Trauna Lewis UEI College

Dental Assistant Graduate Learns to Lead Through Positivity

Truana Lewis was getting by working various security jobs for concerts and events but when the pandemic shut down all those opportunities, just as she was turning 24, it caused her to take a deeper look at what she was passionate about. She found her answer at United Education Institute (UEI) in Las Vegas with the Dental Assisting Program.

“The perspective I have of myself is I’m not a quitter,” she said. “Whatever I put my mind to, I can do. Not a lot of people can do what I did. I understand that because it’s hard. For me, I feel like a rock star. I feel really proud of myself. I feel like I knocked down a lot of walls that my brain has built up for me. I’m no longer that girl who thinks I can’t do it. I did it and you can do it too.”

As soon as she stepped on campus at UEI, Truana felt excited. The walls were covered with pictures of graduates and the staff welcomed her in. When she began classes, her instructors set a positive tone. The fact that her program was focused on smiles added to the experience.

“I just feel like everyone needs a good smile from time to time,” Truana said. “Being a dental assistant was a way to help each other. It was the aspect of making people smile. It’s bigger than fixing teeth.”

Making people smile became a personal goal for Truana and the staff on campus noticed.

“Truana was an excellent student,” said Rose White, Campus President. “She always had a great smile and was friendly with her classmates and staff at the campus. She was always willing to help classmates at the Learning Resources Center. I saw Truana as someone who took responsibility for her education and made sure she stays on track and strives hard to stay on the president’s list.”

It was because of that dedication and positivity that Truana was asked to be an ambassador, a role that she grew into.

“I felt like not just anyone can be an ambassador,” she said. “You have to be able to lead people correctly, especially when it comes to school. That little piece of you that can help them and push them to keep going—that’s what I love. I wish someone was like that for me. I just thought if people need that extra push and someone thinks I can do that then the challenge is accepted. I loved it.”

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Truana’s example inspired many people on campus. She encouraged more students to become ambassadors and helped the program to double in size. By the time she graduated, she had a new outlook on life. Not only did she have the training she needed to become a dental assistant, but she had the training to become a leader as well.

“It was just the commitment of it. You have to stay committed,” she said. “A lot of times life gets in the way to where we have a habit of just trying to get rid of things that are making it the hardest.”

“Your brain tries to shut down that part of your heart that wants to do more with things like ‘Remember what happened last time? It didn’t work out so good.’ Sometimes you have to shut off that part of your mind and go into ‘Black Widow’ mode,” she said. “Focus on what you want and go straight into it. Don’t worry about what anyone else is talking about. Don’t listen to yourself when you say you can’t do it because you are literally doing it. That makes it easy to take that first step and after that, you just keep riding that bicycle.”

Truana was named honorary valedictorian for her class. She looks forward to gaining more experience at as a dental assistant and maybe someday going back to school to become a hygienist.

She said, “If I did this, what else can I do?”

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