By The Chicago Crusader
On Wednesday, October 9, Northwestern College (NC) conducted a White Coat Ceremony for its Dental Assisting Program students entering into their third and final quarter of the program. This is just the second such ceremony held at the College for its Dental Assisting students, with the practice first established during the Summer 2019 quarter.
The White Coat Ceremony at NC is a rite of passage for its Dental Assisting students, signifying hard work and the start of core lab skills that are necessary to graduate from the program. The formal ceremony further symbolizes professionalism and dedication to the field of Dental Assisting.
The small, intimate ceremony was held in Northwestern College’s Auditorium in Bridgeview. It served as an opportunity for the College and its faculty to honor the Dental Assisting students for their hard work and determination. Seventeen students were invited to participate, including: Isabel Arista; Jaclyn Benes; Asusena Cisneros; Jennifer Castillegos; Jacqueline Davila; Demarrous Davis; Samantha Gallegos; Kyontay Henry; Jasmine Jordan; Maggie Madela; Yesenia Rodriguez; Yazmin Rogel; Katarzyna Skerrett; Tammy Sykes; Tia Trigg; Brian Walsh; and Jaleesa Winston.
Carol Wooten, the Director of the College’s Dental Assisting Program, came up with the White Coat Ceremony idea, which the Dental Assisting faculty and College administration supported. Director Wooten believed that the initiation of a formal ceremony transitioning the students from lecture classes into strictly lab training would add some excitement to the Program, while simultaneously providing a ceremonial way for the students to look and feel like true professionals.
According to Wooten, doctors in the medical profession are given white coats when they begin their internships at hospitals. Similarly, at the end of their second quarter, the Dental Assisting students have completed all of their lecture classes, with only lab classes remaining.
“The White Coat Ceremony is a great opportunity to celebrate our students’ achievements!” Wooten proclaimed. “The ceremony provides an opportunity to not only recognize them for their academic accomplishments thus far, but the white coat and formal pinning symbolize the professionalism of the career path they have chosen.”
The October 2019 White Coat Ceremony began with welcoming remarks made by Dental Assisting student Tamara Pattie, followed by a presentation of the history of the profession given by Associate Professors Priyanka Tiwari and Gladys Nieves.
The highlight of the ceremony was the presentation of pins, with Director Wooten individually honoring each of the 15 students present by affixing a special pin to their white coats. After all pins were bestowed, as a group, the honorees recited a creed.
Closing remarks were made first by Katarzyna Skerrett, a White Coat recipient and honoree, then by Program Director Wooten. A reception for the honorees followed the ceremony.
Students who successfully complete Northwestern College’s Dental Assisting Program will have earned their Dental Assisting Certificate; they are eligible to take the Registered Dental Assisting (RDA) certification exam offered by the American Medical Technologists (AMT) to become a registered dental assistant. The RDA (AMT) certification is designed to signify entry-level competence in basic dental assisting competencies, providing them with eligibility for employment as dental assistants at private dental practices, dental clinics, or even for federal, state, or local government health agencies.
Northwestern College (NC) is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, 230 S. LaSalle St., Suite 7-500, Chicago, IL (312) 263-0456, www.hlcommission.org. The college offers focused career-oriented associate degree and certificate programs with flexible schedules and a supportive faculty. Day, evening, weekend, online classes and online programs are available.
More information can be found at www.NC.edu or by calling toll-free (888) 205-2283.
This article originally appeared in The Chicago Crusader.