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January 28, 2013

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Graduate Improved Opportunities for Advancement with National Degrees

Graduate Improved Opportunities for Advancement with National Degrees

Chris McClanahan has known he wanted a career in the hospitality industry since he began working as a houseman, restocking housekeeping closets at a hotel, when he was just 16 years old. He held various roles at different hotels but he couldn’t go higher than assistant manager or front desk supervisor. He felt like his career stalled and he was losing sight of his goal of becoming a general manager. In order to improve his opportunities of advancement in the industry, he decided to enhance his job skills with an education.

Chris enrolled in the tourism and hospitality diploma program at the Roanoke Valley Campus in 1999 and went on to earn an associate’s degree and then a bachelor’s in business administration-management. He liked the depth of National’s hospitality program and says it built on the knowledge he had already gained in the industry. “Whoever put the program together knew what they were doing because you had everything from housekeeping management all the way to hotel accounting,” Chris says.

Chris’s education helped him reach his goal of becoming a general manager. He is managing a Comfort Suites hotel and oversees housekeeping, kitchen, sales, maintenance, and the front desk, among many other managerial duties. He said his favorite part of his job is managing all these diverse areas of hospitality. “Chris has made a rapid climb to general manager with this very reputable hotel chain,” said National Center for Hospitality and Tourism Director Dorothy Herndon. “We are pleased that his degrees are from National and that he has achieved success.”

Chris McClanahan (pictured) was promoted to general manager of a major hotel chain after earning his bachelor’s degree.

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Fort Wayne, IN
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Akron Area, OH
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Charlottesville, VA
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Harrisonburg, VA
Lynchburg, VA
Manassas, VA
Martinsville, VA
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West Virginia
Parkersburg, WV
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Campus Hosts Community Resource Fair

Campus Hosts Community Resource Fair

On January 16th, the Cincinnati Campus held a community resource fair and open house, featuring 13 different community agencies and financial and debt management services. The event was open to the community, current students, and graduates.

Solutions Staffing representative Cesar Mesones also participated in the fair, recruiting for two entry-level accounting positions. A representative from Closing the Health Gap, a local organization that helps community members find proper healthcare and nutrition resources, also attended the fair.

The event was held during the day and agency representatives shared information with several students and members of the community. Some representatives agreed to return to the campus in the future to assist the career center with mock interviews and offer advice to students on how to find employment and act professionally.

Health Information Technology Department Chair Lois Bradford is pictured (left) with student Christina Thompson who participated in the community resource fair.

Motivational Speaker Encourages Students to Overcome Obstacles

Motivational Speaker Encourages Students to Overcome Obstacles

“If life throws a wall in your path, you have three options: you can go over it, under it, or around it. You do not have an option to stand there and let it block your progress,” says motivational speaker Fred Bailey, who recently visited the Madison Campus and addressed students.

Mr. Bailey shared with the student audience that he is the tenth child of two illiterate sharecroppers, and an alcoholic father. He was born virtually blind and was completely blind by the second grade but he made a conscious decision to not let these challenges stand in his way. After graduating from high school, he earned a political science degree, and found employment at General Electric.

At the age of 52, Mr. Bailey was able to retire and start an after-school mentoring program for at-risk children in 2002. Many of the graduates from his mentorship program are now attending colleges in six states. During his visit, he encouraged students to do likewise. He emphasized that life will throw many obstacles in the way: “You need to adapt and adjust, and keep going over, under, or around each obstacle; one at a time!”

Fred Bailey (pictured) encouraged students at the Madison Campus to overcome obstacles and get an education.

Medical Students Tour Local Laboratory

Medical Students Tour Local Laboratory

The South Bend Clinic Laboratory is a medical laboratory that offers comprehensive services for nine locations in northern Indiana with more than 100 physicians practicing in more than 40 fields of medicine. On December 6th, the laboratory hosted students from the medical office assistant, medical assisting, and pharmacy technician programs at the South Bend Campus for a tour of the facilities.

The students were led by Director of Healthcare Education Renee Neldon and Instructors Toni Page-Mayberry and Bob Jankowski, and were joined by laboratory staff members Michile Ferguson, a medical technologist, and Christina Hildebrand, phlebotomist, who explained the work in their areas of expertise. Ms. Ferguson and Ms. Hildebrand explained that the test results discovered in the lab indicate if there are any diseases and/or infections prevalent.

The participating students were very impressed with the tour and the facilities, and they were fascinated to learn what lab tests can reveal from a small sample of blood or urine. Medical assisting student Christina Browder said she particularly liked the microbiology room which is where they study microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi.

Medical assisting student John Sikorski said the friendly and knowledgeable staff stood out the most during the field trip, as they explained how the processes work to detect different types of diseases.

Instructor Toni Page-Mayberry (left) is pictured in the above photo with students Liz Armenakis, Joanna Taylor, Christina Browder during a field trip at the South Bend Clinic Laboratory. In the bottom photo, field trip participants are pictured at the South Bend Clinic Laboratory.

Carolyn Lee – Difference Maker for Online Programs

Carolyn Lee – Difference Maker for Online Programs Explore National's Online Program

Carolyn Lee with the online programs


  • Director of online admissions
  • Recipient of National College Employee of the Year award for the Online Division


  • National College staff member since 2004
  • Has 10 years of prior teaching experience; several years of sales/marketing/public relations experience


  • Received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Virginia Union University in Richmond, VA
  • Taught for 10 years in public education
  • Has worked as admissions representative for the Roanoke Valley Campus
  • Transferred to admissions for the online programs when it was developed 3 years ago

As a former teacher, I have always been a strong advocate of education and the power it can have to transform people’s lives in all sorts of ways. Education not only provides job skills—it can also provide life skills and the ability to solve day-to-day problems through critical thinking. Whenever I see someone make the decision to develop their potential, it makes me very excited!

In my career at National, I have seen many students who have been so focused on bettering themselves that they have overcome incredible hardships in order to achieve their goals. Whenever I come face-to-face with acts of discipline and personal sacrifice that students have had to do in order to achieve goals for themselves and for their families, it makes me proud to be part of the National family.

Campus Supports Local Food Bank

Campus Supports Local Food Bank

The Harrisonburg Campus recently organized a food drive and encouraged staff, faculty, and students to donate canned foods. At the end of the drive, the campus delivered 378 pounds of packaged food to the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank.

On average the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank serves 27,000 citizens per week. The number of people relying on the food bank soared by 16% compared to the year before due in large measure to a 43% decline in donated food from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The campus already plans to have a similar food drive in mid-summer, a time that shelves are sometimes bare according to Stone Fisher at the food bank.

Harrisonburg Campus Administrative Assistant Codi Heieren is pictured filling out paperwork when delivering the campus’s collected food donations. Food Bank employee Stone Fisher is pictured on the right accepting the donation.

Guest Speakers Offer Timely Advice

Guest Speakers Offer Timely Advice

The New Year has brought a number of guest speakers to the Lynchburg Campus to offer advice and information on emergency response and disease control. On January 7th, Instructor Judy Bateman invited Monica McCollough and Haley Evans, representatives from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) - Epidemiology Division, to talk to medical assisting students about issues ranging from the flu epidemic to natural disasters. Ms. Evans explained that a number of diseases are monitored in Virginia as well as at the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta. Students also learned that the most important way to prevent the spread of disease is by frequently washing hands and not always relying on sanitizers. The students had a lot of questions about the flu and other diseases. Medical assistants especially may be responsible in ambulatory care settings for reporting communicable diseases.

On January 14th, Wells Fargo completed a series of workshops on campus and talked to over 100 students on careers in banking. They also provided excellent information on how to repair your credit and pass those background checks on the way to your dream job. Community Relations Director Gayle Morris has been with Wells Fargo for 38 years and provided insight into starting a career with one of their locations and moving up the career ladder with an education. Lorenzo Watson spoke about the importance of good credit and how you can repair your credit to establish a good rating.

Students (l to r) Alicia Jones, Raven Calloway, Amanda Shaw, Natasha Bailey, Cherielle Rosser are pictured in the top photo with guest speakers Monica McCollough and Haley Evans. In the bottom photo, Wells Fargo guest speakers Brandon Baber, branch manager, and Zenaida Goins, who is a National College graduate, are pictured talking to students about careers in banking and protecting their credit.

Mother of Four Finds New Career in Nine Months

Mother of Four Finds New Career in Nine Months

Amy Grider, a recent graduate of the accounting office assistant program at the Danville, Kentucky Campus, is looking forward to a busy tax season in her new job as a tax associate at H&R Block of Harrodsburg.

Amy is using the skills she learned from American National University assisting clients with their tax returns. “This job is perfect for me,” said Amy who has always enjoyed working with numbers. “As my children say, ‘I’m a geek,” admits the former stay-at-home mom of four children.

Amy found her job with H&R Block when Gary Campbell, owner of the Harrodsburg H&R Block franchise, contacted the college’s Career Center to help him find qualified candidates for his tax preparation staff. Amy had been working closely with Career Center Director Beth Beldon, who forwarded her résumé to Mr. Campbell, and later set up an interview for Amy. Beth also conducted mock interviews with Amy, to help her to be as prepared as possible for her interview.

Mr. Campbell agrees that Amy is a good fit for her job as a tax preparer. “She’s a quick study,” he said, adding that she is also very tech-savvy and possesses a great work ethic. “She’s worked out very well.”

Amy enjoyed her program at National and feels that it has prepared her for her work with her clients at H&R Block. She likes that the accounting office assistant diploma program, which teaches fundamental skills in accounting and computer applications, took just nine months to complete. “It was quick,” she said. “I was in and out.”

Amy has since become certified as an IRS Registered Tax Return Preparer (RTRP) and she says that her Income Tax class at National was instrumental in her success on the exam. Her accomplishments in her program at National and in her new career have given her a new sense of self-confidence. “It made me feel like I am somebody,” she said.

National graduate Amy Grider (pictured in top photo) found a new career with her accounting office assistant diploma. In the bottom photo, Gary Campbell (left), owner of the Harrodsburg H&R Block franchise, agrees that National graduate Amy Grider (right) is a good fit as a tax associate for H&R Block.

Ethics Class Takes Field Trip to Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education

Ethics Class Takes Field Trip to Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education

Instructor Cheryl Heer recently took students in the Ethics class at the Florence Campus on a field trip to the Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education. The class had been studying the Holocaust and current acts of genocide that continue to take place worldwide. The field trip allowed them to continue their education by exploring the exhibits and films on tolerance, social justice, and civic responsibility. They learned about refugees, survivors, rescuers, and liberators and the strength and courage of the human spirit that these individuals exemplified.

The Center houses more than 700 artifacts to bring history to life. Student Deanne Webster was amazed at the memorabilia on display. “Standing in front of the striped uniform worn by a Jewish prisoner truly gives you such a profound respect for Holocaust survivors,” she said as she explained how one of the exhibits impacted her.

“As a veteran of the United States Armed Forces, I must say that the Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education is one of the best places to visit within the city,” said student Glen Comstock.

Students in the Ethics class are pictured with Instructor Cheryl Heer (center) on their field trip at the Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education.

Students Participate in Community Events and Practice New Skills

Students Participate in Community Events and Practice New Skills

Students at the Pikeville Campus recently had an opportunity to practice their skills in community events.

Phlebotomy students participated in a health fair which was held at Landmark Inn, Mark 5 banquet hall, for residents of area nursing homes. The event offered a great opportunity for the students to gain hands-on experience as they performed blood pressure checks and glucose tests for those who attended.

Student Angel Shepherd was excited to be able to give back to the community. She said, “They were so grateful for our help, it was very worth it! It felt good to be doing something for them.”

In a separate event, students participated in a high school career fair in Paintsville, Kentucky. Students from the information systems engineering (ISE) and phlebotomy programs demonstrated their skills to the high school students during the career fair.

Phlebotomy student Brittane Lauffer performed blood pressure checks, and ISE student James Bailey demonstrated how to take apart a computer as he explained what the different parts of the computer were.

James drew a crowd of students who gathered to watch his presentation. Director of Health Care Education Wilma Storey, who accompanied the Pikeville Campus students on the trip, said, “They thought that James was an instructor at National. He was very professional and great at teaching them the different parts of the computer.”

The experience gave James an interest in becoming an instructor after getting some in-field experience: “I could see myself coming back to National and teaching an ISE class.”

Medical assisting student Angel Shepherd is pictured (far right) in the top photo perfecting her skills during a health fair. ISE Student James Bailey is pictured in the bottom photo talking about the different parts of a computer to high school students at a career fair.

Moving Up the Ladder of Success

Moving Up the Ladder of Success

Leah Edwards, a graduate from the Lexington Campus, is working as an assistant manager at Rack Room Shoes. She started as a part-time clerk with the company, and she has moved up into a management role with the help of the business skills that she gained in her business administration-accounting program at American National University.

Leah had been out of high school for about a year and was working at the shoe store when she decided she needed a college education to get ahead. She checked into several local area colleges but she chose National when she found the admissions team and student services representatives at American National University went the extra mile to assist her in any way they could. “They all helped guide me through it,” she recalled of the enrollment and registration process.

“It’s helped me come out of my shell a little bit more and gain a little bit more knowledge about everything, really,” Leah said of her program at National. “It’s helped me get in the direction that I want to go.” She plans to return to American National University to earn her bachelor’s degree as she continues to build the knowledge and skills that she needs to take her career to the next level.

Leah Edwards (pictured) moved up in her company with the business skills gained in her accounting program at American National University.

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.