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December 30, 2011

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A Bright Future in the Medical Profession

A Bright Future in the Medical Profession

Jennifer Vega and Christina Gonzalez, graduates from the health information technology (HIT) degree program at the Youngstown Campus, were recently hired in the accounts receivables department at Allied Pain Treatment Center as a result of their externships. Linda Richards, the campus’s HIT Director, is not surprised that these girls have already found jobs in their new profession. She said that as soon as Allied Pain Treatment Center requested students, she knew whom to recommend, “Both of these students knew before they graduated that their niche was accounts receivable.”

Before attending American National University, Jennifer worked as a seasonal tax preparer and as a companion for the elderly, but she wanted something more for a career. She decided to open new opportunities by pursuing a degree at the American National University.  She chose the HIT program because she saw that the field offered “many career opportunities with chances of advancement.” As an extern for Allied, Jennifer was offered a permanent position as an accounts receivable assistant for Workers Compensation before she finished her degree. She found National’s classes on reimbursement, coding, and anatomy to be specifically useful. Now that she is working, she has future plans to return to college and get a bachelor’s degree in health information management.

As a single mother of two children and part-time waitress/cook, Christina realized she couldn’t continue with her current work if she wanted a better life for herself and for her children. Realizing that the medical field was growing, Christina chose to study the campus’s HIT program because she wanted to work in the healthcare field, but not directly with patient care. She was also offered a permanent position at the pain and treatment center as a result of her work as an extern. 

Although she’s graduated with her degree, Christina realizes that the learning experience never really ends. She said that she learned a lot during her externship and is continuing to learn in her new job:  “I plan to learn even more aspects of the medical billing field and move up the career ladder.”

Jena Vastag, Jennifer and Christina’s supervisor at Allied, said she is very happy with the work from American National University externs. She hired both students and said, “I will continue to support the HIT program [at American National University].” American National University is proud of students like Jennifer and Christina who continue to impress local employers with their dedication and skill.

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Making a Difference

Making a Difference

In honor of its 125th anniversary, National College is celebrating with a “Day of Difference” at its campus locations as a way of giving back to the community for their support of the college. The Bristol Campus chose to make a difference by supporting the residents of Cambridge House Nursing Facility. “We tend to focus on children during the holiday season and sometimes the elderly get left out,” said Campus Director Doris Combs.

In late October, the campus set up a collection box for items that would benefit nursing home residents including body wash, deodorant, lotion, shampoo, toothpaste, snacks, puzzle books, etc. “It was so exciting to see the donation boxes fill up,” says student Misti Threlkeld.

During the collection drive, Cambridge Marketing Director Velma Barr visited the campus to share information about the nursing home and the available volunteer opportunities. She also offered encouraging words about balancing work, family and school.

On December 7th, students and staff sorted the 800+ donated items; boxed them in 125 plastic totes; and tied them with festive ribbon. Students, staff, and faculty personally delivered the boxes while they sang Christmas carols through the halls. Resident Evelyn Mallory said, “I loved everything I got in my box. There were things that I could use every day. I also loved the tote because I can re-use it.” 

For medical assisting student Cynthia Nieto, the event brought its own reward, “It meant a lot to me to give back to the elderly. Everyone really pulled together to make this happen. It was an emotional event.”

Two Job Offers

Two Job Offers

Ashley Bailey, a graduate in medical coding and billing program at the Pikeville Campus, found a new career with the Pikeville Medical Center (PMC). She was actually offered two jobs in the same day. The PMC hiring team was so impressed with her that they offered her the job of registrar at the main PMC location as well as a job as a clerk at a doctor’s office in another location in town. She has the unique opportunity to work a trial period at each location and decide which position is the best fit for her. This unusual offer is a testament to Ashley’s demonstrated skills and enthusiasm to be a part of their team.

Ashley has a drive to be in the medical field and loves that it is always changing. She came to National to pursue her dream job. “[National] really helped me out in my time of need… Miss Tara Burke, Miss Della Innis, Miss Pam Newsome, Miss Kelly Raupach, and Courtney Sparkman: These people have been a big support system for me,” she explained, “They were behind me 110 percent”

Ashley is also thankful for her husband, James, who is a student in the information systems engineering program. With his support and encouragement, she was able to reach her career goals.

The "Ultimate Resume Builder"


Recent graduate Justin Dickerson loves his new career since earning his associate degree in business administration from the Akron Area Campus in August. He secured a full-time position with Accountemps, a company that provides temporary employment services in accounting fields.

In his new job, Justin works in various positions in his field. His most recent assignment is working for L’Oreal in their freight billing department. In previous assignments, he has worked as a credit analyst. He likes gaining experience in different positions in the accounting field. “This job with Accountemps is the ultimate resume builder,” he said, “I am adding to the skills that I learned in the classroom, and growing as a professional.” Justin also likes that no two days on the job are the same. It is the “the best of both worlds,” he says.

Justin attributes his new career success to his American National University instructors. “The teachers had real world experience, so they taught me what to expect.” He also noted that that Career Center Director, Maxine O’Mara was a guiding force in his success, “She gave the best career advice, and she was very supportive in my job search.”

Phi Beta Lambda Bring Holiday Cheer

Phi Beta Lambda Bring Holiday Cheer

The Lexington Campus hosted its first Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) Holiday Party on December 15th. The PBL members regularly donate funds to a local non-profit organization during the holidays, but this year they decided to keep the charity closer to home and provide dinner and gifts to the children of Lexington Campus students. Students and their children were treated to a delicious buffet dinner, cartoons on the big screen, and holiday carols. PBL members, staff, and faculty made a big impression as elves for this special event. It wasn't a difficult decision to make this an annual event for the students and their children.

Toy Drive for Families in Need

Toy Drive for Families in Need

The Student Activities Council (SAC) of the Indianapolis Campus held a “Happiness for the Holidays” toy drive to collect gifts for families in need this Christmas season. “We were able to donate almost 40 toys so that families would be able to give something to their children for Christmas,” said SAC member Lori Thompson.

On December 16th, student volunteers wrapped the presents that had been collected. The gifts were then delivered to local churches to be distributed to area children.

Students Aid Salvation Army

Students Aid Salvation Army

The Student Activities Council (SAC) of the Charlottesville Campus recently organized a bell-ringing day at the local Kmart. Coordinating the event with Mr. Steven Leer of the Salvation Army, the SAC students volunteered in two hour shifts, from 10a.m. to 3p.m. on Saturday, December 10th. In all, they raised $283 for the Salvation Army soup kitchen and shelter.

PHOTO: (l to r) Mary Oxenrider (SAC chair), Tina Bachman (co-chair), Melissa Becerra (kneeling, secretary), Robert Payne, and Crystal Wood.

Angel Tree for Students’ Children

Angel Tree for Students’ Children

Danville Kentucky Administrative Assistant Angel Doss put together an Angel Tree on campus for those within the community that are in need. The Angel Tree has been a tradition on the campus for 4 years. This year, there were 36 angels on the tree and each one was blessed with a gift by someone else within the college. Thanks to all of the staff, faculty, and students for making the Angel Tree a success once again.

The National News is a biweekly publication designed to share the success and academic accomplishments of students and graduates from American National University and National College. For more information, contact the Communications Department.

In accordance with the regulations of the Tennessee Higher Education Council, all references to "American National University" refer to "National College" in the state of Tennessee.