In this issue, we catch up with 2013 Dental Assistant graduate, Judy Martell from Milan Institute in Nampa, Idaho. Judy now works as a dental assistant at the general dentistry office of Dr. Loren Francis, DDS. “The best thing about working for Dr. Francis,” says Judy, “is working with my patients and being able to talk to them. I love that I get to perform the work that I really enjoy.”
Even before becoming a dental assistant, Judy was a very busy woman. She owned and ran her own preschool, was wife to a husband that worked out of town a great deal of the time and was a super busy mom of seven kids in a blended family. Even with all of this on her plate, Judy felt she was ready for a new challenge. When she heard about Milan Institute on a television commercial, she decided to stop in at the Nampa campus and talk to an admissions representative. “At my age, I wanted to get into the field quickly, and I didn’t want to spend four years in college,” says Judy. “I felt like Milan and the Dental Assistant program would be a good way to reach that goal.”
Judy had worked previously as a certified nursing assistant, so she already knew that she wanted to work in a medical-related field. “I am compassionate and caring and enjoy helping people. I had considered going into the Medical Assisting program but I didn’t like the thought of being stuck with needles!” she admits. She chose the Dental Assistant program because she felt it would work the best for her lifestyle. The hours of the evening program at Milan were a big help to Judy in trying to fit school into her busy family life.
Reshaping her home and family schedule around her school schedule proved to be a major challenge. She had to make many sacrifices including missing out on her kids’ sporting events and various family functions. Judy’s older children provided a big help to her in making it all work out. They were able to help around the home when she was busy with studying and school. For Judy, her biggest challenge was trying to achieve perfect attendance. “I ended up missing only one day,” says Judy. “It was a tough decision, but my daughter was receiving an academic award at school, and I decided that was where I needed to be.”
“I feel like my biggest accomplishments in life are my kids and my education,” Judy says. “I have worked hard to get to where I am.” Her best advice she would give to her fellow Milan students is to stick with it even when it seems difficult and overwhelming. “Work hard to keep good grades and have a positive attitude,” she says. “You’ll make it, and having a successful career will be worth it in the end.”
Bubba Arredondo, a 2011 cosmetology graduate, set his sights on working in the beauty industry early in life. “When I was a child, my mom would take me along when she went to get her hair and nails done at a local salon,” he explains. “The work the stylists’ did and their talent awed me. I always knew I wanted to become a cosmetologist some day.”
While enrolled in an independent study high school, Arredondo heard about the Cosmetology program at the local Milan campus where he lived in Visalia, California. Wanting to get a better idea of what beauty school was actually like, he contacted Milan and set up a tour. “I loved it. It looked like a really fun environment and I knew it was just what I needed to get started toward my dreams of becoming a cosmetologist,” Arredondo said of his tour experience. Immediately he set to work on finishing his high school studies and then enrolled at Milan Institute of Cosmetology.
n the beginning, he found the cosmetology program to be a struggle for him. “I really had to learn how to study and work extra hard,” he reports. He considers completing the program and passing his state license exam to be his biggest accomplishment to date. “I graduated only the day before my scheduled testing date. I may have cut it close but at only twenty years old, I am proud to say that I did it,” he exclaims.
Currently employed by Shear Diva Salon in Visalia, California, he now works full time as a nail technician. This might surprise some of his former classmates and teachers. While in school, Arredondo loved cutting and styling hair but not doing nails. “I didn’t like doing nails at all,” he admits. It wasn’t until he became a licensed cosmetologist that he took a real interest in manicuring and now he specializes in nails. “I love making my clients happy. Most of them tell me to do whatever I want and just go crazy. Their fingers are like my canvas.”
Arredondo believes that it’s important to remember to never give up on your dreams. “You may face struggles along the way, but always do your best. Eventually you will succeed. I’ve accomplished so much, and my journey has just begun.”