Choosing a career path as a high school student can be a challenge for many students. Shyanna Collier-Burton, a Berks Career and Technology Center (BCTC) Dental Occupations / Brandywine Heights senior, also had the same struggle. In her 10th grade year, Shyanna was given an assignment by her English teacher to write about a possible career. After a little research, Shyanna became interested in the field of dentistry and wrote an essay about becoming a dental hygienist. Brandywine Heights Counselor, Miss Yusella, took notice and talked to her about BCTC’s Dental Occupations program. “I was very hesitant, but I took a chance, applied, and was accepted into the program,” Shyanna stated. “When I started BCTC my 11th grade year, I was very shy and quiet, but I eventually got to know my classmates and Instructor, Mrs. DeCarlo, and realized Dental Occupations is exactly where I want to be!”
The BCTC Dental Occupations program is designed to be a 3-year curriculum, but students like Shyanna can work at their own pace. Shyanna is currently working on the level 2 and 3 curriculum which includes infection control, anatomy, and preparing for the Dental Radiation certification. She noted, “my algebra, chemistry and physics classes I took in high school last year helped me prepare for Dental Occupations. There is a lot of physics going on with x-rays! This year I am taking biology, and it is exciting to see how everything ties into the dental field.”
Shyanna stated how dental care can impact a person’s overall health and the many practical things everyone can do to improve their life. “Little things like washing your hands before and after using the bathroom; and wiping off the shopping cart handles can make a big impact to preventing the spread of diseases,” Shyanna affirmed.
“I look forward to coming in every day,” Shyanna exclaims. “There are some days when I feel a little overwhelmed, but I have learned so much and dentistry is awesome!” Shyanna takes advantage of her time at BCTC, “I take the last few minutes before I leave and review some of the things I learned as a level 1 student, specifically the instruments, what they are, what they do, and how they are used.”
While dental hygiene may have introduced Shyanna to BCTC’s Dental Occupations program, she realized there are many additional career paths she could pursue in the field. Over the summer, Shyanna had the opportunity to job shadow at Gordon Pediatric Dental office. She stated, “It was awesome to be there and see the dentist and hygienists at work. I knew all the equipment they were using, and I even got to observe a dental consultation. This was the day that cemented my decision to continue my career in dentistry.”
Shyanna is planning to attend a university where she could earn both a biomedical bachelor’s degree and continue to dental school. While she is waiting to hear back from several universities, she has been accepted to the University of Northern Iowa. Shyanna professed, “I am ready to do something great with my life and it all started at BCTC!”