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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Career Path Takes Sudden Turn

March 19, 2013

Kylie JohnsonKylie Johnson had always worked in a criminal justice environment, starting with the Bakersfield Police’s Explorers program and finally in the US Army’s Military Police. But, after exploring her options with an SJVC admissions advisor, she found herself drawn to the Dental Assisting program. Shortly after starting the DA program, she knew it was the right move.

“I loved it,” says Kylie, who at first thought the 14-month program would feel like forever. “Once it got going, it went really fast,” she says. “The teachers knew what they were doing and made sure we understood everything. They were always there for us.”

It didn’t take long for Kylie to find kindred spirits among the other DA students. “We were all there for the same thing,” she says. That shared goal brought them closer together. When Kylie was having trouble getting to school on time because her son’s pre-school was so far away, someone suggested one that fit perfectly with Kylie’s schedule.

Kylie’s husband, Zachary is in the military and was stationed in So. Korea, for most of the time Kylie was in the DA program. Kylie and their 3-year old son, Aiden, lived with her mom, Lisa and Kylie’s sister, Samantha, who both pitched in to make school possible. “I had great family support,” says Kylie who used her mom’s car to get to and from school.

Kylie took two important things away from her experience at SJVC: “I learned so much in the DA program and met some great people along the way.”

A lifelong resident of Bakersfield, Kylie recently moved with Zachary and Aiden to Colorado, where Zachary is currently stationed. They will be there for at least three of Zachary’s 6-year tour. “It’s time for me to get back to work,” says Kylie, who is looking forward to her first job in her new industry. She only plans to work as a Dental Assistant for a few years, however. “I want to advance my career and go back to school to get my DDS,” says Kylie.

It is important to Kylie to prove herself both in her field and as a provider for her family. “It’s a different kind of pride for you to say that you can do that, too,” she says.

Kylie isn’t sure if she can return to Bakersfield for the graduation ceremony in March. She didn’t get to walk across a stage for her high school graduation, getting her GED and enlisting in the Army instead. If Kylie isn’t able to make the trip back to share the stage with her fellow DA graduates, she wants to tell them something. “Thank you guys for being such a great support team. When I thought I would never get to the end, you helped me so much.”


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