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September 10, 2012

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Roanoke Valley Graduate Uses Her Degree to Make a Difference in Her Community

Roanoke Valley Graduate Uses Her Degree to Make a Difference in Her Community

Amy Wilson is using the degree she earned at the Roanoke Valley Campus to do great things for Feeding America Southwest Virginia - a local food bank that collects food donations and distributes to pantries serving people in an area spanning 26 counties and 10 cities. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration-management and now she is working as a marketing and communications coordinator for the food bank. She is responsible for getting the word out about what the organization does and how vital it is to people in the Southwest Virginia region.

Amy’s job duties include maintaining relationships with the media, organizing press events, creating marketing materials, and writing a quarterly newsletter, which her supervisor, Vice President of Development Amy Milberger, praises her for. “Her newsletters are bringing in considerably more than we did historically,” she says. “We’re able to compare donations year over year for each mailing, and her last two newsletters were above the norm.”

Amy recently got the opportunity to accompany the organization’s president to the Executive Mansion in Richmond for Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s reception recognizing food banks for their participation in the Legal Food Frenzy. She also recently appeared on a local television show to promote an upcoming campaign for the food bank. Click here to see her interview.

She feels honored to be able to participate in events such as these as part of her job but she stays humbled and focused on her reason for being there. “Meeting the Governor and being on TV, those are great things, don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to ever take that stuff for granted,” she says. “But to me it’s more humbling when I hear from clients in need and knowing we can do something about it … 120,000 people each month is what we feed, and to have a part in that is just incredible.”

Amy credits her education and experience at National College for helping her get where she is. As a student, she participated in the work-study program as an assistant to the director of research for the College as well as in President Longaker’s office, where she says she got valuable experience. She enrolled in National right out of high school and says it was National’s small class sizes, the quality of the business program, and the encouragement of people such as her father (also a National graduate) and her admissions representative Bunny Hancock that helped her know it was the right college for her.

Upon her graduation, Amy went to work for a financial investment firm, first as the executive assistant to the branch manager and then as marketing coordinator. “I felt like my bachelor’s degree, because it was in business management, opened a lot of doors for me. It provided me the fundamentals to go into any corporation,” Amy says. She stayed with the financial firm for over 10 years until she organized a trip to Feeding America for a company volunteer day and saw a job ad posted on the wall. She had a heart for service and a passion for the work Feeding America was doing, so she knew she would be a good fit for this job.

Ms. Milberger agrees that Amy was the right choice. “She’s made a huge impact in our awareness, in donor participation and volunteer participation, donations, great media relationships,” Amy explained. “Right off the bat, she was able to build those connections in a short amount of time.”

And Amy is positive this work is what she is meant to be doing. “It’s important for me to do something I love—and make a difference,” she says. “I want to help people understand that hunger does have a solution. And by giving, they are giving hope to someone.”

Graduate Amy Wilson is pictured in the above photo, on the right with her supervisor Amy Milberger at Feeding America Southwest Virginia. In the bottom photo, Amy is pictured with Virginia’s Governor Bob McDonnell (left) and Attorney General Ken Cuccineli (right) at the 2012 Legal Food Frenzy Reception held at the Governor’s Executive Mansion, Richmond, VA.


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Externship Helps Karla Perez Start New Career

Externship Helps Karla Perez Start New Career

Karla Perez graduated from the medical assisting degree program at the Danville, Virginia Campus in May and is now well on her way to her new career. Only one month into her externship last July, Karla, like fellow National College graduate Mikelle Hall, was hired by her extern site, Internal Medicine Associates of Danville. William Willis III, the office manager at the practice says, “with both Karla and Mikelle, very early in the externship, it was pretty obvious that these were two people that we felt like we would like to have as employees.”

Before coming to National, Karla was working at a local pharmacy, but she says, “I wanted to do something different with my life.” Now Karla is working as a Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) for a nurse practitioner at Internal Medicine Associates and says her National education helped prepare her for her new career. “I enjoyed all of the clinicals-- the hands-on stuff,” Karla says. “The invasive clinicals really helped the most.” Karla is now enrolled in a nursing program and looking forward to a bright future.

Karla is pictured accepting an award for her academic accomplishments from Director of Health Care Education Gail Orr (left) at the graduation ceremony in June.

Students Receive Advice on Entering Workforce

Students Receive Advice on Entering Workforce

The Charlottesville Campus welcomed Teresa Turner, manager of the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) to campus to talk to students about preparing for the workforce. She specifically explained the value of regularly attending class and how it helps students learn to be responsible and arrive to work on time with little absences.

While on campus, Ms. Turner attended a ceremony that recognized students for having a perfect attendance in their classes. She motivated the award winners by saying, “Ask any employer what they value most in an employee and he or she will tell you, ‘I want someone with a strong work ethic…I can teach them vocational skills, but they’ve got to bring a strong work ethic with them,’” Ms. Turner explained. “A strong work ethic means doing a job well; valuing your work; and acting with a sense of purpose. Perfect attendance is a key indicator of these 3 qualities.”

Teresa Turner from the VEC is pictured talking to students at the Perfect Attendance Awards Ceremony.

Campus Career Center Helps Graduate Prepare For and Find New Job

Campus Career Center Helps Graduate Prepare For and Find New Job

Melissa Humbert graduated from the medical billing and coding diploma program at the Fort Wayne Campus in May and thanks to the campus’s career center, she is settling into her career as a medical chart analyst.

Melissa worked with Career Center Director Tavara Phillips in updating her resume, searching for job openings in her field, and preparing for interviews. Through dedication and persistence, Melissa interviewed and accepted a position with Parkview Physicians Group. Her responsibilities include updating patient accounts and creating new patient charts, scanning and indexing medical records, and collecting medical records from previous doctors.

Melissa has decided to continue her education and pursue a degree from the medical assisting program. “I really enjoyed my time at American National University and felt comfortable day one of being there,” she explained. “I liked the flexibility of class schedules. Overall it was a good, positive experience for me!”

Melissa Humbert (left) is thankful for the career guidance from Career Center Director Tavara Phillips (right).

National College Students Participate in Fundraiser to Support Joanie’s Promise Fund

National College Students Participate in Fundraiser to Support Joanie’s Promise Fund

On Sunday, August 26th, Director of Healthcare Education Veronica Zurcher, along with seven current and former students from the medical assisting degree program at the Youngstown Campus, took part in the Panerathon - a 10K/2-mile walk/run fundraiser to support the Joanie’s Promise Fund at the Humility of Mary Health Partners Foundation.

Joanie’s “promise” is that all women will have access to the Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Care Center (JACBCC) at St. Elizabeth Health Center. Therefore, all screening expenses will be covered for any woman who demonstrates financial need.

Over $200,000 was raised for the Center during this event. The students participated in the event as a community service project, knowing that as current and future medical assistants, early detection of cancer is vital and that all the money raised will be put to good use.

Pictured at the Panerathon are (front row, l to r) Brandy Smith, Victoria Dubos, Veronica Zurcher, Jessica Rauber, Katie Long (back) Lynae Longo, Gianna Francis, Diana Francis, and Lenora Slimmer.

From Student to Successful Business Owner

From Student to Successful Business Owner

Jamey Parks lived in California for nearly 23 years before deciding to move to the Lynchburg, Virginia area to be closer to his brother. An accident that caused him to lose his leg prompted his decision to move across the country and focus on his education and getting his life in order. His brother sent him information on National College to help him get started.

Upon his arrival in Virginia in January of 2000, Jamey nervously met with the admissions department, toured the Lynchburg Campus, and signed up for the computer applications technology associate’s degree program. Soon thereafter, he formed a new family of sorts at National College - friendships that helped him to overcome his anxieties and the physical challenges he faced. But his biggest benefit was the help and encouragement he received from his instructors to succeed. He learned how to study effectively and work hard for his new career goals. He graduated the following spring with a 3.83 grade point average.

After earning an associate’s degree and gaining confidence in his abilities, Jamey wanted to keep learning. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in business from a nearby university. He has continued to stay in touch with Lynchburg Campus Director Bill Baker who encouraged him along in his path in education and the business world. Bill said, “[Jamey] is a huge asset to my campus and a total inspiration to all.”

Jamey is now using his education as the owner of a successful business – Parks Properties, LLC. He has also returned to the campus as an instructor. “My company continues to grow and prosper,” he said, “I cannot thank National enough for what it instilled in my life then and into the future for me and my family.”

National College was the stepping stone Jamey Parks (pictured) needed to build a better career.

Degree Helps Amy Yates Advance Her Career

Degree Helps Amy Yates Advance Her Career

Amy Yates, who recently earned her associate’s degree in business administration—accounting from the Madison Campus, credits her training at National College for her recent promotion from receptionist to service representative at McCarroll Heating and Air. “National has really changed my life,” Amy shared. “I’m not stuck at a job where I can’t [advance] to be as successful as I want to be and I can be.”

Amy said that it is because of her instructors, who are professionals in their fields, that she is able to apply her classroom training to her work. “They really know their stuff. They’re able to take my questions and turn them into real life day to day situations…they’re able to help me relate it.”

Amy was the recipient of a $1,000 scholarship which was awarded to her by the Tennessee Association of Independent Colleges and Schools. She was also named Dean for a Day at the Madison Campus.
Her supervisor has assured her that another promotion is on the horizon. “With my son, now I’m able to give him things that just two years ago I wasn’t able to give him,” the hard-working, single mom said proudly.

She has transferred her credits from National College to a nearby university where she will be continuing her education for a bachelor’s degree in accounting. “The one thing that no one can take from us is our degree. As long as we have that, we can keep going forward and being more successful,” Amy said.

Amy Yates (pictured) looks forward to more promotions as she continues her education.

ISE Student Starts Lucrative New Career

ISE Student Starts Lucrative New Career

Gregory Thompson, a student in the information systems engineering associate’s degree program at the Nashville Campus, is working as a paid intern for Community Health Systems (CHS). CHS is one of the nation’s leading operators of general acute care hospitals.

Gregory’s work as an intern at CHS includes building servers and utilizing software such as Remedy and Active Directory to keep the company’s computers up-to-date and its network secure. He also works with the virtual machine and servers. “I absolutely love it,” said Gregory of his internship. “It’s taken everything that I’ve learned from school in my class and…I can go to work and directly apply it.”

Gregory expects to be hired by the company in the near future. “Four months in, we had our evaluation and they decided that I was a prime candidate for FTE which is a full time employee.” He said that the position that he may be eligible for has a starting salary of $50,000 a year. “I am only 22 years old. CHS is amazing. They give you benefits, send you to classes. They’ve been great,” he said.

Using his education further, Gregory has also started his own IT consulting company - IT Solutions by Gregory Thompson. He said National College was the catalyst he needed to make his career goals a reality. “With the knowledge that I learned here, I’ve been able to start my own business,” he said. “You’ve got so many people at National that care about you succeeding and that helps—it helps a lot.”

Gregory Thompson (pictured) learns he is a prime candidate for full time employment with CHS.

Campus Welcomes Visit from State Senator

Campus Welcomes Visit from State Senator

On Wednesday, September 5th, the Akron Area Campus had a visit from Senator John Eklund who represents the 18th District in Ohio’s General Assembly. Senator Eklund is a supporter of career colleges like American National University. During his visit, he met with Campus Director Star Mitchell who explained American National University’s mission and the many career-training opportunities available at the campus. He toured the building and spoke to students and faculty answering questions about issues that affect the local constituents. He was glad to see that the campus has a career center focused on helping graduates find jobs. He complimented the students for making goals to improve their job skills and the faculty for their work to prepare students for the workforce.

Ohio State Senator John Eklund is pictured addressing a crowd of students, faculty, and staff at the Akron Area Campus.

Graduate Finds Career at Largest Healthcare System in the Region

Graduate Finds Career at Largest Healthcare System in the Region

As a mother of four without an education or a career, Cynthia Nieto reached a point in her life where she knew she needed a change. She was diagnosed with breast cancer and though it was a scary time for her, she said, “It helped me decide what I really wanted to do with my life.”

Prior to being diagnosed with breast cancer, Cynthia got her GED and started working in local schools as a substitute and translator. Her plan at that time was to become a teacher. But after going through cancer treatment, she formed a new passion. Her doctors and nurses took such good care of her that they inspired her to pursue a career in the healthcare field.

After receiving a clean bill of health, Cynthia enrolled in the medical assisting degree program at the Bristol Campus with a minor in medical billing and coding. “I loved the fact that National had smaller classes that allowed more one-on-one attention,” she said. “The staff was great too. [Student Services Representative] Marla Quesenberry was so helpful if I ever had any questions.”

After graduating and passing the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) exam, Cynthia got a job offer at First Assist Urgent Care, which is a part of Mountain States Health Alliance. She really enjoys the fast paced environment and the variety that each case brings. “It keeps the days from being routine,” says Cynthia. She also loves her schedule of 4 ten-hour shifts and an extra day off each week. “National has changed my life completely. I went from being an unemployed single mom with a dream to being a Registered Medical Assistant working at the largest healthcare system in the region.”

Cynthia Nieto is pictured in her new role at First Assist Urgent Care.

Robert Barnhorn - Difference Maker at the Dayton Area Campus

Robert Barnhorn - Difference Maker at the Dayton Area Campus


Robert Barnhorn at the Dayton Area Campus


Instructor of paralegal, ethics, HIPPA law, and business law courses


  • American National University faculty member since 2006
  • Licensed attorney for past seven years


  • Received Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from University of Notre Dame and Juris Doctor from University of Dayton School of Law
  • Passed Ohio State Bar Exam in 2005
  • Currently a Senior Legal Research Associate for LexisNexis, researching diverse legal topics such as criminal, contract, tort, corporate, and securities laws


It is easy to thrive in an environment where everyone listens to and respects you. We have a close-knit community at American National University.

I often bring in examples of legal issues that I have just worked on to discuss in class. And I devote the first few minutes of every class to current events. Many students do not follow the news, but I think in an academic institution, we have to be realistic about what is going on in the world. Students often do not realize how much they are impacted.

My goal in teaching is to never be “that” teacher—the one that students hate to get. When I prepare a lesson, I ask myself: Is this engaging? Did I explain it thoroughly? Are my examples up to date? Beyond that, I believe in teaching life skills. The biggest reward I get is when a student says I made them think. Seeing a student arrive at a conclusion through their own reasoning is a point of pride for me.


Shylebra Collins Finds Direction Early in Life

Shylebra Collins Finds Direction Early in Life

At an age when many are still trying to find direction in their life, Shylebra Collins, a graduate from the Pikeville Campus, is working as a registered nurse at Pikeville Medical Center (PMC). She started the American National University nursing program right after high school and two short years later graduated with her associate’s degree. “I was really proud of myself—at age 21 to be an RN,” Shylebra said. She used many resources to help pay for her education including the Kentucky Education Excellence Scholarship (KEES) and the Kentucky College Access Program.

Although the nursing program was difficult, Shylebra said that her instructors made all the difference in helping her make it through. “They would come one-on-one and help you if you needed something. They actually treated you like family, not just a student,” she said. They also equipped her with the knowledge that she needed to pass the nursing board exam. “If I didn’t pass my boards, those two years were pretty much for nothing. When I got in there, I felt like I was completely prepared… and that is because of my instructors.”

She applied at PMC as graduation neared and she was quickly hired along with others from her class. “We have a very good program and we’ve got a good reputation,” she said adding that the staff at PMC is familiar with American National University because nursing students perform their clinical rotations there. “I knew that they needed nurses everywhere but I didn’t know that I’d be able to get a job that quickly—especially being a new nurse, a new graduate, not having any experience.”

Shylebra is finding fulfillment in her career as a registered nurse stationed on the oncology wing at PMC. “I’ve always wanted to be a nurse, ever since I was little. I just like being able to help people.” In addition to working at PMC, she is also working towards a bachelor’s degree in nursing. “[American National University] set me up for life with this education. I don’t have to worry about anything. ”

In the bottom photo, Shylebra Collins is pictured speaking during the Pikeville Campus’s Nursing Pinning Ceremony that was held on May 22.

National College’s Workforce Development Grant Helps Cheryl Arvin Change Careers

National College’s Workforce Development Grant Helps Cheryl Arvin Change Careers

Cheryl Arvin, who earned her administrative office professional associate’s degree in 2006 from the Richmond Campus, is working for the Citizen Voice and Times newspaper in Irvine, Kentucky.

Before coming to National, Cheryl worked for a local factory for five years, when it shut down. She qualified for tuition assistance through the Workforce Investment Act which was matched by the American National University Workforce Development Grant, an exclusive grant that matches funding from agencies. She also received a grant through the Kentucky College Access Program.

Cheryl said that she had fun attending classes at National and that many of her former co-workers from the factory joined her there for the career training that they needed. She threw herself into her studies. “I made straight A’s. I used all my free time in my books,” she said.

After graduating, she began as the receptionist at the Citizen Voice and Times and quickly moved into her current dual-role as classified advertising manager and subscriptions manager. In her work, she constantly relies on the computer skills that she learned in her program at American National University. “When I went to school I didn’t even know the first thing about emailing—I knew nothing about computers,” she recalled.

Cheryl feels proud to be an important part of the team at the Citizen Voice and Times which serves the community where she grew up. Her daughter, Nivra Lainhart, who works for the Estill County Health Department, also graduated from the Richmond Campus and was featured in the June 8th issue of the National News.

Cheryl Arvin (pictured) went from working in a factory to managing advertising and subscriptions at the Citizen Voice and Times.

National College Holds Job Fair for Veterans

National College Holds Job Fair for Veterans

On Thursday, August 23, the Lexington Campus held an Operation Hire Patriots Veterans Job Fair offering veterans the chance to talk with representatives from local companies about their employment opportunities. Resource agencies such as the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs and Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve also participated in the job fair to offer their assistance to the veterans.

Annita Rucker, business development representative for Kelly Services, said that many of the companies that she works with are actively seeking veterans to hire. “That’s a big request. They really want to hire veterans that are returning,” she said. “They’ve served their country, they’ve done their time and we owe that to them. I think there are a lot of employers out there that are really trying to do their part.”

Robert Purdy, from the recruiting office of the Kentucky State Police, said that they are looking for veteran applicants to help man the 16 Kentucky State Police posts across the state. “One of our minimum qualifications is having two years active duty military. We actually try to target the veteran audience. That brings people that are qualified for KSP and puts us in direct contact with them,” he explained.

Frances Adams, a veteran graduate from the Lexington Campus who served in the Marines, said that she made some great contacts at the job fair and will be following up with the companies that she spoke with regarding applications for employment that she’s submitted. She was thankful for the campus’ support of veterans. “I’m so glad that they’re doing something for the vets because it’s hard (to find a job) and any extra help that I can get, I appreciate,” she said.

In the top photo, Kentucky State Police recruiter Robert Purdy is pictured talking to a veteran during Operation Hire Patriots Veterans Job Fair. Walter Jackson, assistant HR manager for the Lexington Clinic, is pictured in the bottom photo talking to a American National University student about employment opportunities during the job fair.

New Students Learn Study Skills and Time Management Skills at Orientation

New Students Learn Study Skills and Time Management Skills at Orientation

On Saturday, August 25 and Thursday, August 30, the Louisville Campus held a new student orientation for the Fall Term. Incoming students participated in a fun day of sessions on learning styles, critical thinking, study skills, and time and money management which offered strategies for a successful transition to college life.

Many of the students who attended the Fall Term Orientation are receiving funding for their education through the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP). Rodney Thomas, an Army veteran using VRAP, said that his wife is a American National University graduate. He enrolled in the pharmacy technician program. “I’m looking forward to it,” he said with a smile.

Johnetta Patterson, a Navy veteran who is also receiving assistance through VRAP, is entering the health information technology program. “I am excited. [The orientation] was really informative,” she said. She particularly enjoyed the personality test that helped her better understand her learning style. “It was a reminder of things that I’m going to need to do in order to get this done.”

Some of the veterans participating in the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program gathered during orientation at the Louisville Campus. Pictured (l to r) are Johnetta Patterson, Hollis Smith, Rodney Thomas, Lawrence Kirby and Donna McMillan.

Student Enjoys Hands-On Learning During Externship

Student Enjoys Hands-On Learning During Externship

Charles Beam, a pharmacy technician student from the Danville, Kentucky Campus, got hands-on experience in his field while working as an extern at South Hall Pharmacy in Lebanon, Kentucky.

During the externship, he worked closely with the pharmacist to fill customers’ prescriptions. “There is more involvement as a pharmacy tech than I thought, which I am glad about because I enjoyed being kept busy,” said Charles who assisted with everything from mixing compounds to computer work. “Also, there is more one-on-one involvement helping the pharmacist than I expected.”

He was working in a factory when his girlfriend, a American National University graduate, encouraged him to better himself and come to National. “I wanted more than a job; I wanted a career. The factory was just breaking my body down,” he recalled. He hopes to work as a pharmacy technician until he is ready to return to school to become a pharmacist. “Anyone can go back to school and do whatever they want as long as they put their mind to it,” he said.

Charles Beam is pictured with his instructor, Dora Patrick.

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.