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November 05, 2012

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From Drug Store Cashier to Certified Pharmacy Technician

From Drug Store Cashier to Certified Pharmacy Technician

On September 18th, exactly one month after completing the pharmacy technician diploma program at the Nashville Campus, Laura Gilmore passed the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE). Upon graduating, Laura landed a job as a pharmacy technician at Walgreens Pharmacy where she was already employed as a cashier. "Schooling was what got me into the job. With that behind me, they let me come on," Laura explains.

Her experience working at the drug store motivated her to return to school. At age 20, while watching the pharmacy technicians work, she declared, "This is what I am going to be." Five years later, she is.

Two years ago, Laura learned about National through the Internet. "[The campus] was close to my house," she said. "They had the program and courses I needed to do what I wanted to do. The next class was the next month. The timing was perfect."

Laura states she could not have passed the exam without Pharmacy Technician Exam Success class and Instructor Dr. Harold Bender. "He makes it so you want to learn. You didn't just memorize answers. I would look forward to [class]." The material was challenging, but Dr. Bender helped her focus in on what was important, and it wasn't just information. "Dr. Bender tells us you have to be nice to people because you're standing for your company," Laura explains. The course helped equip her and build character.

Dr. Bender returns Laura's compliment. "She listened to what I had to say and followed my instructions on what it took to pass the exam," he says. Laura recently interviewed with Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt where she has always wanted to serve. Regardless of the outcome, with her work ethic and the support of National, Laura is taking joy in doing what she loves.

Laura Gilmore is pictured carefully counting pills to fill a prescription, a primary task in her new career.

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Living the American Dream

Living the American Dream

Madelyn Ramirez and her family knew that luck was on their side when they were given the opportunity to come from Cuba to America through the visa lottery but they realized that it would take more than luck to find gainful employment in the United States. With support, hard work, and determination, Madelyn earned her medical assisting associate’s degree from American National University’s Louisville Campus and now she’s living the American dream.

When she first came to campus, Madelyn was nervous about attending college. At times, she considered giving up, but she sought advice and support from her admissions representative, Ely Kraft, a native of Venezuela who is fluent in Spanish. Ely said that insecurity and fear of failure is common among college students, but for those with a language barrier to contend with, fears can be even more pronounced. Ely was there to support Madelyn every step of the way throughout her program. “There were times that I wanted to quit but Ms. Ely talked to me and said ‘No!’” recalled Madelyn. Ely advised Madelyn to ask for help from her instructors when she needed it, and encourages international students to take advantage of the tutoring at no additional cost that is available to every student at American National University.

In the last term of her program, Madelyn was placed in an externship at Concentra Urgent Care where she gained hands-on experience performing a variety of duties in the busy medical office. As graduation neared, she worked closely with Career Center Director Donna Reed-Carson who assisted her with her résumé and her interviewing skills which resulted in an exciting job offer with Corizon Health Care at the Metro Louisville Department of Corrections. Madelyn is now working as a phlebotomist for Corizon.

Concentra was so pleased with Madelyn’s work that they also offered her a job when her externship there was completed. Madelyn was able to choose the position which offered the best pay and opportunity for growth which confirmed for her that she’d made the right choice in her job training at National.

Madelyn Ramirez said that her family was proud and her husband was in tears at the Louisville Campus graduation ceremony (pictured) that was held in May. She is pictured in bottom photo at the Capitol where she had an opportunity to gain hands-on experience providing medical screenings to legislators who visited the American National University booth.

Professionals Offer Students a Preview of their Future Careers

Professionals Offer Students a Preview of their Future Careers

On Wednesday, October 10th, Greg Newport, a pharmacist from Meijer Pharmacy, and Logan Steele, pharmacy technician, were guest speakers in the Intro to Pharmacology class at the Richmond Campus.

Greg spoke to the classes about the schooling to become a pharmacist, his job responsibilities, and the advantages and disadvantages of his job. He also described his interaction with pharmacy technicians and their importance in the pharmacy setting. Logan was able to provide first-hand testimony of what life will be like for graduates of the pharmacy technician program.

Natosha Addison, a student in both the medical assisting and pharmacy technician programs, was glad to hear from two working professionals in the pharmacy field. “As someone who is going to school to be a pharmacy tech it was very informative learning what to expect on the job and the kind of responsibilities I will have.”

Pharmacy Technician Logan Steele (left) and Pharmacist Greg Newport from Meijer Pharmacy are pictured at the Richmond Campus as they spoke to students in the pharmacy technician program.

First Award Presented to Worthy Recipient

First Award Presented to Worthy Recipient

The Pikeville Campus recently honored Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) for their contribution to American National University students and graduates as the first recipient of the campus’s Distinguished Community Employer Award.

PMC is one of the largest employers in the area that supports the Pikeville campus. They provide externship sites for students in the medical assisting, medical billing and coding, and phlebotomy programs and are a valued teaching site for our nursing students. PMC has hired graduates from every program offered in Pikeville and continues to work with Career Center Director Kelly Raupach and instructors to look for qualified graduates when there are positions available.

Jessica Howard with the Medical Leader newspaper reported that Modern Healthcare Magazine has named PMC to its list of the 2012 Healthcare’s Hottest, a program that recognizes the top 40 fastest growing health care companies. PMC is the only organization in Kentucky and one of only four hospitals to receive this prestigious honor.

“We are honored to partner with Pikeville Medical Center to provide training and career opportunities for our students and graduates,” said Campus Director Tammy Riley, “We appreciate their presence as a large employer in the community.”

Career Center Director Kelly Raupach (left) and Campus Director Tammy Riley (right) are pictured presenting a plaque of appreciation to PMC HR Director Stephanie Owens, Recruiter Brian Mullins, and HR Assistant Ryan Jones.

Campus Holds Health and Wellness Expo for Community While Students Get Hands-On Experience

Campus Holds Health and Wellness Expo for Community While Students Get Hands-On Experience

On Thursday, October 11th, the Lexington Campus held its annual Health and Wellness Expo. Twenty vendors participated with booths on display and representatives offering information and services to students, staff, faculty, and visiting members of the community.

Central Baptist Hospital was one of the many vendors that participated. A representative presented information about diabetes and nutrition. Students in the medical assisting program also set up a booth during the expo to offer glucose and urinalysis screenings.

Medical assisting student Lindsey Hall was glad to have an opportunity to participate in a health and wellness expo like this. “It was very informative and I was really impressed with my fellow students as they performed the different screenings,” she said. “It also was helpful to meet a representative from Central Baptist Hospital and Chiro One Wellness Center, as they could be a prospective employer to me once I graduate.”

Director of Health Care Education Jessica Hart (right) is pictured with students in the medical programs (l to r) Tiffany Harris, Ecoshia Jones, Kristie Arnold, and Michelle Rogers.

Veterans Find Camaraderie at National

Veterans Find Camaraderie at National

Eugene Hurst, Arthur Leopold, and Norman Castaneda, three veteran students who are attending the Florence Campus with funding through the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP), have found camaraderie and support in each other. All three are enrolled in the systems and user support program, a career field that qualifies under the program because of its high demand. They all started classes on the same day.

Eugene, an Air Force veteran, said that he looked at four local schools after finding out about the VRAP funding through the Office of Employment and Training. He decided that National was the best fit for him. “The thing that drew me here was the people—extremely nice, extremely helpful,” he explained. “I love the place.”

Norman, a Marine veteran, was laid off from a printing company and he first visited the campus to attend a job fair. He liked what he saw. “I’m 56 now…so, it was really important to me that I felt comfortable. I loved the vibes that I got from here,” he recalled. He also feels reassured knowing that National has been educating students since 1886. “This is not a diploma mill or one of those fly by night [schools]. They have 30 other campuses so they’re doing something right and they’ve been around since 1886—not 1996,” he said.

“The smaller classes make it a little easier,” said Arthur, an Army veteran, who finds the instructors and staff eager to assist in any way they can. “They go out of their way to help you,” he said.

The three have formed a study group and they are often joined by veteran student Jerry Marshall, another VRAP participant, whose story was featured in the October 15, 2012 issue of the National News.

“We go to my house on Sundays and we study together,” said Norman. “Last night Art and I took apart a computer. [He] pulled me through that one so I appreciate that.”

“We’re not competitive. If somebody else knows something—we share it,” added Eugene.

“We all help each other,” explained Norman. “Hopefully, we’ll get through the program and maybe end up working some place together.”

Pictured in the top photo are students and veterans (l to r) Eugene Hurst, Aurthur Leopold, and Norman Castaneda. Eugene is pictured in bottom photo talking with an employer during the Operation Hire Patriots Veterans Job Fair at the Florence Campus on September 20, 2012.

Accounting Graduate Follows Through

Accounting Graduate Follows Through

Heather Korporal was one of the Fort Wayne Campus’s first graduates, receiving both her accounting diploma and associate’s degree in business administration-accounting. Heather began her academic journey in September 2010 and completed her studies in August 2012. After interviewing with five employers, Heather was hired as a full time teller at the First Federal Credit Union in Huntington, IN. Heather persevered through four interviews with an insurance company, a financial services company, and two health companies while continuing her weekly Career Center meetings. Heather is excited to begin her new career and cited American National University’s continuous assistance in her placement.

Heather was featured on the cover of the July 22, 2011 issue of the National News as she neared completion of her accounting diploma. With her graduation from the associate’s degree program and successful job search, she has completed what she has set out to accomplish—and we wish her the best in her new career.

Heather Korporal (right) is pictured with Career Center Director Tavara Phillips.

Students are Honored for their Chosen Career Paths

Students are Honored for their Chosen Career Paths

The South Bend Campus recently celebrated the medical assisting profession during Medical Assisting Week. On Wednesday, October 17th, Medical Assisting Appreciation Day, students and their instructors opened a “NCSBD Clinic” offering screenings for blood pressures, body mass index, and blood glucose to fellow students, faculty, and staff.

After their procedures were complete, the “patients” received their “prescription” and were escorted to the “NCSBD Pharmacy” where their scripts were “filled” with Skittles candy by a student in the pharmacy technician program supervised by Department Chair Bob Jankowski, RPhT.

Director of Health Care Education Reneé Neldon involved students in preparing the campus for this special day that provided hands-on experience for students in the two medical programs. Prizes and awards were passed out throughout the week for all the outstanding work.

The following week saw more activities on campus to celebrate Pharmacy Technician Week and the students in that program. On Wednesday, October 24th, National Pharmacy Tech Day was celebrated with refreshments for everyone. Pharmacy technician students gave tours and demonstrated normal pharmacy practices.

Medical assisting student Liz Armenakis is pictured practicing her technique on fellow student Christina Browder.

Appomattox Medical Center Recognized for Hiring Nine Graduates

Appomattox Medical Center Recognized for Hiring Nine Graduates

The Lynchburg Campus recently honored Appomattox Medical Center for their continued support of career education.

Appomattox Medical Center provides primary medical care and urgent care to residents in the Appomattox area. They have hired nine National College graduates from the medical assisting degree program. They also support the campus by accepting students as externs and providing them with a hands-on clinical and administrative learning experience.

“We like to get National College students and enjoy working with them; they are well trained,” said Dr. Larry Smith, medical director for Appomattox Medical Center.

Campus Director Bill Baker (center) is presenting a plaque of appreciation for this partnership to Dr. Larry Smith (left) and Tammy Wingo, MSN, RN.

Campus Recognizes University of Virginia Health System

Campus Recognizes University of Virginia Health System

The Charlottesville Campus recently honored University of Virginia Health System for their continued support of career education.

University of Virginia Health System offers a wide range of medical services for residents in the Charlottesville area. They have hired over twenty National College graduates from the medical programs. They also support the campus by accepting students as externs and providing them with a hands-on clinical and administrative learning experience.

Campus Director Kelly Chamberlain (2nd from right) and Director of Health Care Education Larry Liggan (far right) are presenting a plaque of appreciation to (left to right) Pamela Thomas, Gretchen Kaufman, and Melissa Frederick of UVA Health System.

Graduate Lands Dream Job with ISE Degree

Graduate Lands Dream Job with ISE Degree

Thousands of buttons, dozens of routers, computers everywhere, TVs side-by-side and endless rows of computerized equipment and wires – it is here that National College graduate Frankie Coleman becomes a master control operator.

Frankie works with local TV station, WVVA, which boasts a stunning HD, state of the art, computerized control system and Frankie is in charge of making sure it operates efficiently. He graduated from the information systems engineering (ISE) degree program at the Princeton Campus in May.

In his job, Frankie reroutes computers and divides shows, news, and commercials into segments. He edits and records videos if necessary, and gives the cue for live broadcasts and controls the audio board for evening news programs. He edits and uploads videos and stories to the WVVA website. Frankie uses applications based software that he learned while attending National.

“Without my education at National, I would not be able to do this, or almost any job here, because the learning curve would be too large,” Frankie explains.

Frankie’s production manager said he decided Frankie was the right fit for the job because he has a degree in ISE and he knew that he would be able to catch on quickly. He also said that his correspondence, emails, and résumé were well thought out with no spelling or grammatical errors. He noted that many candidates are eliminated simply for taking short cuts on their résumés.

ISE graduate Frankie Coleman (pictured) said he likes working behind the scenes at a TV station and says his new job is like a “dream come true.”

Business Students Learn the How to Operate a Small Business

Business Students Learn the How to Operate a Small Business

On Tuesday, October 9th, two students from the Harrisonburg Campus, Brian Hoover and Shannon Zalewski, in the Managing the Small Business class visited an Allstate Insurance office in downtown Harrisonburg to interview owner Abbas Rawoot and learn more about operating a small business. This opportunity provided students with a first-hand account of what it takes to start up a small business and manage its operations to ensure success.

Brian and Shannon are both students in the business administration-management degree program. During the meeting, they asked questions regarding the challenges and obstacles they may face in getting their own businesses started.  Mr. Rawoot discussed what it takes to establish a small business; the hiring process; and creating a positive business ethic in today’s economy.  Mr. Rawoot is the owner and general manager of the Allstate Insurance office and he also teaches accounting classes at the Harrisonburg Campus.

Abbas Rawoot (left) is pictured talking to students Brian Hoover (center) and Shannon Zalewski.

Campus-Hosted Career Fair Leads to Employment Interviews for Students

Campus-Hosted Career Fair Leads to Employment Interviews for Students

The Bristol Campus hosted a career fair with over a dozen local employers attending and many National College students and graduates taking part. This event was organized by Career Center Director Meredith Jones. Employers included Alpha Natural Resources, Bright Services, Brock Services, Johnson City Eye Clinic, Lowe’s, Market America, Northwestern Mutual, US Solutions Group and Bristol Broadcasting Co. The business representatives spoke with students and graduates about employment opportunities with their companies; many handed out brochures and other materials. Student Tayna Moffitt, said “I really enjoyed speaking with the employers about their companies. After speaking with Brock Services (a staffing company), I learned that they do temp-to-hire positions and that got me excited.”

Students were well-dressed and prepared with questions for the employers. Two students, Selena Allen and Christina Ball, gained interviews with Market America. “I am excited to see what comes of this opportunity,” said Selena. This event was also open to the community and job seekers throughout the Bristol area got the opportunity to visit the campus and meet with employers.

Bristol Student Tanya Moffitt is pictured talking to Sally France from Brock Services about temp-to-hire positions.

Xtend Healthcare Recognized for HIT Support

Xtend Healthcare Recognized for HIT Support

The Madison Campus recently honored Xtend Healthcare for their continued support of career education. Xtend provides professional and consulting services to healthcare clients to strengthen their financial and revenue cycle operations. They have hired National College graduates and they also accept students as externs and provide them with a hands-on administrative learning experience.

Vickie Harris, recruiter for Xtend, likes to hire graduates from National College because she said she prefers candidates that are well informed in the area of health information technology and have an eagerness to continue to learn.

Vickie Harris and Della Jobe from Xtend accept a plaque of appreciation from the Madison Campus.

Campus Recognizes Medical Assisting Week

Campus Recognizes Medical Assisting Week

For Medical Assistant Recognition Week, the Stark County Campus decided to show appreciation to medical assisting students by getting the whole campus involved in a week-long event. The role of a medical assistant is essential in the healthcare field, especially in the ambulatory care settings.

Director of Health Care Education Karen Drennen planned various activities for the students, including the whole student body. “We didn’t want to exclude any of the students in the process, so we did some activities for all to part take in,” explained Karen as she described the different ways she tried to get the students involved in celebrating this special week.

Karen passed out bags of candy bones to the medical students. The students were also encouraged to showcase their decorative skills by decorating doors for their specific programs. Karen encouraged the students to decorate according to what they have learned this far in a creative way.

Kristen Johns is pictured decorating a window in celebration of Medical Assisting Week.

Business Partner and Employer of National Grads Recognized for Zero Deficiencies

Business Partner and Employer of National Grads Recognized for Zero Deficiencies

Nationwide Children’s Hospital has employed several graduates from the Columbus Campus, and it has earned the respect of the faculty, staff, and students in many ways. On Tuesday, October 16th, Director of Health Information Technology (HIT) Judith Jones, Director of Health Care Education Beth Laurenz, and several students in the HIT program attended an event at the hospital called “Journey to Zero.”

During the event, students and faculty members present learned about how the hospital earned a distinction among other hospitals in the country for having zero deficiencies – no errors, such as unsigned documents or missing reports. Nationwide is the only hospital in the country to gain this distinction.

In addition, the speakers at this event gave everyone an overview of the jobs that some of the recent HIT graduates of the campus are doing there at the hospital, and one reason for doing this was that they hoped to encourage other HIT students to pursue employment there once they graduate. Judith said that Nationwide really wants to recruit more National graduates. “They applauded our students and their attention to detail,” she said, adding that the dedicated work of recent graduates such as Natasha Johnson and Marvin Owusu has helped them maintain their status of zero deficiency.

The students who attended were very impressed with the event, and they were flattered that Nationwide Children’s Hospital had such confidence in them. Upcoming HIT graduate Doug Jackson was proud to predict, “I’m going to be working there at the end of the year.”

Pictured at the Journey to Zero event are Marcus Bozeman, Director of Health Care Education Beth Laurenz, Takiesha Black, HIT Director Judith Jones, Doug Jackson, Lovely Oriental.

Jamie Jackson – Difference Maker at the Youngstown Campus

Jamie Jackson – Difference Maker at the Youngstown Campus

Jamie Jackson at the Youngstown Campus

Career Center Director


  • American National University staff member since 2008
  • Has 8 years of retail management experience
  • Recipient of the following American National University awards:
  • Career Center Director of the Year- Ohio Region- 2012
  • Career Center Director of the Year- Ohio/Indiana Region- 2011
  • Dedicated Service and Contribution Award- Youngstown Campus- 2011

Holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration with a specialization in marketing from West Liberty University

Our students at the Youngstown campus have such positive energy. They have self determination to exceed expectations. I am always impressed to watch the transformation from the new student showing up at orientation, to the same student walking across the stage at graduation.

I believe it is a partnership. My students teach me, or open my eyes to new obstacles as I prepare, assist, and counsel them. Together we work as a team to focus on their career path and ensure they maintain success. I have an open door policy and students can address me with any questions, concerns, or problems associated with academics or their personal life.

I thrive when our students/graduates radiate with self-esteem. I usually see this as they are “dressed for success” before an interview, or after an interview when they “nailed” it, or the best thing, when they are offered the position that they deserve through their academics and professionalism.

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.