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Hart district ROP student wins two dental scholarships

Posted: May 19, 2008 1:55 a.m.
Updated: July 20, 2008 5:02 a.m.
This has been a good month for Melissa Rodriguez, a junior at Golden Valley High School who is enrolled in a dental assisting program through the William S. Hart Union High School District's Regional Occupational Program.

Melissa received word that she will receive a $500 scholarship from the San Fernando Valley Dental Society, and a week later her table clinic at the California Dental Association Spring Scientific Session earned her yet another $250 scholarship and a $100 cash prize.

"I was so surprised - I didn't know what to say," Melissa said about being told that she is one of two recipients of the Dental Society's dental assisting student scholarship. "I was shaking!"

Melissa's table clinic at the Anaheim conference was on the topic of "How Black Lights Affect Prosthetic Teeth." Dental assisting students had to submit an application to present a table clinic, choosing a subject in dentistry, then researching the topic, and preparing a visual display and oral presentation on the subject and its importance.

Melissa, the only high school student to make a winning table presentation, was also the only solo presenter for her subject. All other table clinics from different post secondary schools had multiple students that worked on and presented their topics.

The table clinics were first viewed by dentists and dental auxiliaries attending the conference. When the clinics were judged, Melissa placed third overall. In addition to her scholarship, her name will appear in the September edition of the California Dental Association Journal.

Melissa has been enrolled in the Hart district ROP dental assisting program for the 2007-08 school year. The after-school class meets at Clarita Career College in Canyon Country at no cost to the high school students. The students have the opportunity to earn their dental radiology certification while in the program.

As part of the curriculum, students also are placed in local dental offices during the spring semester. Melissa did her on-the-job internship at Dr. Rex Baumgartner's office in Newhall. At that office Melissa worked under the supervision of Registered Dental Assistant Judy Krywcun, owner of Dental Advantage, which provides courses for the Registered Dental Assistant licensing.

Next year as Melissa completes her last year of high school she can continue her studies and become a registered dental assistant. Students also have the option to continue studies at Clarita Career College where the Hart district ROP has an articulation agreement. Students are then given credit for the portions already covered in the ROP class.

Melissa plans to become a dentist and specialize in the field of prosthodontics.

The Hart district ROP dental assisting class is offered as a year-long course, beginning in August and concluding in May. High school juniors and seniors can enroll in the program at no cost, and adults may enroll for a small fee on a space-available basis.

Prospective students can contact the ROP coordinator at any local high school or call 259-0033, x231, for information.


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