SPRINGFIELD — Future dental assistants celebrated their academic accomplishments and looked to their future at a pinning ceremony at Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) on Jan. 22.
Ten graduates of the dental assistant certificate program at STCC — Alyssa Diaz, Lizzy Kane, Sumeyye Kirca, Tatiana Lamas, Mina Maigari, Maureen Marini, Shana Nguyen, Jalayna Patterson, Melena St. Jacques, and Alli Stuetzel — participated in the ceremony, which honors their entry into the profession.
Faculty and leadership at STCC, including President John Cook, Vice President of Academic Affairs Christopher Thuot, and Kelli Goodkowsky, assistant dean of the School of Health and Patient Simulation; as well as trustees from the college, were on hand to congratulate the graduates. Dental assistant is a one-year certificate program at STCC.
“The dental assisting pinning ceremony is a truly momentous occasion as we gather to celebrate the culmination of hard work, dedication, and the unwavering commitment of these graduates,” said Samantha Kelley, chair of the program. “We have watched each of them transform from first-day students who were nervous about cleaning a dental unit to accomplished and talented dental assistants who can now fabricate the perfect temporary crown and take X-rays with their eyes closed.”
Kelley described dental assistants as “the backbone of the dental office.” They assist the dentist, but also perform a range of behind-the-scenes tasks to keep the office running smoothly.
While graduating students will be in demand for jobs in dental offices, some students choose to continue their education by studying dental hygiene, a two-year degree program at STCC.
Dental hygiene students Sarah Paré and Theresa Moran spoke to the graduates at the pinning ceremony. Paré and Moran started their STCC journey in the dental assistant program, which they said is rigorous and requires serious dedication.
“Your perseverance has finally paid off, and you should be incredibly proud of your accomplishments. We all are,” Paré said.
Graduating students received awards, including leadership and achievement awards from the Valley District Dental Society, which has provided scholarships and support for the STCC program.