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January 14, 2013

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Eyes on the Future

Eyes on the Future

Dayton Area Campus graduate Heather Eck quickly achieved her career goals through National’s medical assisting associate degree program, but the 21-year-old definitely isn’t finished yet.

“I like helping people, and I’m good with other people,” she says. That led her to a career in the medical field, and having achieved her Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) certification, she has her eyes set on getting her nursing degree and working in a hospital obstetrics ward.

Heather had a friend who was attending American National University to become a medical assistant when she was researching educational opportunities. Comparing what National had to offer to another nearby college, Heather says she liked the class schedules and class structure at National.

“I loved the invasive classes…[they] were so hands-on,” she explains. “The phlebotomy part of it was my favorite.”

Significantly, two programs offered by the State of Ohio helped Heather achieve her educational goals. Ohio’s 529 Savings Plan ( provides a tax-free way of saving for college, while the Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG) provides grants to qualified Ohio students pursuing a college degree. American National University helped lead the fight to restore eligibility for OCOG for career college students.

Not only did Heather enjoy her classes and instructors, she’s been able to continue one of those relationships in her job with Kettering Family Practice. “Angie Williams was my teacher throughout many of my medical classes,” Heather explains. “Now I have the pleasure of working with her.”

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Kettering Family Practice Helps Medical Assisting Students Prepare for Their New Careers

Kettering Family Practice Helps Medical Assisting Students Prepare for Their New Careers

The Dayton Area Campus recently recognized Kettering Family Practice as a Distinguished Community Employer for their continued support of American National University’s medical assisting degree program.

Kettering Family Practice has partnered with the campus as an externship site for the medical assisting degree program. They have helped train many American National University students offering them a hands-on learning experience in a real medical office. As a result of these successful externships, Kettering Family Practice has hired several National graduates.

Campus Director Rob Gast said that students who have done an externship rotation at Kettering Family Practice frequently comment about their positive externship experience. “Students appreciate how the staff lets them apply what they have learned in classes on actual patients instead of just observing,” explained Rob.

Kettering Family Practice also participates in the campus’s Medical Assisting Advisory Board and contributes valuable information on what students need to learn to be successful in the medical assisting field.

Campus Director Rob Gast (left) is pictured with Director of Health Care Education Derrick Parks (right) and National graduate and Kettering Family Practice employee Heather Eck (2nd from left), presenting a plaque of appreciation to Angie Williams (2nd from right), who works for the practice and is also an instructor at the campus.

Kevin Chakos – Difference Maker at the Stark County and Youngstown Campuses

Kevin Chakos – Difference Maker at the Stark County and Youngstown Campuses

Kevin Chakos (pictured helping students) at the Youngstown and Stark County Campuses


*  Department Chair of the pharmacy technician programs at the Youngstown and Stark County campuses
*  Instructor of pharmacology, pharmacy lab, chemistry, dosage and calculations, and preparatory math courses


*  American National University instructor since 2011
*  Worked in the pharmacy field for over 12 years; taught at the college level for 4 years


*  Received his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy
*  Performed his general practice residency at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland
*  Has career experience in various areas of pharmacy, including institutional, community, insurance (HMO and PBM administration), and research, as well as experience as a technician in a microbiology laboratory

What I admire about American National University students is their ability to integrate full-time schooling into everyday life and current careers, in order to advance or change to a new career.

I enjoy witnessing when a student has what I have deemed an “ah ha” moment- when I can see the light bulb go on above their head.

The best thing about being part of the American National University faculty is being able to make large differences in various areas, including scholastically and personally, in many students’ lives. At larger colleges and universities, the personal touch and attention afforded at American National University is often lost.

Campus Hosts Meeting for Operation Military Kids; Graduate Gets a Job

Campus Hosts Meeting for Operation Military Kids; Graduate Gets a Job

The Roanoke Valley Campus was selected to host the Virginia Regional Operation Military Kids (OMK) meeting on November 13, 2012, for Ready, Set, Go! (RSG) training. OMK is a collaborative effort between the US Army and different communities around the United States that support the children of the military. The RSG training held at the campus was designed to offer insight into the culture of the military and the deployment cycle, and discuss the resources available to support military kids and their families.

To prepare for the RSG training and the meeting space, Megan Baker, the VA OMK Project Director, worked with Roanoke Campus Career Center Director Kristal Bushong and her extern, Rupali Patel, a graduate of the tourism and hospitality program and current student in the business management bachelor’s program.

After working with Megan and OMK, Rupali developed a passion for the organization. “I love this organization and what it stands for,” she said when she decided to continue working for OMK as a volunteer after her externship ended. As a result of her initiative as a volunteer and good work for the organization, Rupali has been offered a paid position with OMK.

Pictured are participants of the RSG training meeting Mike Kavanaugh with the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve; 1SG Jeff Brown ; SFC Messersmith; Kathleen Jamison with Virginia Tech; National College student and OMK employee Rupali Patel; Leslie Prillaman, an agent for the Virginia Cooperative Extension and 4-H Youth Development Unit coordinator; Gene Rose with the American Red Cross; National College Career Center Director Kristal Bushong; Susan Baker, OMK Volunteer; and Megan Baker, VA OMK Project Director.

Graduate Chris Parks and Liberty University Receive National College Awards

Graduate Chris Parks and Liberty University Receive National College Awards

In recognition of its strong community support and employment opportunities for several of National College’s graduates, the Lynchburg Campus recently selected Liberty University as a Distinguished Community Employer.

Chris Parks graduated from the campus’s information systems engineering degree program in 2011 and is one of several National College graduates that have found employment with Liberty University. He recently received a promotion and enjoys the added responsibilities.

National College Campus Director Bill Baker and Director of the Information Systems Engineering program Pam Hooper recently visited Liberty and presented a plaque of appreciation to Matthew Zealand, the chief information officer for Liberty. “It is hard to find well trained and qualified employees,” commented Matthew. “We really appreciate this award and the opportunity to hire your students.”

During the visit, Bill and Pam also presented a plaque to Chris acknowledging him with an Alumni Hall of Achievement award for his academic and career success.

National College’s Bill Baker (left) and Pam Hooper (right) are pictured presenting plaques to Matthew Zealand (2nd from left) and Chris Parks (2nd from right) with Liberty.

National Graduates Find Employment at the Asthma & Allergy Center

National Graduates Find Employment at the Asthma & Allergy Center

Ashley Carter, a medical assisting graduate from the Pikeville Campus, recently turned to the American National University Career Center when it became imperative to find employment after her husband was laid off from his job in the coal industry. With assistance from the career center, Ashley’s résumé was sent to the Pikeville office of the Asthma & Allergy Center which has five satellite locations. She was called in for an interview the next day and hired shortly thereafter.

In her new role at the medical practice, Ashley works in the front office where she assists with patient scheduling and administrative work. She likes that her training as a medical assistant prepared her to also work in the clinical side of the practice should the opportunity arise.

Ashley is just one of many American National University graduates who have been hired by the Asthma and Allergy Center. “They have all been well prepared and [are] very well qualified,” said Loretta Stanley with the Asthma and Allergy Center.

The Asthma and Allergy Center also participated in the campus’s Healthy Fun Fair which was held in July. Ms. Stanley said that the Healthy Fun Fair was one of the largest community events that the practice has ever participated in, and that they conducted over 75 free Spirometry pulmonary function tests during the event.

Because of its on-going support of American National University and its students and graduates, the Pikeville Campus recently recognized the Asthma and Allergy Center with a Distinguished Community Employer award. “We really appreciate the fact that these people come ready to work and they have all the computer skills that they need because we have electronic medical records,” said Ms. Stanley. “It’s not just the medical part that they have to know; they have to know the computer part, as well,” she explained.

Ashley Carter (pictured in top photo) feels that her degree and new career wouldn’t have been possible without the flexible class schedule that she found at American National University. “If you have a job and you have a busy life, National is the place to go,” she said.

Pictured in the bottom photo are (left to right) Nichol Burchfield and Dr. Leonor Pagtakhan-So with the Asthma and Allergy Center accepting their award of recognition from Campus Director Tammy Riley.

Stick Party Provides Opportunity to Practice Phlebotomy Skills

Stick Party Provides Opportunity to Practice Phlebotomy Skills

On Monday, January 7th, students from the medical assisting invasive procedures class at the Louisville Campus held a “stick party.” Stick parties are often held to give medical assisting students an opportunity to practice their phlebotomy skills on student and employee volunteers.

Joy Charter was one of the medical assisting students who participated in the stick party. She graduated from the medical assisting program at American National University in 2002 and, after staying at home to care for her children for several years, she has returned to take advantage of the refresher courses that are available for National graduates.

Joy said that being able to perform a venipuncture on a human subject, as opposed to a mannequin, was very beneficial. “It helps with the technique. It helps gets rid of the nervousness,” she explained. She looks forward to working as a registered medical assistant in a doctor’s office or hospital when her refresher courses are complete.

Medical Assisting student Joy Charter is pictured practicing her phlebotomy skills as she draws blood from medical assisting student Kelly Brown (right) during the stick party.

Lexington Campus Students Celebrate Certification as Pharmacy Technicians

Lexington Campus Students Celebrate Certification as Pharmacy Technicians

Lexington Campus students Allison Bowling, Tonya Marple, and Kelly Coleman from the pharmacy technician program, recently celebrated their new status as certified pharmacy technicians (CPhT) after passing the certified pharmacy technician exam.

Students in the pharmacy technician program take the Pharmacy Technician Exam Success Class during their last term where they’re given the opportunity to review information from the pharmacy technician program and take practice tests in preparation for the certification exam. “It was definitely beneficial. I don’t think that I would have passed without that class,” said Kelly.

Allison, who was a stay-at-home mom before coming to National, said she didn’t feel that the test was difficult because of the thorough knowledge that she gained in all of her classes at American National University. She feels that the certification is extremely important when looking for employment as a pharmacy technician. “It will give me a lot of opportunity,” she said. “The jobs that I’ve applied for actually require certification.”

Lexington Campus Instructor Jill Jones (far left) is pictured with students (from 2nd left) Tonya Marple, Kelly Coleman, and Allison Bowling who passed the exam to become certified pharmacy technicians.

Central Kentucky Interventional Pain Center Named Distinguished Community Employer

Central Kentucky Interventional Pain Center Named Distinguished Community Employer

The Danville, Kentucky Campus recently named Central Kentucky Interventional Pain Center as a Distinguished Community Employer in recognition of their strong support of American National University and career education.

Central Kentucky Interventional Pain Center is an externship site for students in the American National University medical assisting program and they often hire the externs as permanent employees upon graduation from their programs.

“We have given many ladies and one young man the opportunity to work with this practice,” said Mary Vest, office manager for the medical practice. “Most have moved up into full-time positions where they have benefits and options to move up in the practice when opportunities become available.”

The practice also supports the campus by serving in an advisory role on the Medical Programs Advisory Board.

Campus Director Lee Bowling (left) and Director of Health Care Education Virginia Patterson (right) are pictured presenting a plaque of appreciation to Mary Vest, office manager for Central Kentucky Interventional Pain Center.

Mother and Son Look Forward to Medical Careers

Mother and Son Look Forward to Medical Careers

A mother and son team from the Richmond Campus, Prudy and Erikke Meadows, are supporting one another as they both work toward their associate’s degrees in medical assisting.

Prudy became interested in a career in healthcare after caring for her seriously ill husband. She mentioned to her husband’s doctor that she was considering entering the medical field. “She said, ‘Yes, you should,’ and that I would make a great (medical assistant),” Prudy recalled. The doctor recommended that Prudy check into American National University for her medical career training.

Prudy was familiar with American National University because her sister, Tammy Martin, is a graduate of the medical billing and coding program. Tammy encouraged Prudy to enroll at National and she did so shortly thereafter.

Erikke also helped to care for his Dad while he was ill and during that time he developed an interest in the medical field, as well. He took certified nursing assisting training while living in Florida but when he moved back to Kentucky he decided that he wanted to advance his education. “My mother is a step ahead of me. After seeing all the success she’s had, I figured American National University would be a good opportunity for me to update my education and to find a good career as a medical assistant.”

Mother and son, Prudy and Erikke Meadows, are both enrolled in the medical assisting program at the Richmond Campus.

Caring For Patients Makes Graduate’s Day Rewarding

Caring For Patients Makes Graduate’s Day Rewarding

Star Huneycutt, a graduate from the Florence Campus, loves her new career working as a registered medical assistant for St. Elizabeth Physicians Chancellor office - especially when patients ask for her by name. “It makes my day when they say ‘Where’s Star?’” she said with a smile. “I love taking care of the patients. This is the most rewarding job because I feel like I’ve done something at the end of the day.”

Star came to American National University through the Workforce Investment Act program after her job in the banking industry was eliminated. She was nervous about returning to school after being out for 20 years, but with the personal attention that she received in her classes, she excelled in her program and made the Dean’s List.

Star was hired by St. Elizabeth Physicians while working as an extern there during the last term of her program. She advises students to take advantage of the opportunity to make a good impression during the externship. “You’re like you’re on a job interview for 12 weeks,” she explained.

Star felt well prepared to sit for the registered medical assisting certification test at the end of her program and she feels that she would not have been hired without the certification. “I just want to thank all my teachers. If it’s something that you want to do they will definitely prepare you,” she said.

Star Huneycutt (pictured above) received funding through the WIA program to get the training that she needed for her career in medical assisting.

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.