Karen Alba, who is the photo and x ray assistant for initial patients, has been the mentor I was with the most during my internship. Karen is kind hearted and compassionate. She was always willing to allow me shadow her and teach me her daily routine in the office. Although Karen was very focused and dedicated to her work, she has a humorous side and would occasionally lighten the mood by making jokes and racing me to put gloves on. I chose to interview her because she had the biggest impact on me and I enjoyed shadowing her because she worked in multiple areas of the office and I wanted to know more about her background and how she got to where she is today. 

Karen started her journey with orthodontistry after high school. She could not find a job and was interested in being a dental assistant. She attended Kaplan college, now known as Brightwood college, for one year. While being at Kaplan, she received basic knowledge and skills on becoming a dental assistant and was able to train hands on with professionals for 216 hours total. 

 When Karen graduated from Kaplan college, she began looking for a job. She started off working at a office that was strictly dental, then was exposed to limited Orthodontics and wanted to learn more. Karen was looking for jobs on Craigslist and found Hidden Valley Orthodontics. She contacted the advertisement to apply and shortly after was hired. She works in many areas of the office. Mainly in the records room for new patients, but she also helps keep the flow of the main floor running, sterilizes equipment, and cleans/dresses the chairs for appointments. While she loves what she is currently doing, her main goal is to become an RDA (Registered Dental Assistant) so she is able to have more patient contact. Karen contributes so much to the team and always has a positive, outgoing attitude that makes the environment positive and welcoming. 

 Karen is fairly new to the company and she just started working in January. She has learned so much throughout the past few months and is always looking for ways to improve. Her favorite thing about working at Hidden Valley is the staff. Everyone who works there is always so positive and encouraging which makes the atmosphere pleasant to be in. She also enjoys the lectures that Dr. Fortney gives. “They are always very informative and I always learn something new each time I go to one.” (Karen Alba) 

It was a pleasure to be able to work with Karen and I learned so much from shadowing her because of the various tasks we would do. 

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 “With anything you do, start early. It never hurts to have a head start because it can lead you to many opportunities later.” -Karen Alba 

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