Santiago came to Bates by way of Wenatchee, where his uncle, a denturist, lives. He enrolled in a local community college to pursue a nursing degree, but because of encouragement from his uncle, decided to switch gears and work toward becoming a denturist.
A native of Bacolod City, Philippines, Santiago said his uncle gave Bates high recommendations, and spoke of his own success in the profession.
“I liked the flexibility of being able to own my own clinic someday,” said Santiago, who started the Dental Lab Technician program in 2009 while waiting for a spot to open in the Denturist program.
“Being in the dental lab program will ultimately make it easier for me to understand dentures in general,” he said. “I like that as a denturist, I’ll be able to work with the public and see different people all the time.”
Santiago hopes to start the Denturist program in spring. After he earns his associate of technology degree, he will return home to gain work experience and eventually open his own business.
“If it wasn’t for Bates, I would have never thought it would have been possible for me to be a denturist.”
|Jae Hoon Choi|
Jae came directly to Bates from Pusan, Korea, in 2009 to enroll in the Dental Lab Technician program. His aunt, a former dental lab technician who lives in Buckley, told him about the profession and spoke highly of Bates.
“Bates is my first American school, and I found it really easy to talk with my instructors,” said Jae, pronounced Jay.
Jae enjoys his experience at Bates. “I know people from different backgrounds, and I now have American friends. It’s different from Korea—everything is different. American people smile a lot, and there is a drive-through for everything.”
He noted that while instructors John Howard and Kris Merriman help make learning terms and concepts easier for him, his peers are also easy to turn to when questions arise. “My classmates are really helpful and kind. I really appreciate them.”
And even though there is a language barrier, Jae is learning the elements of the program with ease. “The style of teaching is great, especially for international students who need extra help understanding terminology.”
After earning his associate of technology degree, Jae plans to continue his education at a four-year college. He still has three quarters left at Bates, so when you see him around, be sure to welcome him—and flash your big American smile.
Two years ago, Sunju came to America for a new experience. She participated in a homestay and took English as a Second Language courses at a community college near Seattle.
A dental hygienist in her hometown of Changwon, Korea, Sunju, who pronounces her name Soon, decided to transfer to Bates’ Dental Lab Technician program so she could both learn English and pursue an associate of technology degree in the field.
“Bates has helped me to learn English, and I love the dental lab program and my new friends,” said Sunju, now in her fourth quarter.
She noted that Laurie Arnold, the college’s international student advisor, was very friendly and helpful, and she always spoke clearly to make sure Sunju understood.
Sunju appreciates that her instructors are easy to talk to. “When I don’t understand something, I can ask a question or my classmates will help me out.”
When asked her advice to international students seeking a similar experience, she said, “Do your best, so you can finish and work toward your goals.”
And that’s exactly what Sunju is doing. After she graduates next year, her goal is to work in Korea as a dental lab technician.