We continue to spotlight our alumni who have come back to Southwest Tech to share their talents with the campus and educate students. Krista Demo is a 2004 Dental Assistant graduate and now the instructor of the program.
I would describe my career path after high school graduation not as a straight path, but rather a winding and curving path. My sophomore year at Nebraska Wesleyan University, my advisor informed me that all of my general education courses were complete. I must choose a major. I had narrowed it down to two options – Social Work or Education. Two years later, I graduated with a B.S. in Social Work-Sociology. Prior to graduation, I knew I did not wish to pursue a career in the social work field, but I listened to my mother’s advice and completed my degree. Mom always said, “Get an education. It is something nobody can ever take away from you.” (She was a smart woman.) After graduation, I worked various jobs, including substitute teaching, which I couldn’t have done without a Bachelor’s degree. I really enjoyed being in the classroom subbing, but my work schedule was unpredictable.
After settling down in Fennimore, I looked at the programs Southwest Tech had to offer. At the time I was looking for a Hygiene Program. How surprised I was to find that the Dental Assistant Program was only one semester, the tuition was so reasonable and it was right here in Fennimore! I applied and began that fall. I loved the Dental Assistant Program and found teeth to be a new passion of mine. Marla Leibfried was an enthusiastic, caring instructor who became my mentor and friend. I graduated in 2004 and was hired at Clark Dental in Boscobel, the office where I completed my dental assistant clinical as a student. Two years later, Marla encouraged me to apply for one of the Dental Assistant Adjunct positions, and I was hired. I am grateful for the opportunity to have been able to work in the dental field and teach dental assisting simultaneously. In 2015, Marla retired, and I was hired as the lead Dental Assistant Instructor. I am so grateful for Southwest Tech and their impact on my career. I am able to do two things I love – teach and talk about teeth!
As an instructor, it makes me proud when a student gains confidence in their abilities. It is amazing to see the growth of students, even in a one semester program. When my graduates are hired, I’m very proud, but I’m even more proud when I see them being successful in their dental careers years after leaving Southwest Tech. I am also very proud of our awesome Dental Assistant Advisory Board. Their input, knowledge and support has contributed greatly to the success of our program.
I feel that every student should participate in the graduation ceremony. You have worked hard for your diploma, and I feel that should be celebrated.
My passions outside work include spending time with my husband and two boys and our extended family and friends, trips to Nebraska (The Good Life), walking, camping, kayaking and baking.