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Carrington College Blog

Alumni Spotlight – Meet Seonaid Winkle

April 12, 2012

Seonaid WinkleWe’re very proud of our alumni at Carrington College California, so we’ll be using ‘The Connection’ to introduce you to a few of them from time to time, allowing them to share their stories and hopefully inspire you with their success.

Born and raised in Oakland, CA, Seonaid Winkle went to junior college after high school, but wasn’t really sure of what she wanted to do. She took a bunch of different classes to try and find her niche, including an EMT class.

“I knew I wanted to work in the medical field, but I had no real direction. I kept seeing Carrington ads on TV, so one day I finally decided to go to an open day. I had planned on checking out a few schools, but when I came in to Carrington everything just fell into place for me so easily. I thought to myself ‘wow – this is where I’m meant to do this.’ I knew this was the path set forth for me, and I’m thankful it worked out so perfectly.”

Seonaid’s family was completely supportive of her decision, but it was her fiancé, TJ, who really encouraged her to go to back to school, first taking her to the open house, and then her orientation meetings.

“I’m really grateful that TJ and my family were all so supportive throughout; I’m lucky because I know that some families aren’t like that. I first looked into the Medical Assisting program, but it didn’t really interest me. But Dental Assisting did; the scheduling was awesome, and worked with my job at the time. It’s worked out to my benefit because I really enjoy what I’m doing now.”

Seonaid earned her certificate in Dental Assisting from our Emeryville campus. She graduated in February, and obviously made a good impression as an extern because she got offered a job in the very same dental office after her externship finished. It’s a small practice with one dentist, a hygienist and several dental assistants, some of whom, like Seonaid, work part-time.

“As of right now I’m happy working part-time, getting some experience, but eventually I do want full-time. The dentist told me that he might be able to hire me on full-time which would be great, but I’m happy at the moment, I really enjoy working with everybody here.”

Now that Seonaid has a few months real world experience under her belt, she can look back on her time at Carrington with an objective eye, and think about the competitive advantage that her education has given her.

“I knew that whatever program I chose, Medical Assisting or Dental Assisting, I wanted to be able to get in and out quickly, and be doing something I’d actually enjoy. Carrington gave me that. But the biggest benefit for me was the hands-on teaching, and having the opportunity to practice those hands-on skills; that gave me a real advantage. In fact that’s one of the reasons the doctor decided to hire me – he really enjoyed how I handled the instruments”

While accepting that college can be expensive, Seonaid considers her loan to be an investment in her future, and she makes an interesting point that prospective students should consider when deciding if they can afford to go to school.

“Some students may back out of college because they’re scared of the school loans, but it’s so definitely worth it. Why would somebody take out a loan for something materialistic like a car, rather than an education that could benefit them for the rest of their lives? I know I was lucky because I pretty much walked into a job and I’m thankful for that, because I also know that it’s not been that easy for others.”

Seonaid has her career path all set out. She plans to take her Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) licensing exam this August*, and then study for the RDA Extended Function (EF) certification that could help her enjoy a career working in orthodontics.

“The RDA EF is a good qualification if you want to work in an orthodontic office because it enables you to do more. It’s funny because I really didn’t enjoy orthodontics at school, but I did a little bit of ‘ortho work’ during my externship, and it started to really interest me.”

Once she completes her licensing, and has found her footing in a full-time RDA position, Seonaid and TJ plan to start saving for their wedding, which they’re hoping to enjoy in November 2013!

Thanks for your time Seonaid and good luck with your career, and good luck to you both for the wedding!


For comprehensive consumer information on our Dental Assisting program, please visit

*Carrington College California prepares students to take appropriate certification and licensure exams related to  their individual majors. The College does not guarantee students will successfully pass these exams or be certified or licensed as a result of completing the program.

Program availability varies by location.

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