Six CCCE Dental Assisting Graduates Ready for the Workforce

MEXICO – “I am proud each time I see students excel in a rigorous program like this,” said Executive Dean of Workforce Development and Community Education Carla M. DeShaw during the graduation ceremony.

From left, CCCE Liaison for Workforce Initiatives and Corporate Programs Paula Hayes, Dental Assisting Instructor Melanie Kerschner, Executive Dean of Workforce Development and Community Education Carla M. DeShaw, graduates Katalyna Aquzar, Taylor Knopp, Hannah Fravor, Tracy Gibson, Shelby Fravor and Melissa Buck, CiTi Assistant Superintendent for Personnel Mark LaFountain and CiTi Board of Education President John Shelmidine.

The 690-hour program is offered through CCCE, a partnership between Cayuga Community College (CCC) and the Center for Instruction, Technology & Innovation (CiTi), and includes coursework such as dental theory, emergency care, infection control, preventive dentistry and dental radiology.

“These students have benefitted from having an amazing instructor, who we are lucky to have on our team,” said CiTi Board of Education President John Shelmidine.

Dental Assisting Instructor Melanie Kerschner spent years caring for patients in the western Alaskan wilderness, many cut off from roads and access to oral health options. She now brings a wealth of expertise and passion to the CCCE Dental Assisting program.

“You’ve each demonstrated to me that you can handle whatever life throws at you,” said Kerschner to her students.

In addition to coursework, the program offers the opportunity to work directly with dentists in a variety of job shadowing experiences. Graduates are eligible to take certification exams, which lead to licensure.

“You chose to come to CCCE to make a better life for you and your family,” said CiTi Assistant Superintendent for Personnel Mark LaFountain. “As you were here studying, your family supported you, and they are here tonight supporting you.”

Students Melissa Buck, Taylor Knopp and Shelby Fravor were presented with National Technical Honor Society awards. Buck was honored as valedictorian and Knopp as salutatorian.

All graduates were also presented with a WorkKeys Center certificate, a portable credential that validates job readiness.