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May 04, 2012

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Ohio Legislators Learn About the Positive Impact National College Students Make

Ohio Legislators Learn About the Positive Impact National College Students Make

On Tuesday, May 1st, students and staff from all seven campuses in Ohio attended “Legislative Day” at the state’s Capitol Building in Columbus, Ohio, organized by the Ohio Association of Career Colleges. Along with other career colleges, representatives from National College met with state legislators to share the positive impact its graduates have made to Ohio and its economy.

Joe DeLuca, Campus Director of National’s Columbus Campus, said it is important to attend events like Legislative Day so legislators will learn the “staying” power of National College graduates. He said, “We educate Ohioans in high demand career fields and help them find jobs in local businesses; our students live, work, play, and stay in Ohio.”

During Legislative Day, participating National College students and staff personally met with Ohio legislators and offered examples of how lives were changed with new careers. Student Joshua Balko shared his own personal story of success with Senator Joe Schiavoni who represents Ohio’s 33rd District. He was born and raised in Northeastern Ohio. After graduating from high school, he joined the Marines and served two tours in Iraq but due to an injury he could not continue his service. Shortly after he returned home, he enrolled in pharmacy technician program at the Youngstown Campus. The day and evening courses available at National College gave Joshua the flexibility he needed to manage family time while working a full-time job and attending classes. In addition, he managed to complete an externship with Rite Aid Pharmacy in Boardman, Ohio where he was offered a job upon graduation. He will graduate this May with a job offer already in hand.

Renee Long from the Akron Area Campus told Representative Kathleen Clyde’s Legislative Aide Faith Oltman, that she was able to enroll in the medical assisting degree program with the support she received from the Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG). The tuition assistance from OCOG combined with institutional grants from National College gave her an opportunity to pursue a new career. Like many National College students, Renee is a hard working adult with family responsibilities. While helping to care for her son after a severe car accident, the medical staff at the hospital where he son was receiving care told her she was a “natural.” They encouraged her to look into training in the medical field. Two shorts years later she is looking forward to starting an externship this summer and putting her classroom knowledge to practical use.

Student Joshua Balko is pictured at "Legislative Day" talking to Senator Joe Schiavoni who represents Ohio’s 33rd District.

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Seminar Gives Professional Makeover Tips

Seminar Gives Professional Makeover Tips

On Monday, April 9th, Regional Director of Agency Development Toni Freeman (pictured) held a seminar at the Roanoke Valley Campus for students with tips on how to dress professionally for a job interview or in a work environment. The seminar was coordinated by Career Center Director Kristal Bushong. Toni is a successful Mary Kay consultant and spoke about the importance of putting your best face forward. The focus of her presentation was on looking flawless and professional, with particular focus for the women who attended the seminar. She explained that women who wear make-up typically earn 20-30% more money. Participants were then given a step-by-step tutorial on how to apply skin care and make-up products. After the makeovers, business administration-accounting student Lynn Vanness said she found the presentation helpful. She said she now feels more prepared to enter the professional world. “I can tell a big difference [from this makeover],” she commented. “I don’t look as tired.” Lynn said she attended the seminar because she wanted tips on how to look more professional.

Staff and Students Celebrate a Day of Difference for Veterans

Staff and Students Celebrate a Day of Difference for Veterans

On Saturday, April 21st, the Akron Area Campus celebrated American National University’s 125th Anniversary with a ‘Day of Difference.’ Students, staff, and faculty joined together on this day to assist in building a homeless shelter for veterans. The National team worked side-by-side volunteering with Habitat for Humanity to build Valor Home, a 30-bed facility that will house and provide rehab services to homeless veterans.

Department Chair Bob Wilkinson organized this event. He is also chair of Valor Home Committee and is very passionate about issues affecting veterans.

Medical assisting student Renee Long battled the chilly weather to help build walls for the facility. “It was a heart-warming experience to give back to our veterans who have sacrificed so much for us,” she said.

The entire American National University team worked hard and enjoyed the opportunity to make a difference in our community.

Pictured making a difference are Instructor Kim Smotek, student Renee Long, and student Tracey Endress.

Position Allows Student to Use All of Her Knowledge

Position Allows Student to Use All of Her Knowledge

Five months before her graduation, business administration--management student Teresa Cecil (pictured) has put her newly acquired educational skills to good use. Teresa was hired in December, 2011 as a legal secretary for the Princeton team of Jerome McFadden, attorney-at-law, and Tonya McFadden, a clinical psychologist. According to Teresa, almost every class she has taken at the Princeton Campus has come into play at her job. Knowledge from her ethics classes is put to use when she requests medical records and schedules appointments for both employers.Teresa uses her accounting skills when she does taxes and posts payments to accounts. And she uses her small business and organizational management knowledge when her employers are out of the office, which she manages in their absence. Teresa’s education, warm friendly nature, and positive attitude all combine to make her an excellent employee. Teresa, praises Elaine Owens, her career center director at National College, for the assistance she received in finding and securing her position and encourages students who are looking for employment to meet with her immediately.

Mock Pharmacy Gives Students Hands-On Experience

Mock Pharmacy Gives Students Hands-On Experience

Even though book learning is quite valuable, hands-on experience really brings to life what students study in their textbooks. Jessica Hurst, a pharmacy technician student at the Columbus Campus, had such an opportunity recently when Instructors Nicole DiSabato and Noah Sharp held a mock “pharmacy fill” during class to help prepare students for situations they would deal with on the job.

A pharmacy counter was set up in the classroom, and Jessica played the part of the pharmacy technician. Nicole was the “pharmacist” and Noah was the “customer.” Several likely pharmacy situations were recreated. For example, Noah pretended that his medicine was causing bad side effects. In another instance, Jessica had to balance dealing with a customer with several distractions happening around her like a ringing phone. She was also tested in dealing with a customer who was rude and abusive to the staff; and she had to deal with one who was trying to obtain a fake prescription. All of these are situations that upcoming pharmacy technicians need to be prepared to deal with.

Jessica was really appreciative of the mock pharmacy fill, and found it very beneficial. “[It] helped show me what it is like in a real pharmacy,” she remarked. “It helped me figure out how to deal with all kinds of customer and patient needs.”

Jessica is pictured practicing her pharmacy tech skills during a mock pharmacy class exercise. Instructor Nicole DiSabato (aka the "pharmacist") and fellow student Noah Sharp (aka the "customer") help create a real-life scenario during the exercise.

Career Fair Leads to Job Opportunities

Career Fair Leads to Job Opportunities

For many students, the journey to a new career may have started at the career fair and networking event held at the Lynchburg Campus on Thursday, April 26th. Twenty-five businesses and employers were on campus to meet with job seekers and showcase their companies. Students came prepared with their resumes and enthusiasm as they spent the afternoon networking and gathering information for their job search. The results landed several students job opportunities and interviews for possible job offers.

The Virginia Employment Commission encouraged students to register their resumes with Workforce Connection to expand their job search. Banks, staffing agencies, and major employers were busy throughout the afternoon looking at resumes and answering questions from potential job candidates.

During the career fair, soon-to-be-graduate Kierra Ferguson found a part-time job and an externship site for her final term in the medical assisting program. Several other students filled out applications and set appointments for employment interviews. She said that her confidence and networking skills were definitely enhanced by attending the “First Impression Workshops” sponsored by the career center with Regional Director of Agency Development Toni Freeman and Community Resource Coordinator Lloyd Deloatch.

Many of the business representatives indicated that they were impressed with the professional appearance and the interest of the job seekers.

Representatives from the VEC are pictured talking to National College students about Workforce Connection.

Medical Assisting Students Apply Book Knowledge

Medical Assisting Students Apply Book Knowledge

On Friday, April 20th, Harrisonburg medical assisting students participated in a health fair at Bridgewater Retirement Community. Medical assisting students Erica Crismond, Susanne Traugutt, Stephanie Austin, Tonya Raines, and Guillermina Chavez checked residents’ vital signs and performed glucose monitoring for individuals who came to the fair. This experience gave these soon-to-be-graduates a great opportunity to apply what they have learned in class in a real-life scenario. They all agreed that it was great to interact with the residents and give back to the community. Director of Health Care Education Betty Kessler helped coordinate National College’s involvement in this event for the second year in a row.

Health Information Technology Professionals Meet for Professional Development

Health Information Technology Professionals Meet for Professional Development

On April 21st, Dayton Area Campus health information technology (HIT) students, faculty, and graduates, attended the Miami Valley Health Information Management Association (MVHIMA) Spring Seminar Pieces of ICD-10. The seminar was held at Atrium Medical Center in Middletown, Ohio. It was sponsored by American National University and organized by HIT Director Jennifer Schneider.

The day-long seminar featured several experts on health information, management, and medicine, including American National University’s institutional director of instructional services James Willis. The presenters focused on the upcoming transition from ICD-9 coding to ICD-10. James provided humorous inspiration with his lecture on “Laughter in the Workplace.”

Students in attendance included Buffy Roberts, Lori Overbay, and Brenda Rankin, who helped greet attendees. Instructors Diane Davis, Kim Davis, Shannan Hammer, Renee Smith, and Monica Pazmino were also on hand. Grads in attendance included Pam Williams and MVHIMA membership director Jennifer Berry.

The event feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with many attendees expressing their appreciation for the opportunity to gain professional continuing education credits at a reasonable rate, which was made possible by American National University’s sponsorship of the event.

American National University students, faculty, and graduates are pictured at the MVHIMA spring seminar.

Campus Hosts Annual Networking Mixer with Honorable Guests

Campus Hosts Annual Networking Mixer with Honorable Guests

On Friday, April 19th the Memphis Campus hosted its 4th Annual Networking Mixer at the FedEx Institute of Technology. The annual event honors business leaders within government, corporate, and non-profit organizations. The honorees included Congressman Steve Cohen, Mayor A.C. Wharton, Terri Murphy with Terri Murphy Communications, Sherri Henley with Business Over Coffee International, the Women’s Foundation of Greater Memphis, and The Memphis World Trade Club.

Each honoree was chosen on the basis of their contributions to the Memphis community and their work with the Memphis Campus. All honorees have truly inspired the students to continue their studies and become effective leaders within their given fields. Congressman Cohen and Mayor Wharton were in attendance last year for the 3rd Annual Networking Mixer and gave inspirational speeches.

This year Congressman Cohen recently visited the campus to inspire the students and gave another rousing acceptance speech at the event. Sherri Henley was honored for her work in establishing a successful externship program with the Campus’s business department. Terri Murphy was honored for sharing several valuable business tips to entrepreneurs, establishing the Women’s Wisdom Network, and co-authoring a book with Donald Trump. The Women’s Foundation of Greater Memphis was honored for their efforts to eliminate poverty, improve living conditions, and establish self-sufficiency through education for women. The Memphis World Trade Club was honored for their commitment to excellence through logistics and Supply Chain Management, their annual mentoring mixer and gala, which the campus is a participant of, and for their commitment to education through a scholarship program. All honorees have done exceptional work within the community, and the students considered it their honor to salute them.

The event evolved from a class assignment from Business Department Chair and Student Activities Advisor Patrenna Singletary four years ago. Students in the Organizational Management and Leadership class take great pride every year in planning and organizing the event. Since that time, the Student Activities Council (SAC) sponsors the event and the council members have taken the lead role in an effort to include all students. SAC President Rosslyn Jones has been a staple of consistency and has always exerted a great deal of creativity, for which she was presented an excellence award for her efforts. Patrenna and Campus Director Noel Denney were also awarded for their support of the event and for their desire to see the students expand their horizons.

Noel Denney, Patrenna Singletary, and instructor Kmily Manns enjoy the networking mixer held annually by the Memphis Campus.

Students Learn and Network at Annual Meeting

Students Learn and Network at Annual Meeting

Madison Campus health information technology (HIT) student Seprina Bassham was one of many students from the campus who attended a meeting of the Middle Tennessee Health Information Management Association sponsored by National College on April 9, 2012 in Nashville. HIT professionals from the region, together with students from three area colleges (with National’s being the largest contingent by far) listened to several speakers who discussed various aspects of career success and professional achievement in the health care field. Organized by HIT Director Carmen Bellos, who was also recognized at the event for being named Mentor/Educator of the year by the Tennessee Health Information Management Association (see March 16 National News), the event had over 50 people in attendance. Afterward, Seprina and several other National students stayed to network with health care professionals in preparation for their upcoming career searches.

Former Factory Worker on his Way in Video Career

Former Factory Worker on his Way in Video Career

Jeremiah Saunders (pictured), a graduate of the radio and television broadcasting program at the Lexington Campus, goes to work each day with a smile on his face as part of the production team at WTVQ-TV. “I meet people every day that ask me what I do and when I say that I work at a news station, they look at me like I’m some celebrity. I say, ‘I’m just a cameraman,’” he said describing his experience. “It’s a job but it’s not your average job. I’d rather go to work with a smile than a frown.”

Jeremiah previously worked in a factory making crank shafts for almost 5 years. “Working at that plant, I was 22, but I felt like I was 42 because it was rough, hard work,” he recalled. “I thought, ‘There’s got to be a better way.’”

He was laid off from the factory and decided that it was time to go back to school. He said his cousin, who completely changed his life after enrolling in American National University, inspired him to pursue a degree. Although he was never a good student when he was younger, he exceled in his program and became an honor student.

When he was placed in an externship at WTVQ-TV, Jeremiah knew that it was an opportunity to land a job. “When you try and get your foot in the door, you’ve got to sell yourself,” he said. “You’ve got to also let them know that you’re capable of handling the job, and most of all, that you want to do the job,” he shared.

When his externship came to an end, the station manager told Jeremiah that he’d been impressed with his work. The station hired him a couple of months later when a position opened up. “That just goes to show, they liked what I did—they called me back,” he said.

He would eventually like to become a director and make action movies. “You’ve always got to stay hungry,” Jeremiah advised. “You can learn but there’s always more to learn…there’s always more to do.”

Hard Work and Sage Advice Pays Off for Grad

Hard Work and Sage Advice Pays Off for Grad

Externships are an essential part of every medical assisting student’s program at American National University. Jennifer Mattingly, a student from the Danville, Kentucky Campus, was offered externships at two different sites and found it difficult to decide which offer to accept.

After seeking the advice of Director of Health Care Education Virginia Patterson, who advised her to accept the offer that would most likely lead to employment, Jennifer chose to extern in the office of Enlow & Shazad and Associates. As her externship came to an end, she found that she had made the right choice when she was offered a permanent position as a medical assistant with the practice.

Jennifer came to American National University after being self-employed as a caregiver for two years. “I wanted something better for myself and my family,” she said. “When I came up here [to American National University] they talked about the small classes and I found a lot of students had families, too.”

She said that it wasn’t easy raising a family and attending class, but she was determined to complete the program. She has special memories of a carnival that the school held for the students and their families. “I got to bring my little boy, and he got to be a part of that. I had a hard time leaving him when I first started, and that meant a whole lot to me,” she recalled.

She enjoys her work at the practice and particularly likes interacting with the patients. “A few have said my smile made their day better,” she shared.

Jennifer encourages other students who have families not to give up on their goal of earning a college degree. “My family and God gave me the strength to go on and finish.”

Jennifer (right) is pictured with Director of Health Care Education Virginia Patterson (left).

Graduate Jumps Right Into Medical Assisting Job

Graduate Jumps Right Into Medical Assisting Job

As a mother of five, taking care of others comes naturally to Kelly Keathley. She earned her associate’s degree in medical assisting at the Pikeville Campus, and now she has translated her caring nature into a career as a registered medical assistant at Kentucky Pain Physicians.

Kelly decided to go to school to help with her family’s financial needs. “Even though my husband’s a coal miner, with five kids we struggled every day. We got by but we didn’t have any extra money for anything,” she explained.

She also wanted to set a good example for her children. “They think it’s funny that mom was going to school with them but they also like it because mommy has money now,” Kelly said.

She liked the small class size and the personal attention that she received at American National University. “We’re not just a number—they actually know your name here,” she said.

Kelly was placed in an externship with an orthopedics office as part of her program. “That was a wonderful experience,” she recalled. She felt well-prepared for the work that she was asked to do there. “They were really nice as far as letting me jump right in. I wasn’t put aside.”

As graduation neared, she worked with Career Center Director Kelly Rapauch who assisted her in finding her job. “Kelly did help me a lot,” she said. “She set up the interview, and I got hired the same day.” Her job offer came in just a couple of weeks after completing her program.

Kelly recently became more involved in the clinical side of the practice, where she works closely with the patients. “I absolutely love it,” she said. She appreciates her employer, and she hopes to work there for many years. “We could not ask for a better boss.”

“Education is something that nobody can ever take away,” Kelly says as she beams with pride about her education and her job. “Now, in my opinion, there’s nothing that I can’t do.”

Clinical Assistant Helps Physicians with Surgeries

Clinical Assistant Helps Physicians with Surgeries

“Hands-on” are the words that Angela Webb uses to best describe her medical assisting program at the Richmond Campus. “I loved the hands-on experience with the clinical classes,” she said.

Angela earned her associate’s degree in November 2011. She now works as a clinical assistant at Dermatology Associates of Kentucky, where she assists the physicians with biopsies and surgeries in three clinics.

Angela was working at a food mart when she decided to take the leap and enroll in school. “I wanted to get a better paying job,” she explained. She’d always wanted a career in health care and feels that she made the right choice by attending National.

At the end of her program, Angela was placed in an externship at a family clinic. “I gained a lot of experience from it,” she said. “I got to do more hands-on work that I really enjoyed.”

She found her job at the dermatology practice quickly after her program was complete and is grateful for the help she received from the campus’s career center. “I can support myself. I can be more independent,” she shared. “To be 23, I feel like it’s a good start.”

She feels that her career can grow in the practice where she works. Rhonda Watkins, another American National University graduate (see the April 30th edition of the National News), was recently promoted to assistant manager of the Dermatology Associates of Kentucky satellite clinics. “They told us that starting out as a clinical assistant and showing your initiative to try would most definitely lead to advancement in the work place,” Angela explained.

She encourages others interested in a career in healthcare to consider National. “I recommend National to anyone who’s looking for any kind of degree in medical—whether you have experience or don’t. It’s a great college.”

Campus Staff Attends Career College Conference

Campus Staff Attends Career College Conference

On Friday, April 27, directors, faculty and staff from National College’s six campuses in Kentucky participated in the Kentucky Association of Career Colleges and Schools (KACCS) Spring Educational Conference. KACCS holds seminars for its members on a quarterly basis to help address ways to better meet the training needs of the students that they serve.

Anthony Bieda, director of external affairs for the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), was the keynote speaker for the event. During his presentation, entitled “Workforce Skills Reality Check: Implications for Accredited Career Colleges and Schools in Kentucky,” Mr. Bieda discussed recent research commissioned by ACICS, which examines the attitudes and perceptions of more than a thousand hiring decision-makers across the U.S. and its relevance to the career college sector.

Sessions were also held on topics such as “Student Engagement in Allied Health Programs” and “Teachers: The Lost App!” Round table discussion groups covered subjects such as Department of Education Regulation Changes, Student Motivation, Admissions Best Practices, and Articulation.
“There were sessions of interest and value for everyone – the one I got the most benefit from was conflict management,” said Louisville Campus Director Vincent Tinebra.

Doug Camp, director of IT programs for the Lexington Campus, also found the KACCS conference to be informative. “As a new department chair, I found that the KACCS conference was a great learning tool and so were the break-out sessions. I also find being able to collaborate with my peers very beneficial,” he said.

Pictured participating in a Round Table Group Discussion about PR & Social Media are (l to r) Chris Farris (Danville, Kentucky Campus), Doug Camp (Lexington Campus) and Valerie Bowman (Florence Campus). The discussion was led by Lesa Seibert, owner of Xstreme Media.

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.