow through. Just managing that and using it efficiently. We only had two years there.”

Dr. Short said the community of student-athletes was critical to her success, leading to lifelong friendships. “My teammates are still part of my life every day,” she said.

Dr. Short stays in touch with what’s happening at her alma mater and recently visited campus. She said she is amazed at the positive changes and is pleased that further improvements are coming. As an LCC alum and donor, Dr. Short encourages others to support the college.

“LCC’s education and athletics have been foundational for me and many others in establishing lifelong values and relationships that have contributed to success in all areas of life,” she said. “With the consistent support of the school, teammates, and the athletic department, I have some of my best friendships and I elevated my education to complete a doctorate. Many others can share similar stories of achievement.”

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