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February 17, 2012

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Long-Time Graduate Advances to New Career Heights

Long-Time Graduate Advances to New Career Heights

National College graduate Shannon Hall (pictured) has put his skills and training to good use at Lowe’s in Salem, where he advanced to the position of department manager for the Inside Lawn and Garden section this past October. Shannon graduated from the Danville Campus in May of 1998 with his associate’s degree in business administration, working while going to school before pursuing the professional opportunities that have led him to his current management position.

Shannon started working as a part-time employee for Lowe’s Garden Center in March of 2010. Prior to joining Lowe’s, Shannon balanced his studies at National with a job at an electronic retail store, and following the completion of his degree, he began working in telecommunications, broadening his skillset while at the same time raising a family. Having now advanced to his current management position, Shannon feels at home in a fulfilling career he plans to make last.

As department manager, Shannon is in charge of maintaining a sizeable corner of the store. According to Shannon, the biggest challenge of his position is the seasonal change of the department. “It’s always changing,” he said. He explained that it features new products each season; so while winter lingered, patio furniture was already on display for the spring season. Lowe’s also offers seasonal job opportunities, so he must always be prepared to manage new and temporary staff.

Shannon’s job success is an excellent extension of his academic record at National. Out of his 24 classes, he scored nearly all A’s; additionally, he was featured in Who’s Who in American Junior Colleges. He credits the outstanding faculty for their valuable instruction, especially past instructor Russell Still. A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Shannon also qualified for financial assistance through the G.I. Bill.

Combining a quality education with valuable work experience can open up new doors to a fulfilling career. For Shannon, that opportunity has presented itself. “I found the company I liked,” he said, “I’d like to move up through the ranks as the opportunity permits.”

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Business Representatives Advise Students and Give Mock Interviews at Luncheon

The Columbus Campus recently organized a luncheon with representatives in attendance from several area businesses. The purpose of the luncheon was to help students prepare for finding a job and entering the workforce. Companies represented included Accountemps, Adecco, Giant Eagle, Fast Switch, Office Team, and Fed Ex.

Career Center Director Detra Wilson spoke to the students and representatives about the College’s career readiness program and the job placement rate for graduates. Campus Director Joe DeLuca took time to emphasize the 100% placement rate for the health information technology degree program; while Catherine McKinley, department chair for the computer applications program, spoke about computer and technology training and how it can be implemented into the workplace. Community Resource Coordinator Stephanie Postma spoke about the College’s connections with organizations within the community.

Students had the opportunity to meet with the attending business representatives for mock job interviews. They asked the students questions just like they would in a real job interview and offered feedback. Business management student Toronna Davis said she picked up numerous new skills to take with her for the job interviews she will have once she graduates. “All students should go through a mock interview process,” she emphasized.

Young Student Program Visits Campus, Gives Taste of Life in Post-Secondary Education

Young Student Program Visits Campus, Gives Taste of Life in Post-Secondary Education

The Cleveland Campus opened its doors for students and staff from the Positive Education Program (PEP), a program for area high school students. The purpose of the open house was to educate PEP students on the importance of post-secondary education and to give them an idea of what college is like. Each of the campus’s department chairs presented short workshops to get the students involved and offer them a taste of the College’s available career training programs. “I truly enjoyed my visit and I know the kids did too,” said PEP staff member Jerry Kelly said. “The staff at American National University was able to spark interest in our students for post-secondary education. I know we will be in contact in the near future for some career activities at our center.”

PEP has been recognized for its excellent programming both locally and nationally. In 2000, the U.S. Department of Education and Department of Justice recognized PEP as an example of a model program providing intensive interventions to troubled students, and in 2007, PEP was highlighted by the American Institutes for Research as one of three effective alternative education programs in the United States.

Participants of PEP are pictured at the campus learning what it is like to be in college. Student Lawrence Speer is pictured in the back offering assistance during the ISE workshop.

Graduate Awarded $5,000 Scholarship to Further Education

Graduate Awarded $5,000 Scholarship to Further Education

Jeunessee Thomas (pictured), graduate from the business administration-management degree program, was recently awarded a $5,000 scholarship that she will use to pursue a bachelor’s degree.

As a student at the Bartlett Campus, Jeunessee worked hard to maintain a good grade point average. According to Career Center Director Lynn Scurlark, she has been an “exceptional student” and shows both determination and motivation in her accomplishments. In fact, she was awarded the scholarship as a result of her academic performance at National.

She is glad to have discovered National for her associate’s degree and the resources it has to offer. She said, “The instructors are very professional and helpful, and many of them go above and beyond the call of duty in educating and assisting students.” She went on to say, “The library at the Bartlett campus is filled with resources and the librarian was very helpful in teaching me how to research and write a term paper.”

Shortly after finishing her degree program at National, Jeunessee was offered two jobs in one week. She said, “I wish I would have come to National College earlier because obtaining a degree increases my chances of entering into a marketable career.”

Campus Celebrates Anniversary with a "Day of Difference"

Campus Celebrates Anniversary with a

In honor of its 125 anniversary, American National University 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 Dayton Area Campus chose to make a difference by organizing a teddy bear drive for the Dayton Children’s Hospital and local fire departments.

Organized by the student activities council (SAC), students encouraged everyone at the campus to bring in a teddy bear donation. Throughout December and January, the campus collected over 100 teddy bears that will be distributed to sick children at the hospital and to children that have been affected by a fire or other tragedies. SAC President Chase Douglas and Vice President Candice Fast (pictured) are proud of the number of teddy bears collected and are glad to be able to support this worthy charity.

Local Mayor Inspires Students

Local Mayor Inspires Students

On Tuesday February 14th, Stow Mayor Sara Drew visited the Akron Area Campus to meet with medical assisting students Jeannie Vanderhoeven, Melissa Tinlin, Tiara Tomlinson, and Renee Long. Mayor Drew took this opportunity to listen to students and gain a better understanding of the challenges facing many students who are balancing families, jobs, and education.

All four students will graduate in June with their associate’s degrees and they each had previously had unsatisfying jobs. They are also mothers, so they are aware of the struggles that come with balancing so many roles while working toward a degree. A single mother with a demanding career, Mayor Drew is an inspiration to many Akron Area students. As a result of this visit, Mayor Drew agreed to deliver the campus’s keynote address at the graduation ceremony in June.

Stow Mayor Sara Drew (center) met with medical assisting students (l to r) Melissa Tinlin, Jeannie Vanderhoeven, Mayor Sara Drew, Tiara Tomlinson, and Renee Long.

Business Student Prepares to Launch New Business

Business Student Prepares to Launch New Business

Shartina “Tami” Charles (pictured), a student in the business administration-management associate’s degree program at the Louisville Campus, will soon launch her new career as a distributor for Dudley Hair Care Products. She is confident that her new business will be a success due to the business skills and knowledge that she has gained at National.

Tami was recently awarded a $2,000 Education in Action scholarship through the Louisville Metro Community Action Partnership (LMCAP). The scholarship was awarded based on her application, grades, letters of recommendation, volunteer service, and essay. Tami’s $2,000 will turn into $4,000 when matched by the American National University Opportunity Grant, which matches scholarships from civic and social organizations such as LMCAP. She is impressed that National also gives back to the community through in-house grants such as these.

As a service-connected disabled veteran, Tami also qualifies for educational assistance through the Veterans Administration’s Vocational Rehabilitation program. Now she is able to reserve those benefits and use them to fund her bachelor’s degree program at National.

Tami said that she has been impressed by the outstanding support that she receives at National. “Angel Miller (Student Services Director) has been phenomenal in helping me decide on classes and in getting funding, as far as the military goes,” Tami said. “She makes me feel like I’m the only student that she has.”

Tami has also found National to be military-friendly in other ways. “I love the wall of veterans and the fact that the school pays such close attention to us,” she said. She also enjoys having several instructors who are veterans. “It’s always nice to exchange veteran banter and veteran stories back and forth,” she said.

Now that she is learning new business skills in her degree program, Tami is excited to get her new business started. “American National University has provided me with a vehicle to get a degree so that I can compete on a business platform,” Tami stated. “I ran to the opportunity and have been happy with the experience,” she said.

Student Follows in her Mother’s Footsteps

Student Follows in her Mother’s Footsteps

Jennifer Castorina (pictured) has always wanted to follow in the footsteps of her mother, a registered nurse, and work in the medical field. So it was that she enrolled in the medical assisting degree program at the Richmond Campus. She said that she was attracted to American National University because it offered small class sizes which meant “more one-on-one” time with instructors. She also liked the fact that her instructors had professional experience in their field and could offer examples from their medical office experience when teaching.

Soon after Jennifer completed her externship with the internal medicine practice of Dr. Anil Harrison, they offered her a job as a medical assistant. Now she works closely with Dr. Harrison each day as she takes patients’ vitals and performs tests and procedures. She said she is enjoying her job: “I love seeing the patients and the smiles on their faces.” Jennifer hopes to continue growing in her career at the practice and she would like to someday continue her education.

Opening Doors with New Degrees

Opening Doors with New Degrees

David Cooper (pictured) works full-time as a security guard at the front gate of a chemical plant and serves in the Kentucky National Guard, but he found that he was still living paycheck to paycheck. He hadn’t considered going back to school to advance his career until he met a American National University representative during his drill weekend at the National Guard armory who encouraged him to take advantage of the military educational benefits that he had earned by serving his country.

Now David is enrolled at the Florence Campus and he is well on his way to earning an associate’s degree in business administration-management and accounting. “I’d like to make more money and have a better life. I feel that with both of those degrees under my belt, it will open up a lot more opportunities than I have now,” he said.

David is using the Chapter 33 GI Bill and the Kentucky National Guard Tuition Award to pay for his tuition. Without this assistance, he said college would not have been affordable for his family.

Although it’s difficult juggling a full-time job, serving in the National Guard, and going to school full-time, David said National offers the flexibility that he needs. “That’s one reason that I came here - because they’re working around my schedule,” he explained.

David attended Northern Kentucky University when he was younger but found that he didn’t get the personal attention that he needed from his instructors. He said that he finds it easy at National to pull instructors aside and talk with them one-on-one. “The class sizes are perfect for learning, in my opinion,” he stated.

David has earned a spot on the Dean’s List every term of his enrollment and said that the honor has boosted his self-confidence. He hopes to utilize his degrees working for the government or for a major corporation in a high security position.

He said that he has “learned so much” at National and he would encourage others who want to return to school to take a look at American National University. “[National] certainly helped me a lot,” he said.

Students Celebrate Black History Month

Students Celebrate Black History Month

In observance of Black History Month, the Florence Campus recently attended the film “Red Tails” which depicts the historic and inspirational story of the Tuskegee Airmen who became the first African American pilots to serve in our country’s military. The film shows the two wars that they fought during World War Two: the one against racism and the other against the Nazi threat in Europe.

The film has had a tremendous impact on the students who saw it. Monica Caldwell, a medical assisting student, was so inspired by the film that she decided to act on a goal she has had for a long time to serve in the military. “The military has always been a dream of mine to pursue, and now I am ready to take the next step and join.”

Navy veteran and student Bobby Cook (pictured) said, “The Red Tails’ movie is a prime example of service to country. The only other way to experience the camaraderie shown in the film is to have actually served in a similar situation.”

Celebrating the Life of a Graduate and Employee

Celebrating the Life of a Graduate and Employee

American National University in Lexington recently lost a valuable member of the team - Martha Jane Selvage. After a tough fight, Martha lost a battle with cancer on Sunday, January 29th. She was a life-long resident of Kentucky who leaves behind her beloved husband, two daughters, and one son. She is also survived by a host of friends at the Lexington Campus.

Martha was an employee of Jockey International, Inc. for 26 years and then attended the Lexington Campus where she earned a computer applications degree in 2002. Shortly thereafter, she was hired as the administrative assistant to Campus Director Kimberly Thomasson where she worked the remainder of her professional career.

Despite the deep sadness of our loss, we celebrate Martha's life and the wonderful memories we all have of the time she spent with us. Her life was filled with family, love, career, and was, by any measure, a life well lived.

Martha Selvage is pictured accepting an award from Campus Director Kim Thomasson at a College inservice.

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.