Chelsea Lovin - Dental Assisting

Chelsea LovinAfter a short career working in various customer service positions, including restaurant and hotel management, Chelsea Lovin was ready to pursue something different.

"I was fulfilling the need of being around people and being customer service-based, but there was something missing," said Chelsea, who holds a bachelor's degree in tourism management from Central Washington University. "I was ready for something new."

Chelsea had always been fascinated with science, and she was familiar with Bates-her father is longtime instructor Jeff Lovin. So she decided to enroll in the college's Dental Assisting program.

"I was especially attracted to the idea of interacting with patients and helping people," said Chelsea, who began classes in April 2011 and graduated with an associate of technology degree this year.

She spent the latter half of her studies working at the college's dental clinic, where she studied under dentist Dr. Abbie Hage and worked directly with patients.

"Dr. Hage was a wonderful teacher," said Chelsea. "She made me feel so confident and knowledgeable about what I was doing-even though I was terrified. It was great having her as a senior resource to help guide me."

Chelsea enjoyed the hands-on opportunities that the program focused on during her two-year experience at Bates. "I'm definitely a visual, hands-on learner, and I loved the opportunities I had to work chair-side at the clinic," she said. "I read about the task, watched it, then did it myself, hands-on. It is a great teaching technique," added Chelsea.

After working in Bates' dental clinic, she began an internship that turned into a job following graduation at Puyallup Valley Dental Care.

"It's a wonderful private practice," she said. "Working there was a big learning experience, and I was blessed with amazing dental assistants that helped me with so many aspects of the job, including how to help patients feel comfortable at the dentist's office," said Chelsea.

Chelsea splits her time at the Puyallup practice performing administrative support and working chair-side with patients. "My goal is to become a full-time chair-side assistant, increasing my skill and knowledge level to become a senior assistant."