Spotlight On Staff: Interview with Ms. Marcela Hamparsumian and Ms. Mia King

Mia King and Marcela Hamparsumian with Dean Krebsbach outside of the UCLA Dental Clinic entrance.
Mia King and Marcela Hamparsumian with Dean Krebsbach outside of the UCLA Dental Clinic entrance.
September 17, 2020


Dean Krebsbach: Firstly, thank you for taking the time to meet with me. I know you’re very busy. What are your roles at the dental school and how long have you been working for us?

MIA: My roles within the dental school include being a Registered Dental Assistant and facilitating the live surgical operations for the annual Implant Continuums. I have been with UCLA for the past 13 years.

MARCELA: I have had the pleasure of fulfilling a few different roles. Initially, I began my career as an Administrative Assistant for the Periodontal Faculty Practice. After 6 years in this position, I was promoted to the Dean’s Suite to be the Office Assistant & Receptionist. Most recently, and as a direct result of COVID19, I was tasked with assisting in the role of screening all of the post-doctoral patients prior to their appointments (roughly 200-250 patients a day). To date, I have been employed by UCLA for 14 years.

DEAN KREBSBACH: You’re both a crucial part of our current clinical protocols. What has been the most challenging part so far?

MARCELA: The most challenging part for me would have to be working during COVID-19 and trying to maintain an optimistic outlook when being faced with the unknown. It has been an interesting experience trying to navigate the daily changes stemming from the impact of COVID-19 while continuing to be a positive support system for the patients, my colleagues, and my family.

MIA: The most challenging part so far (which I prefer to call an adjustment) has been dealing with the impact stemming from COVID-19. The recent pandemic has challenged me to develop new ways to safely support our patients while also trying to balance my home life (which includes being a wife and mother). While I previously adhered to safety guidelines, as is the standard for UCLA, I have had to implement even greater safety measures to ensure the best quality for our patients, my family, and self.

DEAN KREBSBACH: What is the most rewarding aspect of working at UCLA Dentistry?

MIA: The most rewarding part of being employed by UCLA has been the stability and longevity. Prior to working here, I worked for a few smaller facilities. Since being brought on at UCLA, I have been able to continually elevate myself academically and professionally. UCLA has also afforded me with multiple career opportunities and access to their excellent employee benefits programs.

MARCELA: The most rewarding aspect of working within the UCLA School of Dentistry at this present moment is the positive support and feedback from the patients who my coworker Mia and I interact with on a daily basis. Being a front-line worker during a pandemic has caused a range of emotions from both patients and staff. However, when we receive a warm smile and encouraging words of support and gratitude from the patients who acknowledge our roles as front-line workers with families, and that we are all human at the end of the day, it makes the current global crisis a bit easier to tolerate.

DEAN KREBSBACH: What do you enjoy doing on your free time?

MARCELA: I love to cook and bake! I’m multicultural and I love to incorporate my diverse background into my dishes. Having grown up with hands on experience in each of my three cultures, I am very fortunate to be able to integrate a bit of all of my backgrounds into dishes that my family and I can enjoy. Each dish or dessert takes me back to a special moment in my childhood that makes me smile. I am also a wife and mother of two boys so I absolutely enjoy and appreciate every moment I get to spend with my precious family as well. 

MIA: In my free time I enjoy traveling, whether domestically or internationally, and spending time with my family.

DEAN KREBSBACH: What is a fun fact or something interesting that people may not know about you?

MIA: A fun fact of mine is that I’ve had the pleasure of walking on the red carpet at the Academy Awards (popularly known as the Oscars) consecutively for the past five years.

MARCELA: I’m trilingual and write fluently in Armenian, Spanish, and English. I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and during my early childhood years, my parents relocated permanently to Los Angeles, CA.