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National News

January 20, 2012

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New Immigrants, New Language

New Immigrants, New Language

Flora and Rinat Bikbaev’s lives were changed dramatically when they won the lottery. Unlike the state lotteries most Americans are familiar with, the lottery the Bikbaevs won did not mean riches, but freedom. In 2010, they were selected through the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, a congressionally-mandated program that awards up to 55,000 “diversity visas” to citizens of countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.

The Bikbaevs, who hail from the former Soviet republic of Uzbekistan in central Asia, spent 20 years trying to emigrate to the U.S. – out of millions who hope to be selected for diversity visas each year. So it was that they came to America and, through family connections, settled in Roanoke as their new home.

Rinat, who was a computer programmer in Uzbekistan, obtained a job in a packaging plant. Though grateful for the work, he was eager to improve his English skills in order to find a better job. He and Flora (who was an accountant) pursued free English classes through a local church, where they were told of National College’s new English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) program (see below) and National’s Cultural Awareness Grant. They are now studying English at National College along with students from four other countries in the new program, which looks forward to a new incoming class of students next month.

The couple feel they are getting much better English instruction at National than they had previously taken in their native country. “Yes, the teachers [are] very good,” says Rinat. “Here in this college [they] use more Internet…[and] digital equipment, it’s very good.”

The Bikbaevs say they have already felt the improvement in their English-speaking after a month in the program, and each day grow more comfortable. As they adjust to their new home, they have found much to enjoy in the Roanoke area: the beautiful environment, the cultural opportunities – “shopping,” adds Flora with a laugh – they both agree that one thing about America stands out. “[My] favorite thing about living in the United States,” says Rinat earnestly, “It’s freedom.”

The English as a Second Language (ESL) program at National College’s Roanoke Valley Campus provides a daily program of language study for students who want to improve their English language skills, or students who want to pass the TOEFL test.

The program has six levels of instruction, eight-week terms, and small class sizes.  Help with tuition is possible for qualified applicants. Carpooling is often available with current students from Roanoke, Blacksburg and Salem.  For more information, visit or contact Reem Osman at or 540-444-5263.

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Campus Hosts Networking Meeting that Benefits Students

Campus Hosts Networking Meeting that Benefits Students

On Wednesday, January 11, the Louisville Campus hosted the monthly meeting of the Southwest Women’s Roundtable. Over fifty local business representatives joined Career Center Director Donna Reed and students in the business administration program for breakfast and networking. Ann Salerno, Director of Education and Training for the NCAA Women Coaches Academy and author of “The Change Cycle,” spoke at the event about how to survive and thrive through organizational change. The Roundtable was formed to provide professional women with potential-maximizing resources through networking opportunities and guidance from other businesswomen.

CAPTION: Pictured are Career Center Director Donna Reed-Carson, left, and Mary Hornek with Sharp-Hornek Bookkeeping Services, right, who enjoyed networking at the event.

Red Cross Blood Drive

Red Cross Blood Drive

On January 3, the Cleveland Campus partnered with the American Red Cross to host a Blood Drive. Director of Health Care Education Linda Lee organized the event with the Red Cross. Despite the wintry conditions in Cleveland, the blood drive went very well according to Mark Fleischer, the donor recruitment representative for the American Red Cross.

Throughout the blood drive, 19 people donated blood, 3 of whom were first-time donors. The campus met and passed its goal of recruiting 18 donors and collected 15 pints of blood. This blood drive will potentially touch the lives of 45 people! Special thanks to the students, faculty, and staff for their donation – and to students for helping to organize the event.

With a second Blood Drive scheduled for April, the Cleveland Campus is looking forward to a successful partnership with the Red Cross.

CAPTION: Pictured is student Carla Cinkole giving blood with Director of Health Care Education Linda Lee. Also pictured is Carla’s daughter, who came to support her mother.

Amidst Dreary Weather, Career Fair Shines

Amidst Dreary Weather, Career Fair Shines

On January 11th, the Lexington Campus held its first Career Fair Community Spotlight event for 2012. Despite the inclement weather, twelve vendors were present with job opportunities to discuss with students and graduates.

Judy Hensley graduates in April from the medical assisting degree program and is one of many students to attend the career fair. Eager to put her education to good use, she visited the many vendors who were offering positions in the medical field. She is pictured with Annita Rucker (far left) and Leslie Delphus (center) from Kelly Services in Lexington. Kelly Services' placement office had several positions available in the local area for qualified candidates. Annita and Leslie both work with the campus on a regular basis to provide exciting new careers for graduates in several fields.

CAPTION: Student Judy Hensley is pictured at the Lexington Campus Community Spotlight event learning about potential job opportunities from Kelly Services.

HIT Students Learn from Guest Speaker

HIT Students Learn from Guest Speaker

On January 18, students of the health and information technology (HIT) degree program at the Columbus Campus were visited by guest speaker Maria Clemens, who offered a real-world account of the HIT industry.

Ms. Clemens is the director of reimbursement and information technology at Management and Network Services, LLC. She talked to students about working in HIT for a long-term care facility. She explained the aspects of her work and organization that pertain to the careers HIT students may enter upon graduation.

Student Diane Harris, who currently works in long-term care, especially appreciated Ms. Clemens’ discussion about the Minimal Data Set (MDS) assessment tool that is required for long-term care facilities. “This will help me in the industry,” Diane remarked. 

CAPTION: Guest speaker Maria Clemons is pictured in the center with HIT students and Surgical Technology Director Gloria Livingston (left).

Success with New Career

Success with New Career

National College took Daniel Sivley (pictured) from a job to a career. While never adverse to hard work, Dan was searching for more than what he had found working for Federal Express. That search led him to the Nashville Campus where he enrolled in the pharmacy technician diploma program. One year later, he completed his program, graduating with a 4.0 GPA. 

Dan was hired and worked at the Kroger pharmacy for one year and gained valuable experience in the retail market. In November of 2011, he moved on to his present position with HealthSpring and found the career that he “loves.” At HealthSpring, he processes private authorization requests for prescriptions, dealing with all types of medical professionals and patients concerning their medications.

“National College gave me the education I needed to be successful in my career,” Dan said, “Knowing the different types of medications, the generics, and alternatives is essential to what I do every day.

Dan credits the college for his success: “I found the staff and faculty at National to be very proficient. I especially loved Dr. Bender! He really knew his stuff and kept us interested in class.”

Dan had some advice for other students. “Stay focused on your goal. Don’t let other things distract you and keep you from accomplishing what you set out to do. The staff and faculty at National will be there to support you.” 

The Five-Second Rule: Fact or fiction?

The Five-Second Rule: Fact or fiction?

You have probably heard of the “five-second rule.” Most of us have been tempted by it at some point in our life. There is only one chewy caramel chocolate left in the Russell Stover box and it is your favorite. You only treat yourself to these tasty nuggets once a year (Christmas, birthday, anniversary--you choose). You reach for it, and as you struggle to pull it from the tight slot in the box your grip fails and the scrumptious square hits the floor. You grab it quickly and call out “five-second rule” because you know that if you pick it up within five seconds there will be no bacterial contamination. And the chocolate is devoured! Or perhaps your two-year old child is gobbling cheerios during church service—the only way to keep him or her quiet—and more cheerios hit the floor than the mouth. You cringe slightly but allow the cheerios from the floor to be eaten. You may want to re-think your choices!

Director of Healthcare Education Patricia Sell recently sent her students at the Princeton Campus out of the classroom to culture a few items around campus. Student Patty Young decided to swab the bottom of her shoe and within 24 hours there was significant bacterial growth in the agar plate. 

So you have several of choices: 1) Aspire to the five-second rule and risk illness; 2) Reject the five-second rule and avoid the risk of ingesting bacterial contaminated food; or 3) Don’t eat anything off the floor if Patty has walked there!

CAPTION: Student Patty Young is pictured with her agar plate showing the bacterial growth from her shoe.

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.