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March 23, 2012

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Students and graduates share success stories with legislators

Students and graduates share success stories with legislators

National College students and graduates from Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia attended “Hill Day” in Washington, D.C. from March 5th through the 7th to visit legislators and share their experiences as students.

Hosted by the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU), Hill Day is an annual event that provides the opportunity for both students and college officials to meet and advocate for college students to be able to attend the college of their choice.

In addition to training and educating students for today’s career fields, another important part of National College’s mission is to prepare them to be effective and contributing citizens in their communities, not only in the workforce but also in local, state, and federal government.

William Hartman will graduate from the business administration-management degree program at the Youngstown, Ohio campus this May. Prior to enrolling at National, he served for 2 ½ years as a field radio operator in the U.S. Marines. After sustaining an injury on the job, he was medically discharged. He found National College through a veterans’ website after clicking on a link for information on colleges that supported veterans.

During his Hill Day visit, Will met with Senator Rob Portman who represents Ohio. He asked the Senator not to support a bill that would limit how veterans can choose to spend their education benefits. He shared his story with Senator Portman and emphasized how National College’s small classes and one-on-one instruction has helped him earn a 3.7 grade point average.

Only a few months away from graduation, Will already has several clients lined up for a new business to install and repair garage doors that he may start as early as this summer. He is considering enrolling in National’s online bachelor’s degree program following the completion of his associate’s degree.

Youngstown student William Hartman is pictured talking with Senator Rob Portman about a bill that would possibly limit veterans’ options on which colleges they could attend with their tuition assistance.

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West Virginia
Parkersburg, WV
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Students and graduates learn how legislation on higher education could impact them

Students and graduates learn how legislation on higher education could impact them

During Hill Day, students, graduates, and educators participated in educational sessions which brought to light the current political climate, educational policy shifts affecting higher education, and discussions on the important role career training plays in preparing our nation’s workforce for today’s economy. Students learned about the importance of government legislation and regulation in opening access to education. In a breakout session, students and graduates learned how they as students can share the ways their career education has impacted their lives and how they can encourage their leaders not to unfairly limit access to an education that is allowing them to achieve their educational and career goals.

The next day, students had the opportunity to walk the halls of the Capitol and share their educational experiences with their respective legislators.

David Cooper, a student at the Florence, Kentucky campus, and Rhonda Watkins, a graduate from the Danville, Kentucky campus, were among several representing National College for Hill Day. Both David and Rhonda met with Kentucky legislators to express their concern for students and their right to choose which higher education options best meets their needs. David is serving in the Kentucky National Guard and is currently using the Chapter 33 GI Bill and the Kentucky National Guard Tuition Award to help with his tuition. During Hill Day, he took the opportunity to dispel the perception that the Pell Grant is like welfare. Without financial assistance, he said college would not have been affordable for his family.

Rhonda shared how she graduated with a medical assisting degree and has been working as a medical assistant at a local dermatology clinic for the past two years. Since graduation, she has been promoted to assistant manager of the office and now supervises a group of medical assistants at the clinic, several of whom are graduates from the same National program!

Both students shared their experiences to receptive ears and the experience as a whole was overwhelmingly positive.

PHOTO #1: Student David Cooper is pictured with Congressman John Yarmuth of Kentucky’s 3rd District.

PHOTO #2: Graduate Rhonda Watkins is pictured with Sarah Arbes (left) of Senator Mitch McConnell’s office and Whitney Smales, National College researcher and data analyst. Sarah and Senator McConnell are supporters of career colleges and know the value of the education that schools like National College provide.

William and Laura Holley, both National College students, spoke with five Virginia Senators and Congressmen specifically regarding the services National provides to its veteran students. Laurie enrolled at National’s Danville, Virginia campus in 2010 in the administrative office professional program and subsequently recommended the College to her husband William, who is now enrolled in the business administration-management program. William and Laura are both veterans of the U.S. Air Force and met overseas while on military assignments.

William and Laura spoke to the legislators about their experiences at National College. To a staff member for Congressman Eric Cantor of Virginia’s 7th district, they emphasized how National’s small class sizes and tight-knit community are positive factors in their educational experience, especially because military life includes a strong, family-like community.

A number of financial assistance tools supported William and Laura’s career aspirations, including the GI Bill and work-study programs. Additionally, they utilized the Blue Ribbon Grant, a program exclusive to National College that grants additional financial assistance to veterans, their spouses, and children. “If it hadn’t been for National College,” William said to a staff member for Congressman Morgan Griffith of Virginia’s 9th district, “I wouldn’t have been able to use those benefits.”

PHOTO #3: Students William and Laura Holley are pictured with Congressman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia’s 6th District.

Gennail Clark-Owens, a 2010 graduate the Memphis, Tennessee campus, was among several of the graduates representing National College for Hill Day. Gennail met with five members of Congress representing Tennessee. She shared her story with each legislator and explained why she chose National. She described how she served in the military after high school and upon completing her service she found that National College was a “perfect” home that fit in her work schedule. Now she is using her degree as a maintenance planner and engineer while also working on completing her bachelor’s degree.

Among her visits, Gennail was introduced to Congressman Phil Roe who represents the 1st district in Tennessee. Representative Roe expressed his support for Gennail and her education at a career college. She was also glad to meet her congressman, Representative Steve Cohen, from Tennessee’s 6th district. Since this Hill Day visit, Representative Cohen has accepted an invitation to visit the Memphis Campus.

Meetings such as those with Congressman Phil Roe of Tennessee’s 1st district are just one example of the positive feedback received from legislators. The Congressman asserted that career-specific training had a real place in today’s economy, especially as it is starting to improve. With financial assistance available such as National’s exclusive Workforce Development Grant and Blue Ribbon Grant, colleges like National are providing the means for students to access the education required to become qualified for today’s work needs.

PHOTO #4: Gennail is pictured on the left with Congressman Phil Roe (right) of Tennessee’s 1st district. Regional Director of Agency Development Gary Adcox and Bristol’s Career Center Director Meredith Jones are also pictured.

Students Yvonne Headrick, Walter Huckleberry, Ramsey Garnica, and Matt Dinovo also attended Hill Day to represent National College.

Yvonne Headrick graduated from the Indianapolis, Indiana campus with an associate’s degree from the web design degree program and the information systems engineering degree program. Now she is enrolled in National’s online bachelor’s degree program in information technology. She met with legislators to emphasize how National will help her fulfill her career goals of opening her own small business. During her legislative visits, she explained that National provides a community-focused environment, and that her educational goals are inspiring to her own family and friends.

PHOTO #5: Yvonne Headrick is pictured in the Russell Senate building as she waits for her next appointment.

Walter Huckleberry is currently enrolled in the medical assisting degree program at the Princeton, West Virginia campus. He is a veteran student, and although he has had previous experience in the medical field, he now aspires to a position that would provide him the opportunity for more hands-on patient care as a medical assistant. He met with several West Virginia legislators and found that his story was met with a universally positive reception. He explained the numerous veteran benefits he was able to utilize and the flexible schedule that allowed him to work and provide for his children. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia personally thanked Walter for his visit.

Ramsey Garnica graduated from the information systems engineering degree program at the Akron Area, Ohio campus in 2010. A veteran of the U.S. Army, Ramsey appreciated the financial assistance available to him at National, including those that coincided with his Chapter 30 GI Bill benefits. Ramsey spoke with Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Congressman Tim Ryan of the 17th District emphasizing the financial assistance available to him as a veteran and the hands-on career training he received at National that he uses daily at his job.

Matthew Dinova is currently enrolled in the information systems engineering degree program at the Fort Wayne, Indiana campus. A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Matthew is able to utilize the financial assistance available to veterans for their education. On Hill Day, Matthew had the opportunity to speak with a number of staff members of Indiana representatives, and explain how National has helped him pursue his career goals. “National College is very veteran friendly,” he explained.

PHOTO #6: (l to r) David Cooper, Walter Huckleberry, Matthew Dinovo, Laura Holley, William Holley, Rhonda Watkins, Ramsey Garnica, Yvonne Headrick, Gennail Clark-Owens, and William Hartman.

Student Gets Job Offer Before Graduation

Student Gets Job Offer Before Graduation

Two weeks before her graduation, Bristol Campus graduate Krystal Flores has already accepted a job offer. For the past several years, Krystal has been a stay-at-home mom to her young children. Her husband is a Sergeant in the U.S. Army and is the Army recruiter for the Bristol area. Krystal was excited to find out that her military spousal benefits would pay for most of her education at National College. She chose the pharmacy technician diploma program because she has always been interested in the medical field, having once been a certified nursing assistant. Her husband’s job could relocate any time, and the pharmacy technician program would allow her to get her education quickly. She also knows that pharmacy technicians are needed all over the country, so if she did have to relocate, she knew she would have a marketable skill set.

Krystal really enjoyed her time here at National. She notes her love for her instructors saying, “They really took the time to help me understand.” Krystal was hired at the Bristol Regional Medical Center as a pharmacy technician. She is working in the pharmacy filling prescriptions and making IV and antibiotic drip solutions for the entire hospital. Next month she takes the national certification test, and when she passes, she will get a pay raise. “[National College] helped me get motivated to take on school, family, and work,” said Krystal. “I proved to myself that I could do it all.”

Krystal Flores is pictured at work making IV fluids.

Lynchburg Scrub Club Organizes Food Drive

Lynchburg Scrub Club Organizes Food Drive

The Scrub Club, a club consisting of students in the medical assisting program, at the Lynchburg Campus recently kicked off a food drive to help the victims of recent tornados. Since the kickoff, 100 pounds of food have been collected. The paper products and non-perishables will be picked up by Gleaning for the World and distributed to areas that were recently hit with severe storms and tornados. Gleaning for the World has shipped 13 tractor-trailer loads of disaster relief supplies to the Midwest tornado victims, valued at over $330,000. Supplies sent include bottled water, blankets, non-perishable food items and cleaning supplies. The Scrub Club will continue the collection drive for the next few weeks.

Volunteer Opportunity Becomes a Job

Volunteer Opportunity Becomes a Job

In 2009, Carrie Mangus came to the Akron Area Campus after graduating from high school in Akron. She heard about American National University from a friend, and she knew that she did not want to attend a large University. “I was looking for a small school where I could get a lot of individualized attention.” Carrie found the right program for her needs, and she graduated in February with an associate’s degree from the administrative office professional program.

“I am shy by nature, so the bigger schools were intimidating to me.” Carrie came for a tour, and she was impressed with the small classes. She felt comfortable with the friendly instructors, and she soon began to have more confidence. Career Center Director Maxine O’Mara, helped Carrie with her resume, but because Carrie came to National right out of high school, she did not have any work experience. Maxine suggested that Carrie should volunteer at a business to gain office experience for her resume so she started volunteering for the Stow-Munroe Falls Chamber of Commerce. “Volunteering with the chamber really helped her to come out of her shell,” said Dean of Academic Affairs Norm Katz says of Carrie. “She was extremely shy, and when she started working, everyone could see a change in her. She even interacted more with other students and participated a lot more in class.”

Carrie did such a good job with her volunteer position that when she finished, the chamber offered her a paying job. Now she is working as the community showcase organizer, an event that will be March 31st and April 1st. Nearly 200 vendors participate in this event, and they are expecting nearly 1000 attendees. “This position has helped me to grow as a professional,” said Carrie of her new work experience, “I’m not as shy and I’m comfortable when I interact with new people.”

Carrie Mangus at the Stow Munroe Falls Chamber of Commerce is pictured preparing nametags for a luncheon with Governor John Kasich.

Partnership in Excellence Grant Helps Students Succeed

Partnership in Excellence Grant Helps Students Succeed

The Martinsville Campus recently received a Partnership in Excellence (PIE) Grant from the Martinsville Henry County Chamber of Commerce to help students with disabilities in the computer labs. The grant writer, Department Chair Pamela Vann Nutt, said, “Computer applications in most courses require the ability to enter information using the keyboard, a mouse and a monitor.” Pamela explained that students with arthritis, carpel tunnel syndrome, and motor problems cannot use the keyboard and mouse properly. She said some students have vision problems and cannot view what is on the monitor properly. The chamber grant proceeds were used to purchase an ergonomic keyboard, two screen magnifiers, and several non-prescription reading glasses. Pamela said that students using the equipment, like Buford Price, have expressed their thanks for the new equipment.

Buford Price is pictured using the ergonomic keyboard in a campus computer lab.

Contributing Citizens

Contributing Citizens

The Knoxville Campus held a Legislative Day on campus on Friday, March 16. As part of a range of activities centered around a voter registration drive, the campus invited area lawmakers to speak with students about the importance of voting, as well as to answer students’ questions.

State Senator Becky Massey, who represents the 6th Senate District, and Ms. Jennifer Stansberry, office manager for U.S. Representative John Duncan of the 2nd Congressional District, were in attendance. Students were very attentive as the two women discussed the importance of citizen participation, and how in numerous times in history just a handful of votes decided major issues. Students also took the opportunity to ask questions concerning state and federal sponsored student aid programs; jobs and the economy; and how to improve general health of society in Tennessee.

Sen. Massey (left) fields thoughtful questions from a class of medical assisting students.

Graduate is Now an Integral Part of Doctor’s Office

Graduate is Now an Integral Part of Doctor’s Office

Graduate Vanessa Hinsdale is an integral part of the medical team at Advanced Cosmetic Surgery & Laser Center where she works as an assistant to Medical Director John Mendelsohn, MD. She accompanies the plastic surgeon as he consults with patients and assists him in the operating room. She also manages his schedule, coordinates the operating room schedule, and helps with IT issues. “I have responsibilities and job duties that I would never have expected having, even when I was in school,” Vanessa said.

Vanessa, a mother of three, was working in retail management when she decided to return to school to make a career change. “I was sick of working every night and weekend of my life,” she recalled. She enrolled in the surgical technology degree program at the Florence Campus after qualifying for tuition assistance through the WIA program and vocational rehabilitation. The exclusive American National University Workforce Development Grant matched her agency funding. “I didn’t have to take out student loans [and] all of my books, tuition, and uniforms were paid for,” she said.

Vanessa continued to work while she attended school, and the flexible schedule at National made that possible. “It’s very feasible to do this while working,” she said, “I worked 20-30 hours a week. It’s not as hard as you would think it is.”

Her education and new employment in her field provide better pay, better benefits, and better hours than she had in the past. “If I did not go to school at National, I would probably still be working every holiday of my life,” she said. “I get to see my children now.”

Dr. Mendelsohn said that Vanessa has become a key employee that helps his practice run smoothly. “Vanessa’s a super hard worker,” he explained. “She has taken a significant role in coordinating the [office’s clinical operations].”

Vanessa said she hopes to have a long career working for Dr. Mendelsohn. “I am happy with my choice of careers. Dr. Mendelsohn has given me a lot of opportunities. I am hopefully never going to leave here.”

Personal Attention Fosters A Good Learning Environment

Personal Attention Fosters A Good Learning Environment

Terra Johnson recently earned her associate’s degree at the Pikeville Campus and has been hired as a medical assistant by a gynecological oncologist. The accomplishment is something that she never imagined that she could achieve, and it has given her a huge boost of self-confidence. “I’m so excited that I have my associate’s degree,” Terra said with pride. “It’s made me believe that I can do something with my life.”

Before enrolling in her program at National, Terra thought that a college education was out of her reach. She had attended a local community college but found that the classes were too large and that she wasn’t able to concentrate. “I didn’t have one-on-one with the instructors because they had so much they had to do,” she explained.

At National, she found the personal attention that she needed to succeed in her program. “Here, any time I need to, I can call or come down and talk with the instructor. It’s just like a family,” she said.

Terra also enjoyed the hands-on experience that she received when she was placed in a pediatrics office for her externship that is required of all medical assisting students prior to graduation. “They said that I was very efficient and dependable,” she recalled.

Terra is excited to get started in her new career. She plans to continue her education and work toward her bachelor’s degree through the online program available at National. “It’s definitely not going to stop here,” she stated. “I‘m going to work for a little while then I’m going to come back and get my bachelor’s degree online … in health care management. I know that it’s possible now,” said Terra.

Terra said that her husband tells her every day how proud he is of her. “We’re going to save for a house,” she said. “It’s been a great experience. American National University has definitely changed my life.”

Learning How to Making a Great First Impression

Learning How to Making a Great First Impression

On Tuesday, March 13th, the Richmond Campus held a workshop designed to help students build a positive image so that they could make a great first impression in their job interviews.

During the workshop Mary Kay Image Consultants Kelli Ratliff and ReNee Hooker gave helpful and easy tips and answered the many questions the students had on how they could present themselves as polished professionals to future employers. They advised students to arrive 15 minutes early for an interview; offer a firm handshake; don’t take your cell phone into an interview; be sure nails are neat and clean; and wear navy, black, or khaki clothing with just a touch of color.

Kimberly Moore, a student in the office technology professional program, felt that the workshop was very informative. “I learned so much today and I will definitely be using all the tips that they gave us.”
The workshop was not only a learning experience, but was fun for everyone. Door prizes were given throughout the workshop and one lucky student, Ronald Combs, business administration-management major won a $50 image and color consultation from Kelli and ReNee.

PHOTO #1: (l to r) Kelli Ratliff and ReNee Hooker
PHOTO #2: Students during event.

From the Banking Industry to the Operating Room

From the Banking Industry to the Operating Room

After fifteen years as a vice president in the banking industry, Jennifer Schnelle found herself unemployed when her bank was consumed by the financial crunch in 2008. After realizing she no longer wanted to utilize her accounting degree, Jennifer began looking into a new career. Her research showed that the medical field was very stable, even in a down-turned economy.

Jennifer decided she wanted a hands-on career in the medical field, but also a challenging and rewarding career that gave her a great deal of patient interaction. She chose the surgical technology degree program at the Lexington Campus.

“American National University was a perfect fit for me – flexible, evening scheduling, small classes, and a very personal, one-on-one atmosphere,” Jennifer explained. “[The campus] was also very close to my home, so my choice was an obvious one for me.”

Jennifer graduated top of her class in 2010, was immediately hired as a surgical technologist, and passed her national certification exam on her first try. She is currently working full time as a surgical technologist. She said she is proud of the example she has set for her children. “My husband and two children saw me lose my career… pick myself up, choose a new career path, and succeed. I hope that example shows my children that you can do anything you set your mind to.”

Students and Graduates Preview Job Possibilities

Students and Graduates Preview Job Possibilities

The Louisville Campus hosted a Career Fair on Tuesday, March 20, which gave students and graduates, as well as the public, the opportunity to talk with local employers about available job openings. Companies represented at the fair included UPS, Family Health Centers, the Geek Squad, Charter Communications, and Accounts Receivable Management.

Delvin Ellis, a veteran and graduate from the business administration—management bachelor’s degree program, visited the event to make new contacts and to gain experience talking with employers about his background and qualifications.

James Ziegler, a student in the business administration—management degree program, will be graduating in August and said he visited the fair to learn more about opportunities that are available. He was particularly interested in speaking with the representative from UPS about their administrative supervisor positions. “I have an HR (human resources) background—20 years in the military,” James explained.

Pictured is graduate Delvin Ellis talking with an HR rep from Comfort Inn & Suites

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.