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August 27, 2012

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New Medical Assistants Become ‘The Doctor’s Right Hand’

New Medical Assistants Become ‘The Doctor’s Right Hand’

Top Flight Medical Group, a physical medicine and rehabilitation practice with 15 satellite offices located throughout Middle Tennessee, recently hired Nashville Campus graduates Alex Ciero and Katie Donnell as registered medical assistants. Diana Maugeri, practice administrator for Top Flight, said that she couldn’t be more pleased with Alex and Katie’s skills, work ethic, and enthusiasm. “I couldn’t ask for two better employees,” said Ms. Maugeri. “Some of the clinics we leave for at 4:00 am [and] they’re never late. They pay a lot of attention to detail; are very organized and very cordial to our patients. Our patients love them.”

Ms. Maugeri said that Alex and Katie work closely with Dr. Sekou Molette performing screenings, updating patients’ charts, prepping patients, and assisting the doctor during procedures. “They’re basically the doctor’s right hand. They are literally side-by-side with him all day long,” she explained.

Top Flight has hired graduates from other area schools but Ms. Maugeri said that she’s found Alex and Katie’s training to be superior. She feels that the two-year medical assisting associate degree program offered at National provides the necessary time to build the skills needed for the job which may not be possible during the short-term programs offered at some other schools.

Alex and Katie both say that the staff at Top Flight Medical Group is their favorite part of their job. “They’re really easy to get along with,” said Katie. “We’re a close knit little family,” added Ms. Maugeri, who explained that the staff spends a lot of time together en route to the various clinics, as well as during the normal work day.

Alex also likes that the office is paperless. She and Katie make notes and see patients carrying iPads with them throughout the day. They both enjoy traveling to the various clinic locations throughout the week. “It keeps it interesting,” said Alex.

“If you could clone them it would be perfect,” suggested Ms. Maugeri who is already working once again with Nashville Campus Career Center Director Terri Davis-McCall to find Top Flight Medical Group’s next new employee.

Medical assistants and National graduates Alex Ciero (left) and Katie Donnell (right) are pictured with Diana Maugeri, practice administrator for Top Flight Medical Group.

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Education Opens Doors for Veteran

Education Opens Doors for Veteran

Chris Meetin, an 11-year army veteran who used his military benefits to earn his associate’s degree in business administration—management at the Lexington Campus, is already putting his new skills to use as a maintenance supervisor for Lextran, Transit Authority of Lexington.

Chris visited the campus two years ago with his wife who was considering college at the time. It wasn’t until that visit that he actually considered enrolling himself. “Low and behold I ended up signing up,” he said recalling that day. “I came in on a Friday and…started the following Monday.” He was excited to learn that after serving in the army, he would receive tuition assistance. “After my two tours overseas, it gave me 90% tuition assistance through the VA.”

He was amazed at how quickly he was able to apply the principles that he learned in class to his work. One of his first classes was in sales and contract law which he was taking at the same time that he was involved in negotiations of the union contract at Lextran. “It was surprising how quickly I could actually bring the knowledge that I got here to practical use,” he said. “I think it’s helped me out so much--it’s almost ridiculous how well it’s transferring over into my work.”

He likes the small class sizes at National and he is impressed by the instructors. “Generally most of the instructors here are subject matter experts. They’ve worked in the field so when they come here they teach with passion rather than from a book,” he said.

After graduating with an associate’s degree, Chris rolled straight into his bachelor’s degree program at the campus and hopes to finish in May 2014. He said he feels his degree and eagerness to learn was instrumental in his promotion to maintenance supervisor. “Simply telling my employer that I had the drive to come to school and get more education and show that motivation – it’s opened up the doors at my job.” He has his sights set on more promotions in the future. “Given the opportunity, I will make director of maintenance,” he stated assuredly.

Chris encourages other veterans and those desiring to move up in their career field to get started now. “If you stick with it and put the time in…the doors will open left and right and before you know it you’ll find the ideal position, the ideal job, the ideal pay.”

Health Care System Named Distinguished Employer

Health Care System Named Distinguished Employer

On Monday, August 13th, the Louisville Campus awarded Norton Health Care with a plaque recognizing them as a “Distinguished Community Employer.” As a large health care system that operates a network of five hospitals in the Louisville area, Norton Health Care is the third largest employer in the Louisville area and frequently hires American National University graduates.

Norton also provides externship opportunities for American National University students and serves on the campus’s advisory board offering suggestions and insights regarding the school’s medical programs and workforce trends.

“Because of Norton’s support of American National University in educating and hiring our students and graduates, they were the obvious choice to be recognized as a Distinguished Community Employer,” said Campus Director Vincent Tinebra. Stephanie Walker, the campus’s director of the surgical technology program, presented the plaque commemorating the honor to Mary Gragg, nurse manager of the surgical department at Norton Pavilion.

Carla Morris, a certified surgical technologist who graduated from the Louisville Campus, was recently hired by Norton Health Care while completing her externship at Norton Pavilion. She became certified as a surgical technologist when she took the certification test during her program at National, an opportunity that many surgical technology programs do not offer.

Ms. Gragg, a 40-year employee of Norton Health Care, said that she has worked with American National University students and graduates for many years. She explained that certification has become extremely important to the organization and that Carla, with her strong work-ethic and professional certification, is a good example of why Norton continues to hire American National University graduates when they add to their staff of medical professionals. “We are very, very happy with her,” Ms. Gragg said. “We would like Carla to be an example for the techs that have been here awhile,” she added regarding Carla’s certification in the field.

Stephanie Walker (left), director of the surgical technology program at the Louisville Campus, is pictured in the above photo presenting a plaque to Mary Gragg (right), nurse manager of the Norton Pavilion Surgical Department. In the bottom photo, American National University graduate Carla Morris (far left), and nurse manager Mary Gragg (2nd from left), were joined by the Norton Pavilion Surgical staff who gathered to accept the Distinguished Community Employer award from the Louisville Campus.

Evening Classes Are Just What the Doctor Ordered

Evening Classes Are Just What the Doctor Ordered

When Marlena Fry found a American National University campus close to home she knew that the time was right to take advantage of her husband’s military benefits and get the degree in health care that she’d always wanted. She attended the Richmond Campus for about two years and earned an associate’s degree in medical assisting and a diploma in medical billing and coding. Now she is putting her medical training to work as a referral manager for Kenwood Health and Rehabilitation Center.

Marlena said she knew that American National University was the right choice for her because the campus offered a flexible schedule with night classes available. “A lot of the programs that you find for medical are all day classes so it was beneficial to find a program that was able to accommodate with night classes when I was working during the day.”

It was also important to her that American National University was a participant in the Yellow Ribbon program of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Yellow Ribbon colleges provide additional educational funding to veterans who qualify. “If there are any out of pocket [tuition] expenses then the [American National University] steps in and covers any additional book costs or any shortfalls,” she explained. “It was very nice to have that benefit.”

Like all students enrolled in the medical assisting program at National, Marlena took and passed the Registered Medical Assistant exam just before she finished her coursework. “Everything was covered really well. I was able to take that challenging test and bring everything I learned out here into my job,” explained Marlena.

In her job as referral manager, Marlena visits area hospitals to meet with patients and their families regarding their treatment options at the center. She said she utilizes her medical training as she reviews patient’s charts to determine their eligibility for insurance coverage. As a self-professed “people person,” she finds it fulfilling to be able to help the patients and their families as they make the best possible decision regarding the patients’ care.

Operation Hire Patriots Comes to Pikeville Campus

Operation Hire Patriots Comes to Pikeville Campus

On Thursday, August 16th, the Pikeville Campus held an Operation Hire Patriots event on campus – a job fair specifically for veterans in the morning, and later opened to the general public. Many veterans were in attendance, and several received leads for jobs available in the area. The employers that attended were able to complete interviews on campus and most left with great candidates for their open positions.

The Veterans Assisting Veterans division of the Office of Employment and Training (OET) had two representatives that attended, Jerry McBrayer and Larry Lanning, who gave an informative presentation to employers about the available benefits to companies who hire veterans. They also counseled veterans about the resources that are available to them through the OET.

Several Veterans were interested in discussing programs offered at American National University to further their chances of a fulfilling career. It was a successful event and the Pikeville Campus was glad to have an opportunity like this to give back to those who defend our country.

Jerry McBrayer from Veterans Assisting Veterans of the Office of Employment and Training (left) and Miranda Gibson from Kentucky Career Center JobSight are pictured counseling a veteran and fair participant.

Husband and Wife on Their Way to New Careers

Husband and Wife on Their Way to New Careers

Brandi Valeu, a medical assisting student from the Danville, Kentucky Campus, has just completed her externship at Central Kentucky Interventional Pain Center where she was able to practice many of the skills she learned in class such as taking vitals, prepping patients for procedures, and administrative duties such as obtaining pre-certifications from insurance companies.

In class and during her externship, Brandi enjoyed learning about invasive procedures and she found the steroid injections conducted under the fluoroscope in the office extremely interesting. “It was sort of an opening of my eyes to things,” she said.

Brandi and her husband Nathan Valeu enrolled at the campus at the same time. Brandi received her diploma in medical billing and coding in 2011 and then decided to return to earn her associate’s degree in medical assisting. Nathan completed his associate’s degree in computer applications technology in February of 2012. Keep reading the National News for an upcoming story on Nathan’s new career in computer technology.

ISE Students Use Their New Skills to Help Others at PC Repair Clinic

ISE Students Use Their New Skills to Help Others at PC Repair Clinic

Students in the information systems engineering degree (ISE) program at the Florence Campus held a PC repair clinic on Saturday, August 4th. The clinic was open to students, faculty, and staff to bring in their broken or slow-running computers to be evaluated by ISE students.

Students Chris Powell, Kyle Bowman, Bobby Cook, Eugene Hurst, Jason Gabbard, and Reina Lebron participated in the PC repair clinic under the supervision of ISE Director Valerie Bowman. After the students diagnosed each computer’s issue, they optimized the computer through the use of disk-management and virus scanning software. They also made recommendations to the computer owners on what hardware and/or software could be upgraded.

The clinic was a huge success benefitting the computer owners as well as the students who were able to practice the skills they learned in their classes. Valerie is planning to organize a workshop like this each term to further enhance the students’ skills as they continue their program.

Students Chris Powell, Bobby Cook, Gene Hurst, and Reina Lebron are pictured as they diagnose a computer’s problems at the clinic.

American National University Recognizes Medical Facilities as "Distinguished Community Employers"

American National University Recognizes Medical Facilities as

On August 13th, the Roanoke Valley Campus acknowledged Blue Ridge Pain Management as the first recipient of the “Distinguished Community Employer.” This award is to recognize local employers that work closely with National College in the training, educating, and hiring of students and graduates. Blue Ridge Pain Management is located in Salem, Virginia and has worked with the College for many years.

Registered Medical Assistant Richard Ingraham, an instructor at the campus, graduated from the campus seven years ago and works for Blue Ridge Pain Management. He, along with Dr. Marc Swanson and Dr. George Baylor, work with externship students from National and facilitate a hands-on clinical and administrative learning experience. Other National graduates employed by Blue Ridge Pain Management include Jennifer Gregg, Sarah Humphreys-Oliver, Lovace Bowman, and Leslie Kline.

(l to r) Lovace Bowman and Richard Ingraham, both National grads employed at the clinic, present the plaque to Dr. Marc Swanson.

National College Campuses Recognize Medical Facilities as ‘Distinguished Community Employers’

National College Campuses Recognize Medical Facilities as ‘Distinguished Community Employers’

The Danville, Virginia Campus recently named Danville Regional Medical Center (DRMC) as a Distinguished Community Employer. Campus Director Mark Evans presented a plaque to Eric Deaton, CEO of DRMC, in recognition of the outstanding support the medical center has provided to the students and graduates at National College in Danville. The ceremony was attended by a large number of employees of DRMC and members of the campus faculty and staff.

DRMC is the second largest employer in Danville and has hired a number of National graduates over the years. In just the past five years, the hospital has done more than just hiring National graduates. They have also provided externships and clinical opportunities for students to get hands-on experience during their training. Currently, no less than 18 National graduates work for the medical center in a wide variety of positions, from the pharmacy to surgical and administrative areas. Mr. Deaton praised the efforts of the college in providing a quality workforce, saying, “We look forward to working with your students and graduates.”

The campus in Danville is proud to assist Danville Regional Medical Center and numerous other businesses throughout Southside Virginia in meeting their staffing needs.

Mark Evans (left) is pictured presenting a plaque of appreciation to Mr. Eric Deaton, CEO of DRMC

Success of Mother Inspires Daughter

Success of Mother Inspires Daughter

For more than ten years, Deena Munsey (left), office manager at Dr. Anthony Rasi’s family practice, has relied on National College medical assisting graduates who work with patients and perform office duties. Gail Farris (right) is one such National graduate and employee. She graduated from the medical assisting degree program at National College in 2005 and has been working for Dr. Rasi for six years. Deena said that Gail is the “best of the best” and she was born to do what she does.

Gail couldn’t agree with Deena more: “My job is very rewarding on a daily basis. I enjoy helping my patients understand their conditions and medications. I can honestly say that being a [medical assistant] is the most rewarding job that I have had.”

Gail also recalls her time at National warmly saying, “I enjoyed the experience of being a student at a small college because you get more assistance with your studies if needed.” In fact she enjoyed it so much that she inspired her daughter, Alexis Phillips, to enroll in the campus’s pharmacy technician program.

Alexis graduated in 2008 and is now a registered pharmacy technician with the State of West Virginia and has worked for K-Mart ever since. She is the pharmacy’s lead technician and she loves her job. Her favorite part of her job is interacting with people. Gail and Alexis are among many families that have found success through National College.

‘Healthy Kids Rock’ Raises Awareness of Dental Health

‘Healthy Kids Rock’ Raises Awareness of Dental Health

Sherra Robinson (pictured), graduate of the business administration-management program at the Knoxville Campus, recently organized the 2nd annual “Healthy Kids Rock” event with her employer Western Heights Dental Community Outreach, Inc.

As outreach director for Western Heights Dental, Sherra’s job is to raise awareness on the importance of preventative dentistry for children and families in underserved communities. During the “Healthy Kids Rock” event, many organizations congregated to not only educate the children on the importance of health but also to help them with supplies for the new school year.

National College also participated in the event. Students Heather Goss, Crystal Parks, and Machelle Gilliam volunteered during the event with staff members Leslie Moore, Rhonda Epps, and Courtney Conner. They set up for the event bright and early and met a large crowd of high school students who were researching their opportunities upon graduation. The National representatives offered advice on the programs and courses available at the Knoxville Campus. They also met connected with a program called Centro Hispano which assists the Spanish speaking communities in getting a college degree.

The “Healthy Kids Rock” event had more than a thousand children in attendance who had the opportunity to receive free dental cleanings, free vision screenings, and free haircuts. Hundreds of backpacks filled with school supplies were given away.

Students Machelle Gilliam, Crystal Parks, Heather Goss, Courtney Conner, and Rhonda Epps are pictured as they lent their time and talents to the ”Healthy Kids Rock” event.

National College Campuses Recognize Medical Facilities as ‘Distinguished Community Employers’

National College Campuses Recognize Medical Facilities as ‘Distinguished Community Employers’

The Akron Area Campus has named Akron City Hospital of Summa Health System as a “Distinguished Community Employer” for being a valuable resource for American National University students in the surgical technology program.

On August 22nd, Campus Director Star Mitchell along with Surgical Technology Director Titus Greer and Clinical Coordinator Jim Shurtleff visited the hospital's surgery department and presented them with a plaque in appreciation of their support to American National University students with externships and training. Many National graduates have also been hired at the hospital.

Graduate Kelly Michael is one such example. She is a certified surgical technologist and was immediately hired from her externship upon graduation. She is now a member of their open heart team.

Director of Surgical Technology Titus Greer (right) and Clinical Coordinator Jim Shurtleff (2nd left) are pictured presenting the Distinguished Community Employer plaque to Valerie Grant, the operating room education coordinator at Akron City Hospital, Kelly Michael, National graduate and Akron City employee, and Louella Young, surgical technologist at Akron City.

Collection of Student Work Published

Collection of Student Work Published

The Youngstown Campus recently completed a publication of their literary review, “Voices: A Showcase of Writing” by American National University students and faculty. Erica Perna, an instructor of English Composition, said she thought of the idea for a literary review when reading her students’ writing assignments. She said the students were doing such a good job that their work shouldn’t go unnoticed. She began collecting submissions from her students over a year ago.

She decided to extend a call for submissions to all students, faculty, and staff throughout the campus and the submissions started rolling in. This is when she knew she needed help so she recruited nine student editors, who helped to type, edit, and assemble the book. “I wanted to give the students hands-on experience with the writing and editing process, and I wanted them to be proud to attach their names to this project,” Erica said.

The students felt the experience has helped them not only become better writers but also to work more efficiently as a team. Student Tareana Butler said, “It provides an outlet for writers to express themselves, which in my opinion, makes American National University a place I want to be.”

Helping to produce the compilation were (left to right) student Kara Morgan, Instructor Erica Perna, and students Lenora Slimmer, Tareana Butler, Charles Reynolds, Elizabeth Auman, Shannon Kusic, Rebecca Jones, Deborah Hopkins, and LaVielle Trevathan.

Students Learn About the Business of Real Estate

Students Learn About the Business of Real Estate

On Tuesday, August 7, students at the Columbus Campus had an opportunity to learn about the real estate business. Business Chair Greg Kontras invited longtime friend and colleague Greg Hrabcak to speak about his career in real estate, which started in 1984. Mr. Hrabcak deals with the sale and leasing of commercial, industrial, investment, and office real estate. He has managed business brokerage sales throughout Central Ohio and is very active with the Columbus Board of Realtors, having served as the 2008 President of the Board. In addition, Mr. Hrabcak is the federal political coordinator of the National Association of Realtors for Congressman Pat Tiberi.

When speaking to the students, Mr. Hrabcak’s focus was to educate them about a potential career in the real estate business. He explained the difference in the different types of real estate sales and explained that he prefers to work in the commercial side because of its business nature. He emphasized how important an education is to a career in real estate and how his education helped him throughout his career.

Mr. Hrabcak also took the time to talk about the overall business environment and how it influences the real estate business. He mentioned that when the economy slips into recession, his work usually suffers because fewer people can afford to purchase new properties. To elaborate on that, he emphasized that he has to try to plan for these kinds of events when the economy is good since his salary is entirely commission. He also briefly explained varying interest rates, pointing out that they have gone up and down over the years and that they affect his business, too, because they determine how much people can afford to spend on properties.

Business student Roger Coffey greatly appreciated Mr. Hrabcak’s visit, finding it informative and inspiring: “He opened my eyes about how business is done in society.” Likewise, Roger is now considering this business as a new potential career upon graduation. “I never did think too much about real estate before, but I’m more interested in it and even considering looking in that direction from a career standpoint.”

Guest speaker Greg Hrabcak is pictured with the students in the business program at the Columbus Campus.

Sheree Graham - Difference Maker at the Madison Campus

Sheree Graham - Difference Maker at the Madison Campus


Sheree Graham at the Madison Campus


Instructor of courses in healthcare, business, and general education disciplines


National College faculty member since 2008

Over 10 years of clinical healthcare work experience, following 8 years in the U.S. Army


Received an Associate of Science degree in medical assisting from Draughons Junior College, a Bachelor of Science degree in social sciences with a concentration in psychology from Tennessee State University, and a Master of Business Administration degree with a specialization in healthcare administration from Ashford University

Worked in the healthcare industry in both the civilian sector and in the military


After witnessing the need for many new medical assistants, I decided that it was time to assist in educating these professionals. I am passionate about quality healthcare and the need to train other professionals to possess the same qualities.

I appreciate that at National College each employee and student becomes a part of the National College family, rather than just another faculty member or student.

As a healthcare and business instructor, I share with all of my students the need to seek their full potential and exceed it. I challenge my students by motivating them to be better than they have ever been, regardless of their past. I encourage each of them to devote their all in everything they attempt to do. I also attempt to educate the whole student, as each of them is from various backgrounds with numerous goals in mind.

I find great success in seeing each of my students achieve even the smallest of accomplishments.

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.