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February 24, 2012

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Focused on Her Career

Focused on Her Career

Recent Columbus Campus graduate Joanna Reyes (pictured) is focused on her career in health information technology.  Even though she is just starting out, she knows just where she will be in a few years.

“I will be a manager,” she says with quiet determination.  “Health information management.”

The native of the Dominican Republic is already well on her way, thanks to her hard work and the education she received at American National University.  One of the first students to enroll at the Columbus Campus, she had worked for several year as a laboratory technician for a major food manufacturer, testing products for bacteria and other health hazards.  She wanted something with a patient focus, and found National’s associate degree in health information technology just what she wanted.

Joanna liked the individual attention she got in her small classes, and especially the personal experiences shared by her instructors.  “The teachers…they have a lot of experience, they have a lot of knowledge because they have been in the [field] for a long time.”  As she continued, she singled out one instructor, Patty Stevenson.  “She has been working in the health care field for 18-plus years,” explained Joanna.  “She has real-life scenarios, it was not based on the books only.  The books helped, but her experience, as a teacher, made us understand better.”

Joanna also took advantage of the career preparation provided by the campus, covering everything from résumé creation to interview preparation.  It all helped her land a job in her field several months before she completed her degree, performing patient processing for a hospital.

“The process, it was not easy,” she admitted.  “I went through three interviews, but the questions that they asked me, I already knew [the answers] because I learned it [here at National].”

Having recently completed her program, Joanna is very happy with her overall experience and excited for her future career.  ”It’s a really exciting job,” she said of her current position.  “It’s within my field, so right now I’m working on gaining more experience and trying to gain my [coding certification] so I can keep moving on in my job.”

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When Experience Wasn’t Enough, Graduate Moves Up with Degree

When Experience Wasn’t Enough, Graduate Moves Up with Degree

Graduate Nancy Smith (pictured) was recently promoted after earning her associate’s degree in business administration-management from the Pikeville Campus. She is working for a bank and her new position is commercial appraisal review processor.

Prior to coming to National, Nancy had worked her way up in different professional roles and accumulated 15 years of experience in management. However, when she started working for the bank, she had to start in an entry level position since she did not have a degree. This is when she decided to go back to school.

When she began her college search, Nancy researched area options and made several campus visits. She chose National because of the “caring” staff. She said, “I wasn’t sure if I would do well after being out of school for so many years, but with the encouragement of the staff and instructors, I was able to excel in my classes.” In fact, her instructor’s encouragement is what led her to decide to enroll in the College’s online business administration bachelor’s degree program which she hopes to finish by 2013.

Nancy qualified for tuition assistance from the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and as a result, she received additional funding from American National University’s Workforce Development Grant. Through this exclusive grant, the College matches funds to many federal, state, and local workforce development and worker retraining programs. Up to $6,000 per year may be awarded to students through this grant, allowing many to complete their education with little or no debt.

Nancy’s parents are proud of her, and her son has been so inspired by his mother’s achievements that he has enrolled in college himself. “I am a single mother and my son [used to] say he could never attend college because I could not afford to send him,” Nancy recalled.  “The fact that I attended American National University full-time while working full-time and completed my degree program was all the inspiration he needed,” she said.

Nancy enjoys everything about her new job and she’s already planning to take her career to the next level. “My associate’s degree helped me to move into my new position at the bank and I have high hopes that the bachelor’s degree program that I am presently attending will help me to obtain the high level management position I desire,” she explained.

Nancy has high hopes for her future and she can sum them up in a few words:  “Look out business world—here I come.”

H.I.R.E Program Gives Grad An Opportunity to Use New Skills

H.I.R.E Program Gives Grad An Opportunity to Use New Skills

The Lexington Campus has a valuable partnership with the WIA/Central KY Job Centers offices that help National graduates fund their education and find new employment opportunities.

The WIA/Central KY Job Centers offices are now participating in the new ‘H.I.R.E.’ program – Hiring Individuals Ready for Employment. HIRE is an internship program that focuses on recent graduates in the healthcare industry and provides job matches with local, participating employers in the medical field.  WIA Counselor Amy Glasscock said, “The HIRE program allows trained individuals to acquire real-world’ experience that may lead to permanent employment – or at least provide resume-building, marketable experience in their chosen field. The HIRE program does not guarantee employment – but does provide a chance for the graduates to show off their skills and hopefully be hired by a company participating in the HIRE program.”

Hope Cornett (pictured) is one of the recipients of such assistance provided by this agency – and, as a graduate in the surgical technology degree program, her opportunity is a tremendous one. She was employed for 15-years with a company she fully intended to retire from but the company was bought out and she was among several hundred folks who lost their jobs. Unlike a lot of folks who are faced with such a dilemma, Hope saw this as an opportunity for a new career. She felt a career in the medical field would be a secure career choice. Although unfamiliar with the field of surgical technology, she nevertheless felt the career would fit very well with her personality and skill-set. She also had 28 years of management experience under her belt, so she was very self-directed and able to make quick decisions with confidence. She said, “I chose American National University because it was close to my home, offered very flexible scheduling and small classes, and I noticed the team at the Lexington Campus was very supportive and encouraging. I would suggest to anyone who is thinking of furthering their education to go back to school and do it. If I can…anyone can!”

Working to Accomplish Career Goals

Working to Accomplish Career Goals

“Quality, affordable child care - that is what I need,” stated Rose Henderson. She asked herself, “How can I make this a reality for other families and myself?” She decided that the answer was to open her own child care center.

Rose (pictured) enrolled in the Florence Campus’s business administration-management degree program and receives tuition assistance from the WIA Youth Program and National’s exclusive Workforce Development Grant which matches funds to many federal, state, and local workforce development and worker retraining programs. Because of the financial assistance, she now has the opportunity to pursue her dream of gaining the business skills she needs to start her own business.

According to Rose, her instructors at National have helped her grow personally and professionally by sharing their experiences in the workplace, developing her oral and written communication skills, and encouraging her to “never give up.”  Before she came to National, she thought that there would be so many barriers to her fulfilling her dream, but now she knows that she can learn the skills (and confidence) she needs to see her dream become reality.

Student Finds Job Before Graduation

Student Finds Job Before Graduation

The new year is off to a great start for Sandra Allen (pictured), a student at the Richmond Campus. Her hard work in the classroom has paid off as she was recently hired to work in the accounting department of a Fortune 500 company. This is just a few weeks before finishing her associate’s degree from the business administration-accounting program.

Sandra didn’t think her future would look so bright just a few years ago when she lost her job. She knew that she needed additional career training but didn’t know how she could afford to go back to school. Then she discovered she would qualify for tuition assistance from the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program (TAA) to help pay for college and she decided to return to National. She earned a diploma in data processing from National in 1983 so she knew that this is where she could get the training that she needed for a career in accounting.

In addition to TAA, Sandra qualified for National’s Workforce Development Grant which matches funds to many federal, state, and local workforce development and worker retraining programs. She said she would never have been able to return to school without this financial support. Sandra said that her TAA case workers were “truly wonderful professionals” who not only assisted her with the funding that she needed to be successful, but who also offered her encouragement along the way.

Sandra thanks God for everyone that helped her get her degree including instructor Tom Fisher and all of her “wonderful” instructors and the staff in Richmond. She is also grateful to her employer who is giving her the opportunity to use her new degree and her previous work experience. But she said, “I would especially like to thank my husband, who believed in me.”

She Found "Calling" After Lay Off

She Found

Necole Arnold (pictured)  had always considered going back to school but she never worked up the courage to take the next step. That changed when she was laid off from her job at an office supply company.  “They told me at the unemployment office that they had a program that would pay for you to go to school,” she recalled.  “God works in mysterious ways. That was my calling,” she explained.

Necole enrolled in the medical assisting associate’s degree program at the Louisville Campus and received tuition assistance through the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program. She was also able to supplement her funding with the American National University Workforce Development Grant which matches educational assistance from agencies such as WIA.

As a student, Necole is enjoying her experience at National and said she likes that she’s attending a school where the teachers and staff know her by name. She said she appreciates all of the support and encouragement that she has gotten while at National and will soon have an opportunity to return the favor in a new mentoring program that she will be a part of. In this program, she will be matched with a new medical assisting student to provide them with additional support as they become familiar with their program.

Necole has worked hard in her studies and excelled academically as she has earned a spot on the Dean’s List three times. “I am so proud of myself,” she exclaimed. Now she is looking forward to the next stage of her education; her externship. As part of the requirement of the medical assisting program, she will work as an extern to apply the skills she learned in the classroom and get hands-on experience.

Upon graduation, she hopes to find employment in a physician’s office – specifically where she can work with the elderly. “I like helping people. You’ve got to have the heart for it,” she said.

Learning, Working, Helping

Learning, Working, Helping

Robert Robbins (pictured) is a federal work study student for the Danville Kentucky Campus who has been placed at the Central Kentucky Career Center to assist the center’s staff as they serve customers receiving assistance through the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training, the WIA program, Vocational Rehabilitation, and more.

Robert feels that his work at the center has helped him in the classroom as he sees the business principles that he studies applied to real life situations.

Emanual Gray, Employment Services Field Office Manager, said that Robert has been a great help at the center as he assists clients in the resource room, helps clients file unemployment claims and assists them with registering for jobs.

Robert finds his work at the center so rewarding that he hopes to find permanent employment there after he earns his business administration—management associate’s degree.  “I’ve had customers come in here that are extremely appreciative.  It means a lot when you can actually help them get back into the workforce,” he said.

Career Coach Bus Stops on Campus for Jobs Seminar and Referrals

Career Coach Bus Stops on Campus for Jobs Seminar and Referrals

Students recently had the opportunity to hop on the career coach bus that visited the Madison Campus and search for available jobs and prepare for job interviews. Thanks to the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the career coach bus has been out since April helping Tennesseans find jobs, with three mobile units which serve as “career centers” on wheels. The career coach buses serve multiple purposes and are equipped with 10 laptops streaming high-speed Internet connections where job applicants can apply for work and search available openings online.

Many students enjoyed the help from friendly career coach staff who assisted them with résumé preparation, job searching, and interviewing skills. Students were able to search long lists of job openings, and were recommended by the career coach staff for available jobs. Several students got job referrals after being screened for specific jobs in their fields.

Students learned a lot from the career coach bus visiting the campus, but the most valuable lesson they learned was how much their local career center can help them by providing services such as résumé preparation and critiques, job hunting and referrals, interview skills, and education on special programs available to job seekers.

Career Coach Specialist Michelle Hollingsworth had some great advice for the students: “There are several services your local career center can help with, but the most important thing is to have a résumé tailored toward each specific job you apply for,” she explained. “Then, when you get an interview, the best advice is to be well-prepared knowing about the company and the position being offered and you’ll do well.” For more information on the career coach bus, visit

Student Kierra Thompson is pictured on the career bus searching for a new job.

Graduate Passes Certification, Takes Latest Step toward Career Success

Graduate Passes Certification, Takes Latest Step toward Career Success

Medical assisting graduate Paulette Johnson recently became a certified professional for the second time. She passed the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) exam with the rest of her class but she also recently took the the CMA certification exam offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). The CMA (AAMA) means a professional edge, increased prestige among colleagues, and greater job security. This certification will no doubt help Paulette in her future career endeavors.

Working as a cosmetologist and a nursing aide, Paulette enjoyed working with people and was interested in getting a degree in the medical field. At first she was unsure of which degree until she learned about the medical assisting field. She decided on the Youngstown Campus’s medical assisting associate degree program because of its small class size. Paulette had the determination that she was going to succeed no matter what obstacles were in her way.

Paulette currently volunteers as a medical assistant at the Free Midlothian Clinic in Youngstown, and is now a member of AAMA with her local chapter being the Tri-County Medical Assistants.

Paulette said she gained a lot of knowledge through her coursework, especially from her knowledgeable instructors and through her hands-on experience. By the time she competed her coursework, she knew she had chosen the right field for her.

Paulette will soon start a 90-day program through the Ohio Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation (BVR) where she will work for a local foot and ankle clinic. She is very excited about this opportunity and hopes to find a permanent job in a podiatry office.

Pictured are (l to r) Instructor Paula Kelley, Paulette Johnson, and Director of Healthcare Education Veronica Zurcher.

Another Year, Another Round of Success for Surgical Technology Graduates

Another Year, Another Round of Success for Surgical Technology Graduates

Last week, the Akron Area Campus celebrated the accomplishments of four students in the surgical technology program. Nicole Raybould, Lauren Johnson, Emily Arus, and Dedre Pennel have finished the degree program and will soon begin their new careers.

Through this program, these new graduates have learned technical skills and knowledge required for entry-level employment as a member of a surgical healthcare team. Nicole, Lauren, Emily, and Dedre will soon have the opportunity to make their mark in this ever growing health field. In fact Emily completed her externship at Robinson Memorial Hospital in Ravenna, and they were so impressed with her training that she was hired into a permanent position.

Titus Greer, director of the surgical technology program, and Clinical Coordinator Jim Shurtleff are both pleased with the success of this class. “These students did exceptionally well in class, and their clinical performance was outstanding,” Jim said of his students. American National University wishes its graduating students all the best in their new careers.

New graduates (l to r) Nicole Raybould, Lauren Johnson, Emily Arus, and Dedre Pennel are pictured celebrating the completion of their degree program.

Medical Students Hold Annual Health Screening

Medical Students Hold Annual Health Screening

On Tuesday, February 7th, the Roanoke Valley Campus held its annual health screening for staff, faculty, and students. From morning until well into the afternoon, students from Director of Health Care Education MJ Williams’s Invasive Clinical Procedures class practiced various medical assisting duties such as checking in participants, taking height-weight measurements for body-mass index, checking blood pressure, and drawing blood to test cholesterol levels. The screening is performed annually and is a valuable exercise in medical assisting for National’s students.

According to student Junel Kitchens the health screening is a great way to brush up on the skills that those in the profession need to keep current. She explained that the screening is especially important for medical assistants because they perform more clinical and urgent care duties than facility-only certified nursing assistants, who primarily work in the doctor’s office.

The campus’s health screening clinic serves many with free health checks each year, bringing health awareness to patients and hands-on experience to students.  

Medical assisting students Amanda Williams and Katlin Early are pictured practicing a blood pressure test.

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.