Dental Assistant Student Turns Passion for Helping Into Valuable Career

Britney Rocha is a mother of three who was trying to make ends meet as a pizza delivery driver when she got the call that her sister had been killed in a terrible car accident and her nephew needed somewhere to go.

“It all happened so suddenly,” she said. “I had to go straight to the hospital to find my nephew. My nephew was rescued from the car with just a few scratches and bruises.”

Now with four children living in a small apartment, including one with special needs that requires around-the-clock care, Britney and her husband felt trapped.

“I felt like I needed to put aside grieving and everything because nothing was going to get better without trying to put that aside and have me and my husband focus on taking care of our kids and provide them with the possibility of having a home one day,” Britney said.

With her husband’s support, Britney decided to seek out a new career. She enrolled in the Dental Assistant Program at UEI College in Fresno.

“I’ve always had a fascination, like when I was a kid, with going to the dentist and seeing them treat teeth. It inspired me to focus on that,” she said. “With my son, when he goes to the dentist he gets really scared. He’s autistic and non-verbal. It inspired me to work with special needs children and help them be able to cope.”

‘She’s a leader of leaders’

Right away, Britney’s instructors said they could tell she was special.

“She’s a leader of leaders,” said Michael Credille, DA Instructor II at UEI Fresno. “She’s determined, she’s focused, she’s dedicated, she’s driven. She’s willing to go the extra mile. She’s willing to take the extra steps and basically put on extra gloves to go to work and help everybody out. She has a love and passion for what she does. She loves life. She loves the community. She loves working on patients. She just loves what she does and she lets that be known.”

That leadership comes from a deep desire to help.

“I was a child of abuse and no one helped me when I was young,” Britney shared. “Getting to help others so they can feel like there’s someone there for them or someone actually cares, I feel like that’s the thing that will help someone else be motivated to make a change in their life.”

Seeing that compassion for others, Mr. Credille encouraged Britney to become a Student Ambassador. She agreed.

“When I got involved, I realized UEI College was legit,” she said. “I realized seeing those behind the scenes that so many teachers did so much for other students that they wouldn’t even realize. Not only are they trying to help you succeed but they’re making those phone calls to make sure they can work around your schedule to make sure you graduate. They made sure there was student involvement to motivate the students and show them they care. That helped me go a long way.”

“Britney never missed any meetings and always served her hours weekly,” said Michael Lee, Student Services Coordinator. “Britney’s compassion to help and perseverance in all her work illuminates the good character that she is.”

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During her externship, Britney got the chance to put her helpful nature to work.

“I got to have hands-on experiences with patients,” she said. “When the patients would trust you to brush their teeth or do sealants on their mouth it gave me more confidence. It made me feel like this is something I can see myself doing for the rest of my life.”

Britney’s ultimate goal is to become an advocate for dental patients with special needs. For now, she is working as a Dental Assistant at a dental office in Fresno. Her unique experience as a special-needs mom is a valuable asset. Someday she wants to return to UEI as an instructor to continue giving back.

“There’s always a reason to say you can’t do something or you don’t have the time but with UEI, all the staff really care and they will work with your schedule,” she said. “They want to see you succeed. It sounds cliché but they actually mean it. They take the time to work with you. They’ll make sure you get to your goals.”

If you’re interested in becoming a dental assistant, consider enrolling in UEI College’s Dental Assisting Program. The program is short-term, allowing students to graduate in as few as 10 months! Learn how to become a dental assistant.

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