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September 24, 2012

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Diagnosis Inspires New Career

Diagnosis Inspires New Career

Knoxville Campus medical assisting graduate Michael Parks’s life was destined to change when he was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome fourteen years ago. The rare neurological disorder affected more than his health, however.  “Before then I’d never had any interest in medicine,” Michael says. “[I was] scared to death of needles.”

But between tiring of a career in retail and the remarkable clarity a health condition can provide, he decided a new career was right for him. National College was the path he chose.

“National College was pretty much able to work around my schedule, because I was trying to work,” he shares. “It got me in and out quick.”

Now, Michael works for Lensgraf Back and Pain Management, a large and successful practice that operates several offices across eastern Tennessee. “We do anything from chiropractic work…to any kind of pain management…from head to toe,” Michael explains. He performs a wide variety of tasks using his medical assisting skills at the busy practice. “It’s very interesting,” he says of the non-stop pace. “We see on average anywhere from 80 to 100 patients a day.”

Michael admits it wasn’t always easy reaching his goals, but the faculty and staff at the Knoxville Campus, particularly Director of Healthcare Education Rhonda Epps, helped him through the tough times. “Ms. Epps is my hero,” he says emphatically. “There were several times I was ready to throw my hands up and walk out…she just wouldn’t let me,” he admits. “She kept me in school and got me to graduation.”

Now that he has his degree and a secure future, Michael wants to continue his education. He encourages his fellow students to do the same. “It’s well worth it, stick it out…I know it’s hard,” he says. “I know the classes kind of push you, but it’s worth it, because I absolutely love what I do.”

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Campus Names CVS as Distinguished Community Employer

Campus Names CVS as Distinguished Community Employer

The pharmacy technician program at the Fort Wayne Campus has garnered tremendous support from local CVS Pharmacy stores. Within the past six months, four pharmacy technician students have gained real-world experience as externs with several CVS stores in the Fort Wayne area and have received praise for their hard work and knowledge.

The Fort Wayne Campus recently recognized CVS in appreciation of the support it provides students. Director of Health Care Education Martha Rostochak presented an award to Gary Nephew, the Northern Indiana Regional Supervisor, recognizing CVS as a Distinguished Community Employer.

Mr. Nephew is glad to offer externship opportunities to American National University. “CVS underwent a major software change [and American National University] students were able to quickly grasp the new programs,” he explained. Mr. Nephew and CVS makes externship positions available to American National University students each term.

Director of Health Care Education Martha Rostochak is pictured on the right presenting the Distinguished Community Employer award to Gary Nephew from CVS Pharmacy.

Local Attorney Helps Students Understand the Constitution

Local Attorney Helps Students Understand the Constitution

On September 17th, the Martinsville Campus recognized Constitution Day by hearing from Martinsville attorney H. Clay Gravely IV who spoke about how the Constitution and its amendments provide the legal framework for the rights granted to all citizens of the United States. Attorney Gravely talked about the safeguards in the Constitution regarding the rights of the accused. He also explained that interpretations of the laws and the passage of new laws may result in issues that end up being decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

During the discussion, student Leah Thomasson asked how it’s determined that a police officer erred in following enforcement procedures. Attorney Gravely responded that a person being charged would have to go before a judge, state that they feel the officer was wrong, and cite the case law. If the officer is found to have made an error, then the case could be thrown out or removed from the docket.

Following the event, student Rochella Stanley said that the discussion was helpful to her in understanding the protections provided by the Constitution. She noted that being aware of an individual’s rights while in the workforce is important because it leads to a more professional treatment of co-workers. Student Jdonna Kellam expressed a similar sentiment, “Each and every one has rights under the Constitution. We are responsible to be aware of the rights of others.”

Attorney H. Clay Gravely IV is pictured talking to students at the Martinsville Campus about Constitution Day.



National College celebrated Constitution Day throughout the week of September 17th with contests, guest speakers, and other activities to promote a better understanding of this important historical document. Students from every campus received a pocket-size copy of the Constitution and in some locations, guest speakers met with students and gave a presentation about what the Constitution means to United States citizens. Click here to see photos from the campuses that submitted photos from their celebrations.

Lynchburg Campus student Tracee Willis (pictured) said, “Remembering this day and reading this information has reminded me of how proud I am to be an American.”


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.