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September 03, 2012

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Graduate Leaves Family Business to Pursue a New Career

Graduate Leaves Family Business to Pursue a New Career

Jessica Colangelo jokingly says she came from a “family of pizza.” Growing up, her parents owned several pizza franchises and Jessica was a part of the family business from her childhood. She never really thought of doing anything other than carrying on the family business until she started college and realized that spending her life continuing the family business “just wasn’t working for me.” She wanted to start out on her own path and a new career.

“[Pharmacy technology has] always been something I knew was a growing career,” Jessica shares. She had attended a four-year college in the area, then switched to a community college, and found that neither were meeting her needs. “It just wasn’t going quick enough for me,” she explains. Coming from a family with a good work ethic, Jessica wanted to learn new skills quickly and start her new career. She heard about the Youngstown Campus of American National University through a friend and became interested in the pharmacy technology associate’s degree program.

Jessica enjoyed the small class sizes and the career focus that National offered. “[The instructors] are very hands-on when it comes to the pharmacy program,” Jessica states – highlighting not only the instruction she received in her courses, but the opportunity to apply those skills to a real-world experience in her externships. In fact, it was from her second externship site with RX Institutional Services, that she landed her current position as a pharmacy technician inventory/IV specialist.

“I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” Jessica says enthusiastically about her job, “I was very fortunate to get a position here – it was ultimately where I wanted to be and within this company.” As a hospital pharmacy that serves several nursing homes in the surrounding area, RX Institutional Services keeps a fast and steady pace that matches Jessica’s energetic personality. “I’d like to move up in the company,” Jessica says looking into her future. She’s already assuming more responsibility in her current position, overseeing inventory control and doing more administrative work.

“You have to work hard,” she shares with other students, drawing from her experience as a recent graduate this past November. “You have to be on-point with what you’re doing... work like you would want to be at your job.” With a college degree behind her and her first start in the career of her dreams, Jessica is ready to forge a new path for herself and is looking forward to her future.

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Officer Visits Class and Relates to Health Care Law & Ethics

Officer Visits Class and Relates to Health Care Law & Ethics

On Wednesday, August 8th, Canine Officer Jeremy Purvis brought his co-worker Havoc, a German Shepherd canine officer, to visit students in a medical assisting class at the Martinsville Campus. Officer Purvis talked to students about canine officer training, certifications, and continuing education. He explained the legal issues in his line of work that pertain to what the students are learning in their health care law and ethics course. Students learned that the officers had to maintain control of the dogs on duty for liability reasons in the event of injury. During the visit, Officer Purvis noted the value of canine officers to the Martinsville City Police Department and how they work their assignments. They are together on and off-duty. Students asked several questions related to training of the canine officers and how the dogs are selected for police work.

Workforce Investment Act Helps Marla Fogle Find a New Career after Layoff

Workforce Investment Act Helps Marla Fogle Find a New Career after Layoff

Marla Fogle thought she was settled in her career in sales as an operations manager. When she was laid off, she decided to check in to American National University and enhance her business skills. With help from the Workforce Investment Act, which offers tuition assistance to students who were laid off and in need of new skills, she enrolled in the business administration-management degree program at the Akron Area Campus.

Marla chose National because of the small classes. She liked having one-on-one attention from the instructors which helped her get on the Dean’s List every term. She picked up new skills right away and even started using them quickly when she got a job half-way through her program with Akron Rubber Development Labs.

Campus Names NCH as Distinguished Community Employer

Campus Names NCH as Distinguished Community Employer

The Columbus Campus recently named Nationwide Children’s Hospital (NCH) as a Distinguished Community Employer. NCH is an international leader in pediatric research, possessing sixty-eight facilities in Ohio and beyond. They also employ four National graduates from the health information technology degree program - Daniel Antwi, Sara Alleman, Marvin Owusu, and Natasha Johnson.

Theresa Nutter, health information manager for NCH, said the National graduates were very prepared for their jobs right from the very beginning. She explained that she hasn’t had to do as much training with them as she has had to do with other people who have worked under her. “They’re very knowledgeable and energetic,” she noted. She is looking forward to hiring more American National University graduates in the future.

Theresa Nutter is pictured (3rd from left) as she accepts the Distinguished Community Employer award with (l to r) Daniel Antwi, Sara Alleman, and Marvin Owusu.

VRAP Program Helps Timothy Thompson Decide to Make a Career Change

VRAP Program Helps Timothy Thompson Decide to Make a Career Change

Since the announcement of the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP), the Stark County Campus has been busy answering calls from area veterans. The campus held an information session to explain the VRAP program and help area veterans determine if they quality for the program.

Timothy Thompson attended the VRAP session and learned that he was eligible for VRAP. He was honorably discharged from the Navy on December 30, 1991 due to an injury he sustained during service. He became unemployed when the company he was working for closed their doors in April 2011. He then started to consider changing careers. He researched area colleges and training programs - he even visited National a year ago - but it was the financial assistance from the VRAP program that encouraged him to make the commitment.

Tim made his decision to attend National from his campus tour. He liked the campus’s small class sizes and its location. He enrolled in the information systems engineering degree program and looks forward to starting his new career in the computer field in two years.

Graduate Gets a Job Offer from Externship

Graduate Gets a Job Offer from Externship

After nearly two decades spent working in the hotel and retail industries, Jessica Lobasco was glad to continue her education at the Madison Campus to enrich her family’s life. She graduated with an associate’s degree in computer applications technology and got a job with the historic Spring Hill Funeral Home.

Jessica worked as an extern at Spring Hill to get hands-on experience in a business setting. Like many National College externship students, she was offered a job as soon as a position became available. “My [supervisor] from my externship came to visit me at my job at K-mart seeking me out to apply for a position that opened up after I graduated,” she explained. “It’s a great feeling to know that as an extern I displayed the kind of work ethic they were looking for in a permanent employee impressing them enough to be hired for a full-time position.”

Jessica says she enjoyed her time at National and was always surprised at how interesting her classes were. The skills she learned in class help her in her new career every day as she has a diverse range of responsibilities. She spends a big part of her day on the computer creating spreadsheets, entering records, helping families write and publish obituaries, researching local history, and creating bookmarks, DVDs, and memorial cards for the families of the deceased.

“The classes at National prepared me with the ability to provide a wide variety of skills to my future employers,” said Jessica. “My classes enhanced my computer knowledge and taught me skills that I never thought I would need but use consistently in my current job.”

Jessica is thankful for the career her degree has already provided her with, but she hopes to one day continue her education and earn a bachelor’s degree. “I love my career so far, but because of the confidence I gained at National, I’m inspired to continue my education knowing I’ll benefit from better opportunities to provide the best life possible for me and my children.”

Senator Kruse Visits Campus in Support of the VRAP Program

Senator Kruse Visits Campus in Support of the VRAP Program

On August 22nd, the Fort Wayne Campus held an information session to explain the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) to area veterans. Indiana State Sen. Dennis Kruse attended the VRAP session as a guest and personally met with those in attendance.

Sen. Kruse and 20-25 others were able to hear about the federal government’s new program that offers tuition assistance to eligible veterans. Attendees also learned that several unemployed area veterans were already taking advantage of this new initiative to gain marketable skills at American National University.

Following the VRAP session, Senator Kruse toured the campus and became more familiar with the career-training programs available at American National University. During his tour, he met with students, faculty and staff and 20 members of the Northern Indiana Military Assistance Network (NIMAN). The campus was glad to host Sen. Kruse and welcomes the opportunity for future visits.

Senator Kruse is pictured with American National University student and veteran Jesse Toombs during the VRAP session.

Holidays Off -- Thanks to National

Holidays Off -- Thanks to National

When Jodi Wright was working as a waitress at Waffle House, she knew that she wanted a new career but she didn’t have the training or the self-confidence that she needed to land the job of her dreams. She met instructors from the Richmond Campus next door who inspired her and encouraged her to come to American National University. She earned associates degrees in business administration—accounting and in computer applications technology and she’s now working as an administrative assistant at New Life Cleaners in Lexington, Kentucky

In her job as administrative assistant, Jodi is involved in all aspects of New Life’s office operations. Mark Sears, owner of New Life Cleaners, said that he’s hired several American National University graduates and he’s found that their skills utilizing the latest computer technology has helped keep his business from becoming stagnant. “The quality that I have seen with staying up to date with Excel, and the new Word--they have the skills to do those programs and Quick Books and just take right off,” said Mr. Sears. “I’ve been totally satisfied and I guarantee you that if we needed office personnel we would go right back down there. I’ve been that pleased with them. For the level that we’re trying to push to it’s a perfect fit.”

Jodi is also pleased with her career at New Life where she has worked for over 4 years. “I actually have the best boss that I’ve ever had,” she said. She also likes the hours and benefits that her position provides. “I like working Monday through Friday 8 to 4. When I worked at Waffle House, I worked every weekend. I worked every holiday. I didn’t know what to do my first Christmas here because I had worked at Waffle House for 10 years and I had never had a holiday off.”

She’s glad that she took the instructors’ advice and came to National. “I think it’s a little bit better when you’re older…it means more to you at that point. I learned a lot about myself. It helped my self-esteem.” She encourages those who want a new life of their own to come to American National University where students are gaining the skills that they need for new careers like hers every day.

Greater Opportunity at National College

Greater Opportunity at National College

Hannah Bentley Robinson, a graduate from the Pikeville Campus, is taking her new career in phlebotomy one step at a time. She externed at Pikeville Medical Center, graduated from her program in May, and has now joined the staff of Physicians for Children, a pediatric group practice, where she is working as a certified phlebotomist.

Hannah came to American National University at the recommendation of friends. “They said they loved it, so I gave it a shot,” she said. She previously attended a local university where she studied elementary education but she decided that the job market for the medical field was stronger in her area.

Hannah says that she received much more one-on-one help at National than she did at the larger university, and she liked the overall environment. “It was more friendly. It feels like a family, really,” she said of the atmosphere at National.

She worked alongside the phlebotomy staff going floor-to-floor to draw blood samples during her externship at Pikeville Medical Center. “That was a great experience,” she recalled of her time at the busy hospital. “At first, of course, I was scared to death. But I loved it. A lot of the patients complimented me.”

When she began her job search, Hannah worked closely with Career Center Director Kelly Raupach. “She was my number one go-to girl,” she says. “I was on the phone with her every day.”
Hannah tears up when talking about graduation and feels honored to have participated in the commencement ceremony. “That’s an accomplishment. I earned it,” she says proudly.

She loves her new job at the pediatrics office where she’s being cross-trained to help with scheduling and other administrative duties in addition to her phlebotomy work. “I love the people in here. All the doctors are nice. All the staff is just wonderful,” she says.

Her advice to others? “Go to National. They gave me a greater opportunity than what I thought I would have.”

Distinguished Community Employer

Distinguished Community Employer

The Lexington Campus named Paragon Family Health as a Distinguished Community Employer for the outstanding contributions they have made to the campus. In particular, they have provided externships for medical assisting students and employment for National graduates.

The Lexington Campus is fortunate to have a partnership with Paragon Family Practice as it is one of the largest and most diverse medical groups in the region. To their asset, they provide careers in the various medical disciplines found within their many locations.

On Wednesday, August 15th, Campus Director Kim Thomasson and Career Center Director Cheryl Howell presented Paragon CEO Ann Giles with a plaque in appreciation for the opportunities she and her staff have made available to National students.

Ongoing communications between Cheryl and Paragon’s Human Resource Director Terra Elliott ensure we will continue to work together in a mutually-beneficial team environment.

Campus Director Kim Thomasson (2nd from left) and Career Center Director Cheryl Howell (3rd from left) are pictured presenting a plaque of appreciation to Amy Giles (left) and Terra Elliot (right) with Paragon Family Health.

Worth the Effort

Worth the Effort

Chikako Marshall, who earned her administrative office professional associate’s degree from the Florence Campus in 2006, is working as an administrative specialist for Mitsubishi UFJ Lease and Finance.

Chikako, who came to America from Japan in 1998, worked on the Army base where her husband was stationed for a while but when they relocated back to Northern Kentucky she had trouble finding a job. “A degree was a requirement at most places so I decided to go back to school,” she said.

She checked around the area for schools and found American National University just a few minutes away from her home. She decided National was the college for her because the administration and instructors were kind and welcoming. “I was comfortable,” she recalled.

Chikako worked while going to school and was hired by Mitsubishi in a part-time position before she graduated. Chikako said that her accounting and computer skills that she obtained in her program at National are vital to her job at Mitsubishi. Following graduation she was promoted to a full-time job and she continues to use those skills today. She will also be using the knowledge that she gained in her classes when she takes the naturalization test to become a U.S. citizen in the near future.

Chikako said that American National University has changed her life 100%. “I have a job that I always wanted. Working in an office was where I always imagined myself and I got it!” she said proudly. “Definitely go back to school and get an education,” she encourages others. “It might be kind of tough when you have kids—especially while working-- but it’s worth it.”

Students Learn From Mock Interviews

Students Learn From Mock Interviews

Students from the Louisville, Lynchburg, and Indianapolis campuses learned about resume writing and interviewing do’s and don’ts when they recently participated in mock interviews with Instructor Luis Alicea-Batlle. The mock interviews were held as part of their human resource management classroom conferencing class.

For the project, Luis chose a white collar and blue collar job description from Career Builder and asked the students to tailor their resumes to the jobs. He then instructed them to create questions that an employer might ask during interviews for these positions and also asked them to develop questions that they, as interviewees, could ask the employer about the job. They also discussed questions that are illegal for employers to ask during interviews.

Panel interviews were conducted by the students for the white collar job and one-on-one interviews were held for the blue collar position. “We critique each other as far as what went right and what needs to be improved,” explained Luis. “A lot of times I’ve had students say that they remember everything from my class when they go for an interview. They’re learning but they’re having fun.”

Jamie Berry-Harris, a student in the business administration—management associate degree program was one of the students who participated in the mock interview. She is working as a claims adjuster at Humana and is attending National through the company’s tuition assistance program. “It was a good experience,” she said. “Really it made me more relaxed for when I go for an interview--I will be prepared.”

Jamie also had an opportunity to act as the interviewer during the mock interview and that was a role that she enjoyed. “I want to stay at Humana and move up to a management position. When we did the interviews I was one of the interviewers. It was fun being on the other side of it,” she said.

Pictured at the top are students (l to r) Leanna Gant, Johnny Carlton (back), Kamilo Abdella (front), Patricia Pierce, Roderick Sims (front), instructor Luis Alicea-Batlle and Tommyia Crawford who joined students from the Lynchburg and Indianapolis Campuses for mock interviews as part of their human resources management video conference class.

Jamie Berry-Harris, pictured in bottom photo, enjoyed conducting interviews during the mock interview project in instructor Luis Alicea-Batlle's human resource management video conference class.

Staff and Faculty Gain Insights at Kentucky Association of Career Colleges and Schools Annual Conference

Staff and Faculty Gain Insights at Kentucky Association of Career Colleges and Schools Annual Conference

President Frank Longaker, Vice President Roger Dalton, and Vice President Charlotte Brinneman were joined by staff and faculty from National College’s Kentucky campuses at the Kentucky Association of Career Colleges and Schools (KACCS) 2012 Educational Conference and Annual Meeting that was held on August 24 in Lexington, Kentucky.

The event began with a key note address by Steve Gunderson, President and CEO of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU). In his address entitled “Preparing for the Job Ahead” Mr. Gunderson shared that in 2010 earnings for those holding a bachelor’s degree was 74% higher than for those with a high school diploma. By the year 2025 that number will rise to earnings of 96% more for those with a bachelor’s degree than for those with a high school diploma. Mr. Gunderson said that America does not currently have the skilled workforce that it needs to compete in the global market and that it is up to career colleges to fulfill that need.

The conference also included break-out sessions covering topics such as the millennial student and generational diversity, regulatory changes impacting students and leveraging technology in the classroom.

Theosious Fuqua, business department chair for the Louisville Campus, attended the conference and said that he learned techniques to better address the diverse levels of the students that he teaches and to implement strategies that will be conducive in making them all want to succeed. “The KAACS Conference was very instrumental in addressing the various ways in approaching teaching techniques to the millennium, baby boomer, and Generation X students,” said Theosious. “The statistics that Mr. Gunderson shared of how successful the career colleges are in the graduation rate compared to junior and traditional colleges was overwhelming. I look forward to attending this conference again.”

National College President Frank Longaker is pictured with APSCU President Steve Gunderson at the KACCS Education Conference

Difference Maker - Larry Liggan - Director of Healthcare Education

Difference Maker - Larry Liggan - Director of Healthcare Education


Larry Liggan of the Charlottesville Campus


  • Director of Healthcare Education
  • Department Chair
  • Full time instructor of all medical assisting courses, including front office, medical office assisting, medical office finance, back office/clinical, clinical medical assisting, invasive procedures, noninvasive procedures, exam success course, externship program coordinator


  • National College faculty member since 2004
  • 18 years of direct patient care experience while serving in the U.S. Army


  • Distinguished duty assignment with Critical Care U.S. Army Burn Center at Fort Sam Houston and EMT/Army Medic trainer at the Academy of Health Sciences
  • Received a Bachelor of Science degree as a Physician’s Assistant from University of Oklahoma and a Master of Education degree from American InterContinental University; is a Certified Allied Health Instructor and a Registered Medical Assistant


There are several reasons I became involved in health care. The first is my grandfather demonstrated to me honor, care, and respect for our elders as he visited residents in the nursing home where I was an orderly. I was also greatly influenced by how diseases affected the body because of seeing my father and uncles cope with becoming permanently visually and/or audibly disabled due to glaucoma and childhood diseases, such as measles, mumps, and diabetes.

As an Army Physician’s Assistant, I have diagnosed and treated a lot of typical outpatient conditions, which most of my students will encounter in their individual experiences in ambulatory medicine.

Upon leaving the military and having a great deal of active duty success and experience in providing health care to others, I wanted to give back to others that were aspiring to do the same.

There is nothing greater than training and influencing a student to conceive and believe in something greater than them, then stand back and watch that student transform into a professional that cares for other people.

I like for my students to critically think. I pose situations to them and then ask the tough questions that require them to draw on their own resources to discover the answer.

I think my greatest reward as an instructor was to see a particular student that was defiant from the onset of classes when it came to attendance, studying, dressing, academic discipline, etc., to the total transformation of this student into a responsible, caring, selfless, skilled, career-minded individual desiring to make a difference in other peoples’ lives.

All of my influences and experiences have a common thread that is directly related to why I love to teach. It goes something like this, “He who loses his life for another, will find it.” So to me, giving away what I have gained in my life is a way of giving life to another.

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.