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October 22, 2012

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Graduate is Hired as Membership Director for Local Chamber

Graduate is Hired as Membership Director for Local Chamber

Michelle Andrews first became interested in attending college right out of high school, but she got a job at Frito Lay as a packer/trainer instead. While working there, she decided to follow up with her dreams of going to college and enrolled in the business administration-management degree program at the Lynchburg Campus.

“I’m very hands-on when it comes to learning…I learn by doing,” Michelle said, “[What] I found at National is that you could learn by doing.” With her employer’s support, she decided to build on her associate’s degree by enrolling in the business administration-management bachelor’s degree program. The company even helped pay for part of her education.

After a small break from school and a career switch to real estate, Michelle completely dedicated herself to finishing her degree. “My goal was to finish my bachelor’s before I turned 40,” Michelle says. “I turned 39 on May 21, and I graduated with my bachelor’s degree on May 25.”

With help from Career Center Director Nancy Wilcox, who helped her update her resume and look for jobs in her area, Michelle was excited to learn that the Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce had an opening for a membership director. “When this position came up, I knew in my heart this is what I wanted. It was just a great fit. It was everything I was looking for,” Michelle says.

She got the job and couldn’t be happier, “This is what I hope I retire doing because I just love it.” Her primary responsibility is to get information out to businesses about the chamber. “I love to be one-on-one and get face-to-face with people,” she says. “I love what I’m doing, so I don’t even consider it working. It’s been a great change for me.”

When Michelle Andrews (pictured) decided that she wanted a better life and made the commitment to put education first in her life, she was rewarded immeasurably.

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Accounting Major is Moving Up the Pay Scale with Her Degrees

Accounting Major is Moving Up the Pay Scale with Her Degrees

Thanks to her degree, Nakia Talbert gets to use her love of math and numbers every day as a school account specialist for Fayette County Public Schools. She graduated with an associate’s degree in business administration-accounting at the Lexington Campus in 2010 and enrolled in the bachelor’s degree program shortly thereafter.

Before coming to National, Nakia was laid off after working eight years for a bank. She had a hard time finding a job after that with a similar salary. “It was a struggle those two years that I didn’t have a job,” recalled the single mom who had to provide for her family. She decided to return to school to gain the skills she needed for a stable career. “I was kind of skeptical about coming back because I was a little bit older and was really afraid of the bigger campuses,” Nakia said, adding that she chose American National University for the small class size and one-on-one instruction that the campus offered.

In her job with the public school system, Nakia takes care of bookkeeping duties for Henry Clay High School such as managing the budget, reconciling bank statements, and managing payroll and departmental money. She was required to take a test to qualify for the position. “Had I not had some of the accounting classes under my belt at the time I took the test, I probably wouldn’t have gotten it,” she recalled.

Nakia moved up two pay levels when she earned her associate’s degree. She’s on track to complete her bachelor’s degree at National in November which will make her eligible for another pay raise. “I know that if it wasn’t for National—the classes and things that I learned since I’ve been here—I wouldn’t have the job that I have now and I wouldn’t have been able to do the things that I’ve done,” explained Nakia.

Nakia Talbert (pictured) said that it wasn’t easy being a single parent, working full time and going to school full time but she’s glad that she persevered.

Deborah May – Difference Maker at the Pikeville Campus

Deborah May – Difference Maker at the Pikeville Campus

Deborah May at the Pikeville Campus


  • General Education department chair
  • Instructor of general education courses, including English and keyboarding

American National University faculty member since 1999

Deborah has an associate’s degree in accounting, bachelor’s degree in comprehensive education from the University of Pikeville

I love teaching adult learners, and I love the professionally friendly atmosphere at American National University. I have always had a great respect for education, and I wanted to be an integral part of helping others achieve their educational dreams.

I went back to college late in life. I feel that because I went back late in life, I can relate to many of our students. This helps me to help them, and they trust me.

I love teaching a student who comes in unsure about what is expected of him or her. I gently work with that student until he or she feels comfortable. The student may not be an A student, but I see learning take place. That really makes my day. I have had students who tell me they learn under me in a nonthreatening way. I love that, because I do not believe a student can learn in an intimidating atmosphere. Students simply must be able to feel free to ask questions of any teacher.

National’s Workforce Development Grant Helps Her Start a New Career

National’s Workforce Development Grant Helps Her Start a New Career

Alice Harris felt that she needed to “retool” herself after she was laid off from a company where she worked for 21 years. She didn’t have any computer skills and she knew that she would need them in order to make herself more marketable. She turned to the Richmond Campus to help.

Since she was laid off, Alice qualified for the Workforce Investment Act and American National University’s exclusive Workforce Development Grant which matches funds to many federal, state, and local workforce development and worker retraining programs. With this tuition assistance, Alice was able to graduate from the administrative office specialist diploma program.

Alice was able to start her new career before she graduated in 2006. She got a job as a receptionist with the City of Richmond in the Section 8 Housing Department and has advanced to the position of family self-sufficiency coordinator where she helps clients look for jobs, get an education, and empower them to do better for themselves. She said her greatest joy comes from a client calling or stopping by letting her know that they got that job.

Susan Lillis, the executive director of Section 8 Housing, says that Alice is an asset to the office. She said she promoted Alice because it was clear that she loved working with people and she had the skills needed to do the job.

Alice Harris (pictured in top photo) said that her husband, James, was her inspiration to finish her program. In the bottom photo, she is pictured with Susan Lillis (left), the executive director of Section 8 Housing for the City of Richmond.

Professionalism is Focus of Campus’s Career Readiness Seminar

Professionalism is Focus of Campus’s Career Readiness Seminar

On Tuesday, October 17th, the Louisville Campus career center held the first in a series of Career Readiness seminars for students who will be graduating this term. The seminar focused on professionalism both in job interviews and the workplace. Future career readiness seminars will cover resume preparation, job searching, and interviewing skills.

“Our students have their education which prepares them to do the job--now we’re just preparing them to get the job,” said Career Center Director Donna Reed-Carson. By participating in these career readiness seminars, students will have the skills needed to land the job of their dreams.

During the seminar, Donna emphasized the importance of presenting yourself professionally when communicating by phone, by email, or in person. She also discussed the importance of keeping a good attitude in the workplace. Charnett Knox, a student in the health care management bachelor’s degree program, role-played with Donna to portray good conflict management in the office. They discussed how important it is to keep a check on your temper and to treat co-workers and customers with respect at all times. “It was very informational,” said Charnett, who added that she will use the knowledge she’s gained in her job search and at work.

Charnette Knox (left) is pictured role playing with Career Center Director Donna Reed-Carson.

Best Friends Transition from Factory Work to School Work

Best Friends Transition from Factory Work to School Work

Alicia Reese and Doris Patten are best friends who worked side-by-side in a factory for over 10 years. When they were both laid off, they knew they needed career training to find better jobs. They enrolled at the Danville, Kentucky Campus where they now study side-by-side in the medical office specialist program.

Alicia and Doris qualified for tuition assistance from the Workforce Investment Act program. They also got help with paying for their education through American National University’s exclusive Workforce Development Grant which matches funding from agencies.

Doris said that she was nervous about returning to school after being out for 40 years but she knew that National would be a good fit for them because her daughter, Christina Patten, graduated from the campus’s pharmacy technician program in 2005. “It’s been easy to go back to school here. I don’t think I’d have liked it if I’d gone somewhere else,” said Alicia.

Alicia and Doris ride to school together every day and help one another with homework. “We stay on the phone quite a bit,” Doris said with a smile. They also know that they can count on their instructors to be available when they need help. “They care about their students. I feel comfortable going to them,” said Alicia.

The two look forward to finding more rewarding and less physically demanding jobs in a medical office. Alicia said that their training at National is preparing them well for their new careers ahead. “It can lead to opening a lot of different doors in the future,” she said.

Best friends Doris Patten (seated) and Alicia Reese are studying for new careers together at American National University.

Campus Hosts Operation Hire Patriots Job Fair

Campus Hosts Operation Hire Patriots Job Fair

On Thursday, September 20th, the Florence Campus hosted an Operation Hire Patriots Veterans Job Fair. Veteran students from the campus, as well as other veterans from the area, attended the event to connect with the many area employers who participated in the job fair.

Jessica Frazier, college relations specialist for Omnicare, said that her company has recently implemented a new initiative to hire veterans. She said that she was participating in the job fair to find candidates for positions in the corporate office as well as in the company’s pharmacy-related areas. “We’re starting off with the schools and working with those programs within the schools that keep in contact with local veterans,” she said.

Adam Travis, an Army veteran who is currently a student in the business administration—management program, said that he talked with human resource representatives about management and sales position openings that were of interest to him and that he had left several resumes with employers. He appreciates that National is supporting the veteran community. “Anything that is done like this for veterans is helpful. I think it’s a good thing that the school does this,” said Adam.

Norman Castaneda, student and veteran, is pictured talking with a representative from Home Instead about employment opportunities with her company.

Campus Hosts Events to "Meet the Candidates"

Campus Hosts Events to

In partnership with the League of Women Voters of the Greater Dayton Area (LWVGDA), the Dayton Area Campus recently hosted a “Meet the Candidate” event offering a chance for members of the community and students to meet the candidates running for local offices. During the event, participants also had the opportunity to register to vote.

Candidates for office that attended the event include Peggy Lehner, who is running for re-election to the Ohio Senate, and her opponent Rick McKiddy; Jim Butler, who is running for re-election to the Ohio House of Representatives; and candidates for Montgomery County commissioner Judy Dodge and Debbie Lieberman.

Many students and members of the community attended the event and took advantage of the opportunity to meet with the candidates one-on-one and learn more about their political platforms.

Senator Lehner welcomed the opportunity to get together with constituents who don’t normally have access to these candidates. “This a great chance for them to get informed about these races and we can never have too many informed voters,” she said.

Ohio State Senator Peggy Lehner is pictured talking to Greg Steele, a student in the health information technology degree program.

New Registered Medical Assistants Receive Medical Pins

New Registered Medical Assistants Receive Medical Pins

The Cincinnati Campus recently celebrated its newest graduates of the medical assisting degree program with a pinning ceremony. The new registered medical assistants were invited to attend with their families to accept their new medical pins as they prepare to start their new careers.

The audience watched as the graduates took the medical assistant oath, and received their completion certificates and pins from Director of Health Care Education Valentyna Fannin. Each graduate took turns thanking their families and sharing a memorable moment from the classes they had taken. They also expressed appreciation to Valentyna and the other medical instructors for helping them prepare for their new careers.

Pictured at the pinning ceremony are new medical assistants (l to r) Alexis Gaines, Bobby Lindsey, Darnell Bell, and Nadia Alexander.

Senator Visits Campus and Meets with Students

Senator Visits Campus and Meets with Students

On October 16th, Ohio State Senator Capri Cafaro visited the Youngstown Campus to meet with students, faculty, and staff on issues that affect them and their families. Senator Cafaro is a member of the Ohio Senate, representing the 32nd Senate District since January 2007 when she was appointed to the 127th General Assembly. She spoke about the legislative process and how it affects Ohio constituents. She stressed the impact each person has on the legislative process and the valuable role each person plays. She also explained the importance of reaching out to representatives on issues of concern because a lot of legislative action begins with concerns from citizens. At the conclusion of her presentation, Senator Cafaro answered student questions about Medicare, education, oil and gas drilling, and other voting issues.

Campus Director Michael Boyle (left) and Regional Director of Operations Debbie Bowman (right) are pictured with Youngstown Campus guest Senator Capri Cafaro.

Campus Helps Students and Graduates Find a Job through Career Fair

Campus Helps Students and Graduates Find a Job through Career Fair

On Tuesday, October 2nd, the Knoxville Campus held a career fair with approximately eleven area employers represented. Many students and graduates filled the hallways in hopes of getting their foot-in-the-door.

Resource Accounting was well represented at the career fair offering on demand seasonal or time specific assignments and temporary to fulltime positions. Medic Regional Blood Center attended to fill positions for phlebotomy and other medical technicians. Southeastern Technology Consultants as well as many other employers were also on hand to fill various job openings requiring a diverse set of skills. As a result, many students and graduates made new contacts, turned in resumes, and some filled out online applications.

With the increase of employer participation and student involvement, the campus is already planning its next career for the near future.

Medical assisting student Sierra Willis is pictured at the job fair talking to a representative from the Peace Corps.

Medical Students Host Breast Cancer Awareness Event

Medical Students Host Breast Cancer Awareness Event

It was a sea of pink on the Bristol Campus in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month on October 12th. A group of medical assisting and pharmacy tech students, along with Director of Health Care Education Sheri Jessee, organized a breast cancer awareness event in order to educate students on breast cancer facts and early detection.

During the event, students welcomed guest speaker Karen Heaton, Health Initiative Director for the Northeast Tennessee area of the American Cancer Society. “I was delighted to speak at the event and was very impressed with all the work that the students put into it.” After Ms. Heaton’s presentation, the students heard from medical assisting student Alicia Pruitt - a breast cancer survivor, diagnosed at age 26. She told her story and emphasized that early detection is the key to successful treatment. “I thought that if I talked about it, people might take it more seriously, being that I was so young,” said Alicia. The student-organizers also prepared a PowerPoint presentation followed by a quiz bowl. “I felt it was important for everyone to know the facts,” said pharmacy technician student Megan Campbell. To complete the event, pink cupcakes were available and pink ribbons were sold to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

Bristol campus students, faculty, and staff will be wearing pink every Friday for the month of October in order to continue the efforts of this dedicated group of students into a month long campaign.

Pictured during the breast cancer awareness event are students that hosted the event (l to r) Alicia Pruitt (breast cancer survivor), Tiffany Dunnington, Megan Campbell, and Brittany Johnson.

Veteran Qualifies for VRAP and Enrolls in ISE Program

Veteran Qualifies for VRAP and Enrolls in ISE Program

Iver Schmidt, an eight-year veteran of the United States Marine Corps, is proud to be among the students at the Bartlett Campus. He attended an information session at the campus about the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) and was glad to learn that he could possibly meet the requirements to be accepted for assistance.

Iver had previously attended another college and noted some differences at National College that appealed to him. “National College is a top notch private school with a great staff,” he explained. “I like the curriculum and the short terms.” He enrolled in the information systems engineering degree program and was able to transfer twelve hours of credit which will help him finish his degree requirements in less than two years.

Iver Schmidt (pictured) said, “It’s not so much about earning the degree as it is about enjoying the learning.”

Soon-to-be Graduates Get Head Start in Career Readiness Group

Soon-to-be Graduates Get Head Start in Career Readiness Group

On Tuesday, September 25th, the South Bend Campus held its second “Employer Day” on campus. Employer Day is designed to bring potential employers to campus to interview students and to learn more about American National University. This event is focused on our students and graduates who have qualified for the Career Readiness Group (CRG) as they seek positions in their new fields of study.

In order to qualify for the CRG, students need to have successfully completed a 6-hour career center workshop that culminates with an up-to-date resume, an understanding of the importance of networking, and being prepared with professional interview responses, questions, and references. Through this process, students gain interview experience as well as job leads.

During “Employer Day,” students were interviewed individually in private offices by four employers: Best Buy’s Geek Squad, Memorial Home Care, Schurz Communications, and Walgreen’s Pharmacy. The employers not only became aware of American National University students’ employment qualifications but they also learned about the many career training programs offered at the campus.

Andrew MacDowell, VP of Schurz Communications, methodically critiqued the students’ resumes and their responses during his interview session, offering positive suggestions to the students. Mark Boetsma, Best Buy’s Geek Squad Manager, said he now knows more about American National University and is impressed with the high standards set for its students. Walgreen’s Anthony Hubble expressed an interest in staying in touch for when new pharmacy opportunities open up this fall.

Medical assisting student Elisabeth Welton is pictured on Employer Day with Mark Boetsman from Best Buy’s Geek Squad.

Students Learn their True Colors

Students Learn their True Colors

On Friday, September 21st, the Princeton Campus hosted a True Colors Personality Assessment Inservice with Andrea Bennett, a WVU extension agent for Mercer County. Ms. Bennett explained that True Colors International is the originator of using colors to represent the four personality styles. She explained to participating students that True Colors is a model for understanding personality temperament. Using the colors of blue, gold, green and orange, True Colors condenses the concepts of personality theory into a user-friendly, practical tool used to foster healthy productive relationships. Everyone has a combination of the traits that define the representing colors, but to varying degrees. In other words, one color is usually more dominant. The presentation was helpful for attendees as they learned why communication may seem abnormal or different with certain people and how to improve that communication based their colors of their personality.

Guest speaker Andi Bennett is pictured explaining the True Colors Personality Assessment.

Campus Hosts Life Saving Event

Campus Hosts Life Saving Event

On September 25th, the Roanoke Valley Campus hosted a blood drive in support of the American Red Cross. Recognizing that five million patients will need blood this year, students in the medical and information systems engineering programs volunteered to help support the blood donations.

Students in the emergency medical technology program helped set up the canteen in their department. Student Felicia Henley registered blood donor participants and staff member Carolyn Maynard volunteered in the canteen. Even though it was a community blood drive, National College students and staff were the primary donors. Over 30 people showed up to give blood and the Red Cross collected 24 pints. One pint of blood can save up to 3 lives.

Pictured at the blood drive are Team Supervisor S. Rosser, a National College graduate, and Dee Pfeiffer from the Red Cross assisting student Cari Burke who donated.

Campus Recognizes Local Employer for Supporting Career Education

Campus Recognizes Local Employer for Supporting Career Education

The Harrisonburg Campus recognized Harrisonburg Medical Associates as a Distinguished Community Employer for supporting career education.

Harrisonburg Medical Associates is a multi-specialty clinic offering services in cardiology, gastroenterology, nephrology, and neurology. They have hired many National College graduates from the medical assisting degree program. Four graduates are currently working there. They also support the campus by accepting students as externs and providing them with hands-on clinical and administrative learning experience.

On Monday, October 1st, the campus’s Director of Health Care Education, Betty Hassler, presented a plaque of appreciation to the staff members at Harrisonburg Medical Associates.

Director of Health Care Education Betty Hassler (2nd from right) is pictured presenting the plaque to HMA’s Nurse Manager Erica Huffman (left) and Practice Administrator Chris Auville(2nd from left) with student Chris Weve (right) who is currently working at the practice as an extern.

Diabetes and Nutrition a Topic of Discussion for Students in the Medical Programs

Diabetes and Nutrition a Topic of Discussion for Students in the Medical Programs

On September 25th, diabetes and nutrition was a topic of discussion for students in the medical assisting and pharmacy technician programs at the Lynchburg Campus. Sylvia Denton, a diabetes educator from Centra Health, was the guest speaker and gave an informative presentation on eating healthy and the effects of food and diabetes. Dietary choices and moderation of foods high in of sugar, starch, and carbohydrates were discussed and food labels were examined to determine what would be healthy choices for meals. Participating students learned that diabetes affects 25.8 million people and is the leading cause of kidney failure, non-traumatic lower limb amputations, blindness, heart disease, and stroke.

Students found the discussion helpful. Pharmacy technician student Vickie Boyer said that she will start looking at labels much closer now when shopping. Medical assisting student Katherine Reardon said, “I really learned a lot of new information, this really makes me want to start thinking more about what I eat.” Ms. Denton was glad that her discussion was so well received: “[I] enjoyed the students and their questions and comments were great.”

Pictured during the diabetes and nutrition discussion are (l to r) Amanda Shaw, Mary Justice, Katherine Reardon, Melissa Harris, speaker Sylvia Denton, Latasha Johnson, Jermaine Jones, and Te’Meishia Coles.

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.