Marissa Keplinger – Student Highlight

Marissa Keplinger is a student in the Dental Assisting Degree program. Before coming to West Virginia Junior College, Marissa attended Salem University for nursing. Marissa stated that Salem University was not the right fit for her needs and felt, after much research, that WVJC would be able to meet her needs. Marissa said, “That the environment is what makes her love WVJC.” Marissa feels WVJC truly cares about their students and wants everyone to succeed, unlike feeling like a number in the crowd at larger colleges or universities where they don’t know who you are.

Marissa really enjoys the experiences at WVJC.  She appreciates that many of the classes are hands-on, which helps assist her in her future goals and career path. Marissa also looks forward to the externship, where she will spend time at a dental office to gain a better understanding of how a dental office runs.  She also stated that the training during classes helped her experience how it would be in an actual dental setting and how to conduct proper patient care, like practicing dental procedures on fellow students instead of the mannequin heads,

Marissa said,  “She had spent a great deal of time trying to find the right career path she wanted to take. She job shadowed in the hospital setting and even assisted a teacher but was not passionate about those career paths.” Marissa knew that dental assisting was something she was passionate about because teeth are the first thing she notices about a person, and she wants to help people achieve a pretty and healthy smile.

She chose the Dental Assisting program at WVJC because she wants to help boost the confidence of others by helping people feel better about their smile. That is something very rewarding to her. Marissa looks forward to the rest of her classes and is excited about the job opportunities that will be available once she completes her program.

If WVJC’s fast-track Dental Assisting program sounds like the perfect fit for you, and you’d like to find out how you can get started today, request information here!

Rachel Pauley – Student Highlight

Rachel Pauley is currently finishing her last six weeks as a West Virginia Junior College student in the Dental Assisting Associate Degree program. She reiterates that she cannot believe how quickly 18 months have flown by. She reflects on the moment when she first walked through the doors at WVJC Charleston and realized that this was the school for her. “I adored the super kind staff and the upbeat attitude everyone had when I visited. I loved it from the very beginning. I was super encouraged to look into the school because I had always heard amazing things about the institution.”

Rachel chose WVJC’s Dental Assisting program because working with teeth has always been a dream of hers. She always loved visiting the dentist when she was young, and she knew it was a career field she wanted to pursue. Once finished with school, Rachel will be working at South Hills Dental as a Dental Assistant.

When asked about her favorite part of attending WVJC, she said, “Meeting new people and making new friends in classes. I have made some amazing friendships that I know will last a lifetime. I also loved the hands-on labs and practicing different procedures. Ms. Renee, our Dental Assisting Director, brings so much joy and happiness to the classroom as well. She has served as a role model for me to look up to. I was so nervous my first day, and she made me feel so welcome and excited to start. We have a special bond now, and I will miss her dearly when I graduate soon.”

To learn more about WVJC’s Dental Assisting program, request information here!

Chandice Litton – Student Highlight

Chandice Litton started the Dental Assisting program at West Virginia Junior College in June 2020. Before coming to WVJC, Chandice was attending Braxton County High school. Chandice wanted to become a dental assistant and knew that WVJC had a dental program. When she visited WVJC to see the program, Chandice really liked how small the class sizes were. She knew that with smaller class sizes, she wouldn’t feel so overwhelmed. She also enjoyed that the classes were hands-on and would help her understand and learn more in the classroom.

What Chandice loves most about attending WVJC is the friendships she has made while attending the school. She said, “with the classes being so small, you can socialize with everyone allowing you to make friendships with your classmate.” She also likes that you get to know the teachers well, making it easier to talk to them when you have a question about class.

The Stephen A. Callen Memorial Scholarship* was awarded to Chandice. She said, “I was in shock and very surprised. I was very excited and thankful to have been the one chosen for this scholarship, as it would be very helpful in paying for my college education.”

Once Chandice graduates from WVJC, she intends to work as a dental assistant in general dentistry. She doesn’t believe she wants to work with a specialist. She enjoys many things involving different aspects of dentistry, but general is the best option for her.

To learn more about WVJC’s Dental Assisting program, request information here!

*For those who qualify. See catalog for detailed eligibility requirements.

All Smiles Dental, LLC – Externship Highlight

All Smiles Dental, LLC is a dental office located in Bridgeport, WV. West Virginia Junior College has been fortunate enough to have a contract with All Smiles Dental for the past couple of years. This contract allows our students to complete their externship at their bustling office. Students work with up-to-date equipment and newer technology to expand their knowledge as a dental assistant. All Smiles offers dental care such as general dentistry, prevention, implants, denture, crowns, and so much more. This experience gives WVJC students the chance to expand and learn about the different areas of dentistry in one office.

Students who complete their externship at All Smiles Dental gain experience in four-handed dentistry; this means that the dental assistant’s two hands are assisting the dentist’s two hands, reducing the amount of time a dental exam or procedure may take. They are able to interact with the patients, take digital x-rays and even learn how to use a Cerec machine.  A Cerec machine is a machine where you take a digital impression of a patient’s mouth and design a crown. Then, that design is sent to a machine that utilizes computer-aided design (CAD) and can create a crown in the office. This valuable knowledge is what students look forward to in their externship.

Our students at WVJC Bridgeport are very thankful that they have the opportunity to complete their externships at All Smiles Dental. Students rave about how much they love going there and their experience while in the office. All Smiles has also expressed how grateful they are to have our WVJC students. They have also graciously donated their older chairs to the Dental Assisting program, which helps our students in the classroom.

WVJC Bridgeport graduate Kristina Conaway completed her externship at All Smiles Dental and stated that she loved the office. Kristina said she learned how to assist the doctor and take impressions and x-rays on patients by herself. She loved the experience that she received from the office and hopes to work at an office like All Smiles Dental in the future.

If you’re looking for a fast-track Dental Assisting program that can provide you an externship experience like the one our students receive at All Smiles Dental, LLC, then take the first step today and request information here!

Latasha Hedrick – Student Highlight

Latasha Hedrick is a mother of three and looking forward to her new career as a dental assistant.   Latasha is not new to the West Virginia Junior College family. She graduated the first time from WVJC in 2019 with an associate degree in Medical Office Administration. After graduating from that program, she began working at Mountain State Medical Specialties in Clarksburg. She enjoyed her work and the facility but wanted something more hands-on.

As a mom of three and the youngest only being seven months old, Latasha decided to continue her education one more time. She thought about what her interests were and wanted something that was not only hands-on, but also fast-paced, so she decided on the Dental Assisting program. Picking the program was harder for her than picking the college. Latasha knew she wanted to go back to WVJC!  “WVJC was a great fit for me the first time. The 18-month program, reasonable schedule, and small class size fit my availability with being a mom of three.”

Latasha enjoys being a mom and chasing after her kids, as most parents do. However, she is looking forward to obtaining employment as a dental assistant. Latasha has a lot to offer to any dental facility. Her degrees in medical office and dental will serve her well as an employee. Her ability to assist the dentist as well as the front office will be greatly beneficial and look great on her resume. “I look forward to this career path and can’t wait to start working.” Latasha is confident that her skills, education, and work ethic will serve her well in this field of study.

To learn more about WVJC’s Dental Assisting program, request information here!

Brittany Brown – Graduate Highlight

Before deciding to attend WVJC Charleston, Brittany Brown worked as a cashier at a local Doughnut Connection, earning a little over minimum wage.  She was a loyal employee and worked there for nearly 10 years. Brittany decided she was ready for a change and contacted WVJC. Brittany said, “I chose WVJC because an intelligent person that I know was enrolled in the Dental Assisting Program. She recommended WVJC because the staff is caring and down to earth, but still academically stern.”

During Brittany’s college visit, she knew she had chosen the right school for her career goals. She said, “The staff is remarkable! I decided to enroll that day and began my miraculous journey.”  Brittany chose the Clinical Medical Assistant Program because, at a young age, she was very interested in expanding her knowledge in the medical field. She said, “My favorite instructor is Dr. Settle because his teaching methods are straightforward and he goes into great depth to ensure students have the information they need for their medical careers.”

It seems like yesterday that Brittany walked through the doors of WVJC to start earning her fast track Associate Degree in Clinical Medical Assistant. Brittany completed her externship at the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department during the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to Brittany’s work ethic, dedication, and willingness to learn, she was offered a full-time position at KCHD. Now Brittany is an essential employee and she is working diligently to combat COVID-19.  A typical day as a medical assistant for Brittany is screening patients and taking temperatures, registering patients for testing, conducting blood draws, urine collections, and immunizations, updating necessary paperwork, and communicating with staff. Brittany said, “The faith and encouragement I receive at KCHD is astounding. Every day, I grow and mature into a better medical professional.”

Brittany said, “My favorite part of attending WVJC is the staff. They work around the clock to help students be successful. The support the staff at WVJC has provided is life-changing.” If you would like to know more about the fast track medical programs or other programs at WVJC, request information here!

The Growing Medical Industry In Kanawha County

The medical industry continues to grow across the United States and in Kanawha County. Healthcare employers are continuously looking for qualified medical professionals to provide patient care. To help with this employment demand, WVJC Charleston offers a variety of fast track, in-demand healthcare programs including Nursing, Medical Assisting, Medical Office Administration, and Dental Assisting.
The Nursing program at WVJC is a direct admittance program. Therefore, students are not required to take pre-requisite courses. The Nursing program curriculum prepares graduates to function as a member of a healthcare team within the scope and practice of a nurse. Students learn nursing diagnosis, planning, implementation, and evaluation of persons, families, and communities in a diversity of health care environments.

The Clinical Medical Assistant and Medical Office Administration programs prepare graduates for a wide variety of entry-level, primarily medical related positions, both clinical and office/administrative. Students learn clinical skills that can be applied in a variety of healthcare settings including, but not limited to, doctors’ offices, hospitals, clinical, urgent care centers, nursing homes, home health services, wellness centers, private care, and a wide variety of health care facilities.

The Dental Assisting program prepares graduates for entry-level positions as a dental assistant and related clinical and clinical administration careers. Students learn to assist the dentist with patient procedures, expose and develop radiographs, prepare instruments, perform lab procedures, and manage dental records.

WVJC works closely with local healthcare employers to provide well-trained medical professionals to the Kanawha County area. Students receive hands-on, fast-track training in a supportive environment. Students also gain real-world experience by completing externships at local doctors’ offices, labs, clinics, and hospitals.

Selena Ramey, WVJC’s Career Management Director says, “Now is the time to get started in the medical field.”  If you are interested in a career in the healthcare industry, contact us today to get started in classes!

Taylor Wagner – Student Highlight

Taylor Wagner is a student in the Dental Assisting program at West Virginia Junior College Bridgeport.  Prior to attending WVJC, she obtained her certification as a Certified Nursing Assistant through her high school.  She began working at a local hospital (United Hospital Center) and worked as a CNA for 5 ½ years before realizing this wasn’t the direction she wanted her life to go. Taylor reevaluated and made the choice to further her education with WVJC in the Dental Assisting program. Her future in dentistry was an easy choice for her. Taylor said, “I have always found dentistry interesting and loved going to the dentist growing up.”

Taylor is currently a full-time dental assisting student, while still working a part-time job as a CNA at UHC.  Taylor says that at times, “it can be difficult to have so much on my plate, but I continue to do what needs done, so that I can have the future I want. WVJC makes it easier because of the small classes, hands on activities, and close drive from home.”

Taylor is excited by how much she is learning and looking forward to putting her knowledge to the test in the workforce.  Taylor says she thoroughly enjoys Mr. Cutright’s classes.  “He is my favorite teacher. He is always there for his students and makes every class interesting.” As she approaches her last 12 weeks, Taylor is completing her externship hours at All Smiles Dental. “I love it there. The doctors are so nice, and the staff always answers my questions and makes me feel at home. I love the hands-on learning experience I am gaining.”

Taylor is not only excited to graduate but is really looking forward to a full-time job in a field she is passionate about.  Taylor is ready to begin her career but is also already thinking about one day continuing her education even further.

To learn more about WVJC’s Dental Assisting program, request information here!

Katie Eaton – Student Highlight

As teenagers, many of us had time in the chair at the dentist or orthodontist office. Often, this isn’t such a great experience, but in the long run it makes for a better smile! Meet Katie Eaton, a current dental assisting student at WVJC Charleston. Katie became interested in dental assisting when she had braces as a teenager. Katie also serves as the President and is actively involved in WVJC’s Dental Club. She says that it has been a phenomenal experience and loves being involved. Katie is also an avid reader and is always listening to music.

Being a young mother, Katie says that she is motivated by her family to pursue a meaningful career. “I have a passion for learning and trying new things, so dental assisting is just a step in my journey. I am excited to further my career.” Once she graduates from the Dental Assisting program, Katie plans on pursuing something in the field of psychology. She wants to continue to learn and strive to be an example of success for her family.

Katie said, “I chose WVJC because they offer an associate degree after only 18 months of hands-on learning in my desired program”. She wants to get out soon and begin working so she can support her family. When asked how WVJC helps her, Katie said, “The instructors ensure that I’m meeting all requirements needed to pass my classes. They genuinely care for each student. This really helps in reaching my goals.”

Katie hasn’t just enjoyed her classes and extracurriculars while at WVJC. She also enjoys the student services WVJC offers to help students gain employment after they are finished with their degree. “Meeting new people and networking with different employers has been a wonderful opportunity. It’s very refreshing to know that even while enrolled we can still get our names out there.” WVJC Charleston held their annual career fair on August 23rd, 2019, where about 30 employers met and spoke with students.

Medical Terminology has been one of Katie’s favorite classes so far. She loves to learn and is excited about the variety of courses WVJC offers. Katie said the Dental Program Director, Renee Rollins, always goes above and beyond to teach students what they need to know and provide an outstanding environment.

Katie lights up when asked about giving advice to other students who are attending school and may experience some struggles along the way. Katie says to “power through the fear and just get started. Also, stay focused and worry about your school work first.”

Katie urges anyone interested in WVJC to come and learn for themselves. “You will not regret your decision to attend, just make school a priority. Putting your schooling first will secure your degree and will be well worth the time spent earning it.” For more information, visit wvjc.edu!

Kristina Conaway – Student Highlight

Kristina Conaway is new to the West Virginia Junior College family.  She began her journey here in April 2019 and is very passionate about her dental assisting program.  Kristina attended a university prior to making the choice to enroll at WVJC, but the experience wasn’t what she was looking for and she began to feel that she was taking too many classes not geared toward her major. She felt uncomfortable in the class scheduling process and was ready to make a change.

Kristina chose WVJC because of the “smaller facility and class sizes, because I feel as though I do my best work in those conditions.  Also, I was excited to be offered classes that focused only on what I needed for my future career, especially the more hands-on classes.”  Growing up, Kristina was always fascinated with teeth and her visits to the dentist, so she knew she wanted to pursue a career in the dental field.  She is proud to have so many members of her family that encouraged her “to go for it.”

Kristina’s favorite part about attending WVJC Bridgeport is “getting the opportunity to work with actual dental equipment before entering a professional job, and the tremendous amount of effort and assistance all the staff in the building puts forth in helping make your time here as  uncomplicated and least stressful as possible.”  Her favorite class is Student Success Strategies.  She says, “there is no better class to start out with your first 6 weeks. This class gives you the guidance and advice you need to be successful in school and just life in general.”

When Kristina completes her education in the Dental Assisting program she hopes to quickly begin her career.  Her goal is to work at All Smiles Dental in Bridgeport, WV.  However, she is open to other opportunities and cannot wait to put all her effort and education to good use.  When asked if she would recommend somebody to WVJC, she said, “Yes! Everyone here is very friendly and so far nothing has been stressful!  They make getting into the classes you need easy. Classes are smaller and more personal so you don’t miss out on any assistance you may need, and the staff is very supportive and helpful in any way they possibly can be! I couldn’t have made a better choice than coming to WVJC.”