view from campus

Progress on campus

By Bill Knief

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Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish took time out from a fundraising luncheon for her candidacy for governor at El Monte Sagrado, a KTAO interview with Brad Hockmeyer and a speaking date at the Chamber of Commerce annual meeting and banquet to pay a visit to the UNM-Taos Klauer Campus June 3.

At the newly completed Early Learning Center, program director Mona Montoya presented the Lieutenant Governor with the UNM-Taos Partners in Education Award “…in recognition of her longstanding commitment to higher education and steadfast support of the UNM-Taos Kid’s Campus Center for Early Learning.” After the brief ceremony Denish toured the growing campus: the Center for Early Learning, the 3 ½ acre solar array now under construction, the brand new Career Tech Building, and the LEED certified multipurpose classroom building scheduled for completion January, 2010. She spoke highly of the facilities and the vision that sparked them, and pledged her continuing support for our college.


“It’s good for the students and it’s good for the community,” observed Marta Romero, Dental Assisting Science Program Coordinator. “Students come in, work hard, get their foot in the door and eventually get hired in a dental office. In addition to the class work they get hands on experience doing their 300 hours working in local dental offices, and it gives the dentist the opportunity to see if a student is a good fit for their practice. It is attractive to students because they can obtain their certificate in as little as ten months.”

The Certificate in Dental Assisting Science is not easy to obtain, however, Romero was quick to point out.

“We pilot off the Gallup program; we use the same curriculum, and this spring we had 11 students graduate with a degree in dental assisting. They go to classes four nights a week for spring and fall semesters, and in the summer they go to class full time, but two of the classes they take are internships in dental offices, so they can complete at least some of their required 300 hours there. Students study hard and have lots of work to do. But the best thing about this program is you’re with the same students for ten months, and by the end it feels like one big family; we give each other a lot of support.

“A few years ago I was part of the first UNM-Taos graduating class, and then I went on to get my certification from the Dental Assisting National Board. Once a student gets their Dental Assisting Certification they can continue to get State and National Board recognition, and work anywhere in the country in infection control, chairside assisting or radiology.”

Because of the intensive academic schedule, students that wish to apply must demonstrate their willingness to complete the program.

“They need to fill out an application and get a letter of recommendation either from one of their instructors or their employer.” Romero explained. “We meet with them and go over the entire course. They need to complete CPR certification—that’s part of the course—and they have to have insurance, there is a lab fee, and they need to get their vaccinations done. If they are willing to meet all of the requirements and commit for the entire ten months, they can sign up for the class.

“We have a maximum of only 15 students, so I urge anyone interested to get started right away for the fall. They can call me at 741-0672. I will send them information about the program and an application. When the seats are filled we stop taking applications, so, the sooner the better!”

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