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December 17, 2012

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National Challenges Student to Pursue Lifelong Learning

National Challenges Student to Pursue Lifelong Learning

Tanya Reavish was inspired to pursue work in home health care after caring for her grandmother—an inspiration not uncommon among American National University students. She was then unemployed, however, when she happened to be shopping near the Columbus Campus and decided to pay American National University a visit. It was a fateful decision.

Now, nearly a year after completing her program and working as a medical assistant for Grayson Family Practice, she looks forward to a life of learning. “This is a starting point, it’s not going to be my ending point,” she noted. Having passed her Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) exam, she has set her sights on becoming a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) and pursuing additional education and certifications. Her goal is to work in a hospital setting, possibly as a nurse.

Completing her program in February, by March she was employed in her field. Tonya credits her externship, a requirement for all medical assisting graduates, with giving her the hands-on training to supplement her coursework in preparing her for the real world.

Initially hard-pressed to name a favorite instructor—“All of them were my favorites!” she exclaimed— she cited Director of Health Care Education Beth Laurenz, General Education Chair (now career center director) Pat Kedzerski, and instructor Mary Dow as those who were always there for her no matter what challenges she faced.

“American National University is a challenging school,” she admitted. “But the thing about them is they help you succeed. They help you get to where you need to be.”

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Akron Area, OH
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Martinsville, VA
Roanoke Valley, VA

West Virginia
Parkersburg, WV
Princeton, WV

Kmart Pharmacy Recognized for Eight Years of Support

Kmart Pharmacy Recognized for Eight Years of Support

The Princeton Campus recently awarded a Distinguished Community Employer Award to Kmart Pharmacy in Bluefield, West Virginia.

For more than eight years Pharmacy Manager Pete Vladimery has been accepting National College externs and providing them with the hands-on training they need to find employment in the pharmacy technician field. He has also hired many National College graduates throughout the years.

Mr. Vladimery said he will continue to provide externships and employment as long as National offers the pharmacy technician program.

His current lead technician, Alexis Phillips, is a National graduate and has been working with him for four years. He has said that he doesn’t know what he would do without her!

Campus Director Denver Riffe is pictured on the right presenting a Distinguished Community Employer award to Kmart Pharmacy Manager Pete Vladimery.

Campus Supports Holiday Meals for Military Program

Campus Supports Holiday Meals for Military Program

On Saturday, December 8th, the South Bend Campus became Operation Homefront’s distribution site in the Michiana area for their annual Holiday Meals for Military program. “It was the easiest decision I had to make,” said Campus Director John Herman after receiving a call from an Operation Homefront representative asking if American National University would be willing to host the event. “This was their first time doing this in the South Bend area and they heard that American National University is a big supporter of the military, so they called to ask for help.” Once staff, faculty, and students found out, they were more than willing to lend a hand in any way they could.

The Holiday Meals for Military Program began Thanksgiving 2009 when a soldier could not afford their groceries and a grocery store employee in Utica, New York helped them out. Students and staff from American National University joined with volunteers from Operation Homefront, Beam Inc., and Walmart, assembling 150 meal kits and distributing the kits to the service members and their families as they arrived on campus. The trucks arrived with the food at 7:30am, and sorting and assembling the items into bags was completed before the first military families arrived at 10:00.

Dorie Bush, the campus receptionist, helped work the registration table and said that every military member couldn’t believe someone was doing this for them. “They were all very appreciative,” she explained.

But it was the volunteers who got the most out of the event. “It was a very humbling experience being able to brighten the Christmas holiday for our service members,” said Admissions Representative Lisa Patterson. “I hope this will become a tradition that American National University will continue for years to come.”

Pictured in the above photo are the volunteers that participated in Operation Homefront’s annual Holiday Meals for Military program that was held at the South Bend Campus. Dorie Bush and Lisa Patterson, pictured in the bottom photo left to right, were glad to have been a part of such an important event.

Students Build Relationship with Local Company

Students Build Relationship with Local Company

Following a job fair at the Akron Area Campus, Universal Screen Arts – a gift catalog company – invited students to visit their offices for a field trip. The students in Norm Katz’s Principles of Management class attended the field trip which included a tour of the screen printing department, the photography studio, and the warehousing department.

Noel Clemens, Human Resources Coordinator for Universal, answered students’ questions regarding marketing and human resources for a large company and discussed the differences between internet marketing versus direct mail marketing. The students returned to campus excited about what they learned and the possibilities for putting new knowledge to work some day for a local company.

Universal Screen Arts has hired several graduates from different programs at the Akron Area Campus. They actually hired three American National University graduates at the most recent job fair on campus as well as several students for seasonal employment.

“It’s really nice that we are building a relationship with a great local company,” stated Business Department Chair Norm Katz. “The students as well as Universal Screen Arts seem pleased with this partnership and we hope to keep it going.”

Noel Clemens with Universal Screen Arts is pictured on the left with students (l to r) Chris Fogle, Sean Thorpe, Ron Shuler, Virginia Reese, and Career Center Director Maxine O’Mara.

Sheena Freeman – Difference Maker at the Bartlett Campus

Sheena Freeman – Difference Maker at the Bartlett Campus

Sheena Freeman at the Bartlett Campus

Administrative Assistant

National College staff member since 2007

Holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and a Master of Business Administration degree

What I appreciate and admire most about National College students is their determination to excel regardless of the situations they may be experiencing. I admire our students’ passion to be great and their work ethic to thrive in their careers. What our students do not only shapes and impacts their lives but the lives of their families as well.

I believe I make a difference in students’ lives by ensuring that their concerns are heard when they are voiced. I believe that making sure we have the best faculty and staff is also a significant way to make a difference in a student’s life; therefore, making sure our faculty complies with professional development and keeping them up to date with policies are essential both directly and indirectly to the student.

My favorite moments and greatest reward as a National College employee has been being here for the beginning of a student’s journey, through their program, and seeing them graduate and become placed in their career field. The transformations I see our students go through has been so exciting and rewarding.

The Florence Crittenton Agency Recognized for ISE Support

The Florence Crittenton Agency Recognized for ISE Support

The Knoxville Campus recently awarded The Florence Crittenton Agency (FCA) with a Distinguished Community Employer Award. Founded in 1896, FCA’s mission is to strengthen communities through effective prevention and treatment services to children and families.

Students from National’s information systems engineering (ISE) degree program are given the opportunity to work at FCE through an externship program. Through this partnership, externs get real-world experience with PC hardware and software troubleshooting as well as coordinating any needed IT improvements and support for external vendors.

“Having an intern from National College of Business and Technology was an essential component in helping our organization with computer-related issues and technical projects that we would not have been able to complete without this program,” said FCA President and CEO Nancy Christian. “We appreciate the opportunity to give your students some practical hands-on experience that will help them in their future careers.”

In satisfying an additional goal of our externship program, students also learned the soft skills in adapting to a corporate environment. “I felt very welcomed and was able to work independently troubleshooting my daily tasks,” said Lakeisha Johnson, who just completed her externship. “The hands-on experience outside of class yielded the confidence I needed to pursue my career in ISE.”

Based on the successful experience that the externs from National College have provided FCA, Ms. Christian is considering additional externship opportunities for National students in accounting or business administration.

Campus Career Center Director Shay Riggs (left) and ISE Director Ken McDonald (2nd from left) are pictured with graduate Lakeisha Johnson (far right) presenting a plaque of appreciation to FCA President Nancy Christian (center) and FCA Executive Assistant Darlene Wells (2nd from right).

A Campus-Wide Effort to Collect Toys and Support the Community

A Campus-Wide Effort to Collect Toys and Support the Community

The Harrisonburg Campus recently collected toy donations from students, staff, and faculty for Toys for Tots – a program created by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve to deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters. The program’s mission is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November, and December and distribute Christmas gifts to underprivileged children in the community. The campus has supported this program as a collection site for many years.

Student Services Representative Melissa Schmitz (left) and Director of Student Services, Rebecca Wood (center) is pictured presenting the toy donations collected at the Harrisonburg Campus to Amy Smith (right), Coordinator of the Marine Corps Reserve, Stonewall Detachment #330, on Wednesday, December 12, 2012.

Graduate Finishes Program and Starts New Job in the Same Week

Graduate Finishes Program and Starts New Job in the Same Week

It was a very busy and very successful week for Dana Wilson as she passed the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) exam, started a new job, and finished the medical assisting associate’s degree program at the Lynchburg Campus.

After realizing that she was in a dead end job, she started looking into career training. “I heard good things [about National],” she explained as she recalled her decision to call the campus and set up an appointment.

Dana chose the medical field because she loves dealing with the public and helping people. She values the training that she got through National’s program: “My training exceeded my expectations. I learned so much from the hands-on-training that National offers.” She also values the friendships she formed while taking classes as she and fellow classmates studied together and cheered each other on throughout their programs.

Like many National College graduates, Dana found a job in her new career right away. “I actually heard about the job I got through our career center,” she said. “All of the workshops and job fairs helped me prepare for the interviews.”

“I honestly owe my success to National College,” said Dana Wilson (pictured).

Campus Hosts Local AUSA Chapter Christmas Party

Campus Hosts Local AUSA Chapter Christmas Party

Members of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), Stonewall Jackson Chapter, recently held a Christmas party at the Roanoke Valley Campus. Under the leadership of Chapter President Lieutenant Colonel (ret) Carl “Maddog” Matney and Colonel John Miller, a large group of veterans of the Army joined together for fellowship.

“National College is a leader in responsibly maintaining their proud role as a ‘Military Friendly’ institution,” said Colonel Miller. “This fact, in large part, is why we chose the Roanoke [Valley] Campus as the site of our annual Christmas meeting.”

The Stonewall Jackson Chapter is committed to educating legislators at the federal, state, and local levels and is a very effective watchdog insuring that returning vets know how to access services and programs for which they are entitled.

The National Association, of which the Stonewall Jackson Chapter is one, has a corporate membership program with nearly 10,000 business leaders from approximately 4,800 companies ranging from local businesses to Fortune 500 companies. National College is one of those corporate members.

Campus Director Lew Bishop is pictured on the left during the AUSA Stonewall Jackson Chapter Christmas Party with Colonel John Miller and other association members.

Graduate of Three Programs is Promoted

Graduate of Three Programs is Promoted

Sharon Barksdale, like many graduates, has turned to National College to set the path for her career. She first enrolled in the 1990s and earned degrees from the business administration-accounting program – an associate degree from the Martinsville Campus and a bachelor’s degree from the Roanoke Valley Campus.

Sharon used her degrees for years as she worked with Main Street Bank Shares and GSI Commerce. In 2009, she decided to continue her education and returned to National to broaden her education.

Shortly after receiving her third National College degree in 2010, Sharon began working at the Virginia Employment Commission’s Martinsville office. Armed with a lot of knowledge and skills, Sharon received additional responsibilities as Workforce Services Supervisor, managing the facility. She is appreciative of her experience at National College and said that the college greatly prepared her for her work experiences.

National College graduate and Workforce Services Supervisor Sharon Barksdale is pictured on the right with Workforce Services Representative Ruby Gravely discussing the December VEC calendar of events.

Campus Presents First Distinguished Community Employer Award to CCMC

Campus Presents First Distinguished Community Employer Award to CCMC

The Parkersburg Campus recently presented its first Distinguished Community Employer Award to Camden Clark Medical Center (CCMC) in recognition of the center’s continued support of career education.

CCMC is an acute care and skilled nursing facility with more than 2,000 employees including two National College graduates and two upcoming graduates. In addition, CCMC supports the education of healthcare professionals by providing hands-on clinical and administrative experience to 15 National College externs.

“With more than 100 years of providing medical care to the local community, we are honored to partner with CCMC for externship and career opportunities for our students and graduates,” said Campus Director Larry Sloter. “We are thrilled to recognize Camden Clark Medical Center for its commitment to supporting healthcare education.”

National’s Director of Health Care Education Leah Nix (left) and Campus Director Larry Sloter (right) are pictured presenting a plaque of appreciation to David McClure, Vice-President of Operations for CCMC.

Medical Assisting Graduate Gains a More Family-Friendly Career

Medical Assisting Graduate Gains a More Family-Friendly Career

Melissa Durham was working in a factory for 12 hours a day, 7 days a week when she decided it was time for a change. “I never got to see my little boy,” she recalled. She earned her associate’s degree from the Richmond Campus and today she works as a registered medical assistant for McClellan Chiropractic Center and Price Family Chiropractic where her career is both rewarding and family-friendly.

Melissa first began working for Dr. John McClellan and Dr. Carl Price as an extern during her medical assisting program. Office Manager Teresa Harrison said that Melissa had excellent computer skills when she began her externship. “It was wonderful how quickly that she caught on to our system,” said Ms. Harrison who added that she learned some new computer techniques herself from Melissa. “There was a lot that she even brought to me from her school.”

Dr. McClellan said that Teresa’s work in the clinical side of the practice was also exceptional. “I had several patients say I shouldn’t let her go…so that was one of the things that made my mind up about keeping her on board with us on our staff,” Dr. McClellan recalled.

“She was too good to let go,” added Dr. Price. “She’s exceeded our expectations with our patients.”

Melissa earned a 98% on her registered medical assisting certification exam and she says that it was the combination of her classwork and her experience in the externship that helped her achieve her high score. She performs a variety of duties in the practices--from front office work such as screening patients and starting new patient files to clinical work such as developing x-rays, taking vitals, and performing ultrasounds and electrotherapy treatments.

Melissa has learned a lot about chiropractic health care while working for Dr. McClellan and Dr. Price. “It’s a new way of thinking and learning…it’s amazing what chiropractic can do,” she said.

She’s happy to have a schedule that allows her more time with her family and she feels fulfilled at the end of the work day. “When I leave here, I’m tired but I’ve had those good experiences with my patients and my co-workers,” she explained.

Melissa Durham, pictured in the above photo, said she is happy to have a work schedule that allows her to have more time with her family. Office Manager Teresa Harrison (left) and Dr. John McClellan are pictured with Melissa who works as a medical assistant in the chiropractic practices of Dr. McClellan and Dr. Carl Price.

Campus Advisory Board Learns of Innovations and Shares Their Insight

Campus Advisory Board Learns of Innovations and Shares Their Insight

The Pikeville Campus recently held its semi-annual Campus Advisory Board meeting. The Campus Advisory Board is comprised of professionals from the community who offer insight into the workforce needs of the community and offer advice for enhancing the campus’s programs.

During the meeting, Campus Director Tammy Riley shared with the group that American National University has instituted a tuition freeze until June of 2014. She also discussed National’s new five term calendar year in which students can earn an associate’s degree in as little as eighteen months and a bachelor’s degree in three years.

Michelle Dennison, a counselor with the Kentucky Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, attended the meeting and said that she’s been a member of the board for several years. “We have a great working relationship,” she said. Michelle was happy to learn about the new five term calendar year. “I liked hearing that because we’re creating graduates sooner. I also wanted to get some information and ask questions about the financial side of that. That was good information for me.”

Campus Director Tammy Riley is pictured on the far right addressing members of the Campus Advisory Board during its semi-annual meeting.

Graduate Is Hired as an Office Supervisor

Graduate Is Hired as an Office Supervisor

April Leak, a graduate of the Lexington Campus, has been hired by Jackson Hewitt Tax Service as an office supervisor. April will use the computer and administrative skills she learned from the office technology professional program as she oversees the office staff and prepares tax returns for her customers.

April chose to enroll in the office technology professional program at American National University because of the large variety of computer skills that she would gain over the course of the program, which included accounting, business management, and proficiency in Microsoft software.

“National has changed my life tremendously,” said April. “Just having the staff be there through my good times and bad times--they have given me encouragement. They’ve worked with me and helped me succeed.”

April has worked for Jackson Hewitt in the past as a tax preparer. She looks forward to helping her customers maximize their tax deductions.

Graduate April Leak (pictured) hopes to someday own her own tax preparation business and possibly open a restaurant using the skills she learned from the office technology professional program.

Surgical Technology Graduate Finds Success at National

Surgical Technology Graduate Finds Success at National

Caitlyn Denham, a graduate of the Florence Campus’s surgical technology program, is working as an Endoscopy Technician at University Hospital in Cincinnati. She came to American National University at the suggestion of her sister who had attended the campus years before.

“Other, larger colleges offer so many electives that you never use toward your degree,” explained Caitlyn who had previously attended two large universities. She was ready to get started in her career and found that National offered just what she needed to do so as quickly as possible. “It was a big relief after going through three different colleges to finally finish up with an associate’s degree—it was great,” she said of graduation.

Caitlyn describes her new job as “awesome” and said that she feels secure working in the medical field. “You’ll never run out of medical positions. It’s something that’s always going to be around,” she said. “[American National University] definitely put me in the right direction being in the medical field. It’s opened up a lot of opportunity for me.”

Caitlyn Denham describes her new job as a surgical technologist as “awesome.” She is pictured practicing her technique in prepping a patient’s leg (on an educational mannequin) for an orthopedic surgery.

Medical Assisting Graduate Provides Care to the Elderly in Her New Career

Medical Assisting Graduate Provides Care to the Elderly in Her New Career

Amanda Gracie has turned her passion for caring for the elderly into a career. She earned her associate’s degree from the Louisville Campus and she’s now working as a registered medical assistant for JenCare Neighborhood Medical Center, a clinic specializing in one-stop care for seniors.

Amanda found that her medical assisting program at American National University prepared her well for her new career. She was required to take a skills test during the hiring process at JenCare and she passed the test with ease. “Everyone here was amazing,” she said of her instructors. “Being in the small classes, I always had their undivided attention anytime I needed help with something or didn’t understand something.”

She also found that her externship, which is a requirement of the medical assisting program, offered valuable experience in the field. She worked hard during the externship and the practice gave her a glowing recommendation when she applied at JenCare.

At JenCare, which operates clinics in Kentucky, Louisiana and Virginia, Amanda has the opportunity to work with a variety of specialists including a podiatrist, ophthalmologist, dentist, and acupuncturist. “It’s awesome. I have a rewarding career—something that I have always wanted to do,” said Amanda who hopes to move up in her career with JenCare as the company continues to grow.

Amanda Gracie (pictured) loves that she is able to work with a variety of specialists in her new job.

Sister City Grant Helps International Law Student

Sister City Grant Helps International Law Student

Thanks to the National College Sister City Grant, Ines Yahi has been granted the opportunity of a lifetime to study in America. She is currently a third-year law student at the Universite Caen Basse Normandie in France, but she took a year off to study in the paralegal program at the Roanoke Valley Campus.

The Sister City Grant is designed to recognize, award, and assist international students who wish to pursue their studies in the United States. National College provides one grant per year to each of Roanoke’s seven sister cities, and Ines is from Saint-Lô, Roanoke’s sister city in France..

Ines came to the Roanoke Valley once before when she took an internship a year ago as a legal aide for a local law firm. When she discovered the Sister City Grant that National offers, she was excited for the opportunity to return. She hopes to one day practice international contract law in the United States.

She said that she loves learning in the United States: “It’s so different here. The instructors are here for you. They try to answer your questions. In France, they are not here for you like this.”

When she returns to France next year, Ines will surely have wonderful new insight into what it is like to practice law in the United States, thanks to National College and the Sister City Grant.

Ines Yahi of France is pictured taking advantage of National College’s Sister City Grant at the Roanoke Valley Campus and learning what it is like to practice law in the United States.

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.