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Alumni Spotlight: Brieanna Sullivan

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Brieanna Sullivan, who graduated from Summit College’s Dental Assisting program in October 2016, had nothing but amazing things to say about her experience there. “I feel like each step of the way they walked me through it,” she explained. “They prepared me for everything that was ahead of me”. Both Brieanna’s decision to become a dental assistant, as well as her decision to attend Summit College, was a very easy choice for her. She always had an interest in the dental field, but was not sure if she wanted to become a dentist right away. Brieanna decided she would try dental assisting first – and she absolutely loved it. She dove head first into the program and just in her first week she told herself this is exactly where she should be and what she should be doing.

The confirmation of her career choice was a combination of natural interest, but also due to her superior experience at Summit College. When doing her research to decide upon which school would be the best fit for her, she realized Summit College offered smaller class sizes that would allow her more opportunity to work with teachers one on one. She researched other options but the hands on, one-on-one experience is exactly what drew her to Summit. Brieanna finished the program in just 9-months and with an incredible 3.9 cumulative GPA. Each month within the program was focused on a particular module. Everything she learned was broken down into a month and focused on different areas such as x-rays or the various instruments utilized. Although her courses were Monday through Thursday, 8am to 2pm, she explained that they had additional resources available on Fridays, as well. If there was a module students were struggling with, teachers would come in, going above and beyond, to help students be successful.

Brieanna’s favorite part of the program was learning about x-rays as well as the flexibility of still being able to pursue her passions on the weekends. Not only does Brieanna continue to enjoy the dental field, but she also loves to spend her free time volunteering. She does a lot of volunteering at clinics, especially through her church including assisting in a dental clinic on Sundays. She also does a lot of mission work on the weekends and including volunteering at an animal shelter.

Now that she has graduated from Summit College, her focus went from full-time school to full-time work. She was immediately successful in obtaining a Dental Assisting positon. With beaming gratitude and excitement, Brieanna explained, “the job I am at now, Summit College found for me. They set up the interview for me and I got the job that day.” Summit has a placement program to help students in their job search. They provide resources from mock interviews all the way to follow-ups even after job placement. Brieanna currently works for a woman who owns four dental offices – three in southern California and one in Las Vegas. On top of this full-time position, she also enrolled at her local community college to further her education to be a hygienist. She is currently taking her pre-requisites part-time and working full-time at the dental office.

Brieanna has a lot of passion and aspiration and she is truly thankful to her professors at Summit College for helping prepare her. She described the curriculum there as challenging and an overall great experience. “Teachers were really great, they all pushed me. They all had a lot of experience and a lot to teach”. Brieanna continued to explain that everyone there was always pushing her forward. She is grateful for that help, especially now, because she has realized how much she was encouraged to learn and how that challenging coursework has really helped her in the long run. It opened up a lot of job opportunities in a field that is projected to only grow more. Not everyone gets a job interview immediately after graduating and gets offered the job that same day!

Moving forward, Brieanna explains that she most definitely wants to become a hygienist and maybe in the long run, she will become a dentist and open up her own private practice. For now, she will be continue to work on her pre-requisites and then will go full-time for her bachelor’s degree. Now that she has graduated and is working full-time, she has a couple pieces of advice to share with prospective and current students. First, Brieanna explained that she relied on, and became friends with, her fellow classmates. She continues to be friends with so many fellow classmates still to this day and explained that all of them are also working and/or going back to school. The other important piece is to “pay attention, learn as much as you can and ask a lot of questions. You can never ask too many questions”. If you’re confused or just curious, ask for help because the help is there. Look for the answers, especially while you’re in school. As Brieanna would say, “that’s why you’re there”.