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.”

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