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February 04, 2013

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Memphis-Area Professionals Honored at New Campus

Memphis-Area Professionals Honored at New Campus

The Memphis Campus welcomed members of the Mid-South business and civic community to a unique event that showcased both their newly-constructed campus and their outstanding students on Friday evening, January 25.

Modeled after business department chair Patrenna Singletary’s business mixers, the event honored local leaders while offering students an opportunity to network with movers and shakers within the community.  On this occasion, the event also offered the community its first glimpse of the new $5 million campus building, where classes have now been underway for several weeks.

Honorees at the event included the following individuals:

  • Tenn State Representative G. A. Hardaway, District 93
  • Don Hutson, New York Times Best Selling Author of
    The One Minute Negotiator
  • Darrell Cobbins, President of Universal Commercial Real Estate
  • Dean Deyo, President of the Memphis Music Foundation
  • Bernal Smith, Publisher of the Tri State Defender Newspaper
  • William Welborn, Editor of the Memphis Business Journal Newspaper
  • Roby Williams, President of the Black Business Association
  • Ed Horrell, Best Selling Author of The Kindness Revolution
  • Jerome Robinson, Publisher of JustMyMemphis,
    Nashville, & Charlotte
  • Lisa Taylor, Executive Director of the Special Olympics
    of Greater Memphis
  • Myron Mays, Citadel Radio Personality

Each of the honorees was introduced by a business student at the campus, each of whom read a short biography of the honorees.  Student presenters included:

  • Raya Banks, business administration—management associate’s degree student
  • Tamica Brewer-Fleming, business administration—management associate’s degree student
  • Karen Hillard, business administration—management associate’s degree student
  • LaTanya Ingram, business administration—management associate’s degree student
  • Linda Little, business administration—management associate’s degree student
  • Jocelyn Miller, business administration—management associate’s degree student
  • Ashley Mims, business administration—management associate’s degree student
  • Ricky Young, business administration diploma student

In addition to the awards program, attendees were treated to heavy hors d'oeuvre and a special treat: musical selections by a pair of teenage recording artists.  Kayla Padgett performed a stirring rendition of “I Hope You Dance,” while Katie A. Hatcher rendered a perfect interpretation of “Over the Rainbow.”

Many other individuals and organizations contributed to the event, including:

  • Andre Harrell, AH2 and Beyond
  • Meredith Jones, National College of Business & Technology – Bristol Campus
  • Dominick DeLorenzo, Virginia College of Business and Health
  • Tennessee Association of Independent Colleges & Schools
  • Tennessee Proprietary Business School Association
  • The Michael D. Singletary Foundation
  • Terri Murphy Communications, Inc.
  • U. S. Learning, Inc.
  • Felecia Bean Catering
  • Laughter Lawyer
  • Business Over Coffee International
  • Business Over Coffee Nashville Regional
  • LRD Administrative Services

The college is grateful for all those in attendance and the many other supporters of this event.

Patrenna Singletary (left) is pictured presenting an award to State Representative G. A. Hardaway. Memphis Business Journal editor Bill Welborn is pictured in the bottom photo as he is recognized by business administration—management student LaTanya Ingram.

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ISE Students Hold Free Computer Repair Clinic

ISE Students Hold Free Computer Repair Clinic

Students in the in the information systems engineering (ISE) degree program at the Bristol Campus recently held a computer repair clinic. Faculty, staff, and students were encouraged to bring in their laptops, desktops, and netbooks to be serviced and diagnosed by the ISE students.

Under the guidance of director of information technology programs Dennis Anthony and instructor Jonathan Evenden, ISE students tackled computer issues such as slow working systems, missing files, adding or updating virus protection, and internet connection problems. Computer owners received these services for free, saving them a lot of money. In exchange, the students got hands-on experience diagnosing and fixing computer problems. “This event was a great learning experience. We were able to really use our troubleshooting techniques and practice our customer service skills,” said student Elliot Smith.

Karen Simpson, a student in the medical office specialist program, is one of many that brought her computer in to be repaired. “[The ISE students] told me what they had found and what they were doing to fix the issues. I am really happy with the results.”

ISE students Tim Lane (left) and Tyler Perry (right) are pictured servicing a computer during the on-campus computer repair clinic.

Campus Celebration of "I Have a Dream"

Campus Celebration of

The iconic phrase “I have a dream” sparks the image of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. standing at a podium in almost every American’s mind when they hear it. On Monday, January 21st, the Cincinnati Campus held a celebration in honor of Dr. King’s speech, and the changes it has forged in American history. The celebration was held in conjunction with a month-long essay writing contest where students were encouraged to read Dr. King’s speech thoroughly, and reflect on what struggles the country has overcome in the past half-century, what hurdles still exist, and what they would like to see their children overcome in the next 50 years.

During the celebration, Edward Thomas, a student in the business administration diploma program, recited Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. A moment of silence in honor of Dr. King and his premature death followed his speech.

Student Edward Thomas is pictured reciting the “I Have a Dream Speech” during a campus celebration honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tourism and Hospitality Students Benefit from Hotel Partnership

Tourism and Hospitality Students Benefit from Hotel Partnership

As an externship site for several students in the tourism and hospitality program, Cambria Suites, a division of Choice Hotels, has been a valuable contributor to the National Center for Tourism and Hospitality, a career division of National College at the Roanoke Valley Campus. It is through this partnership that students are able to get valuable hands-on experience in the tourism and hospitality field.

To recognize the valuable partnership that has formed through the externship program, the Roanoke Valley Campus named Cambria Suites as a Distinguished Community Employer for their support of career education. Dean of faculty Gail Van Duursen, career center director Kristal Bushong, and campus director Lew Bishop recently visited the hotel to present a plaque of appreciation to Cambria Suites general manager Lynne Laidlaw and Crystal Conner, who is a recent National College graduate and employee of Cambria Suites.

“Cambria has been wonderful to work for,” said Crystal, who worked as an extern at Cambria before she got a job offer. “My externship led right into a full time position; it was so great not to have a training period. I felt like a real employee from day one.”

“We are always anxious to have another extern because they come prepared and ready to work,” Ms. Laidlaw said.

Campus director Lew Bishop (right) is pictured presenting a Distinguished Community Employer plaque to Cambria Suites general manager Lynne Laidlaw (center) and employee Crystal Conner, who is also a National graduate.

Student Found a Job through a Connection Made at the Campus’s Job Fair

Student Found a Job through a Connection Made at the Campus’s Job Fair

When the Lynchburg Campus held a job fair in the summer of 2012, Wendy West, a student in the medical billing and coding diploma program , took advantage of the opportunity to network with representatives from the area’s medical companies. She came to the job fair dressed in professional attire and had plenty of copies of her résumé. Her efforts paid off as she landed a job interview with a company she met at the job fair, and she got the job.

Wendy is now working fulltime while she finishes her program, taking classes at night. She finds herself using skills she learned in the classroom in her new job. “The instructors let me know what will really be expected of me,” Wendy said as she explained how her education prepared her for her job.

It means a lot to Wendy to have a career that she can be proud of. “Having a steady paycheck at a job that I am proud of makes me a happier mother,” she said. “I can take care of my children knowing that I worked hard for my education. No one can ever take away my education.”

Wendy West (pictured) is proud of her academic accomplishments and new job.

Education and Externship Experience Help Graduate Reach Career Goals

Education and Externship Experience Help Graduate Reach Career Goals

Amber Corns, a graduate from the medical assisting associate’s degree program at the Martinsville Campus, recently started her new career as a registered medical assistant with Piedmont Dermatology Center.

Before she was hired at Piedmont, she went through a three-interview process which allowed her to showcase her skills, personality, and work behavior. During this evaluation process, she had the opportunity to meet the doctor and office staff which helped them determine if they would be a good fit, and it provided Amber an insight into the operating procedures of the medical facility.

According to Amber, her externship experience helped her understand the workflow of a medical office. She worked as an extern for Caring Hearts Free Clinic assisting patients with clinical procedures, using the EKG machine, giving injections, and working in triage. She carried this practical experience into her interviews with Piedmont.

Amber said that it is because of her National education and externship experience that she was able to reach her goal of finding a new career in the medical field.

Amber Corns is pictured at the Piedmont Dermatology Center where she is working as a registered medical assistant.

Campus Celebrates New Honor Society Members

Campus Celebrates New Honor Society Members

On Thursday, January 17th, the Youngstown Campus held an induction ceremony for the newest members of the Alpha Beta Kappa (ABK) National Honor Society - Tareana Butler and Dorothy Yez. During the ceremony, Jamie Jackson, ABK advisor and career center director, described the high honor associated with Alpha Beta Kappa membership. Campus director Mike Boyle presented Tareana and Dorothy with gold ABK pins and certificates of appreciation for their hard work.

ABK is a national honor society for private colleges and universities and places chapters in institutions which have demonstrated high standards for many years in education and training. The purpose of the society is to encourage and recognize superior student academic achievement, character, and leadership. Membership is based on a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.5 after the completion of four terms and participation in an academic activity that benefits the community.

Campus director Mike Boyle (left) and career center director Jamie Jackson (right) are pictured with new ABK members Dorothy Yez and Tareana Butler.

Rhonda Epps – Difference Maker at the Knoxville Campus

Rhonda Epps – Difference Maker at the Knoxville Campus

Regional director of healthcare education Rhonda Epps, formerly of the Knoxville Campus.


  • As director of healthcare education for the Knoxville Campus, Rhonda oversaw the campus’s medical programs and taught courses for the medical billing & coding and medical assisting programs.
  • Recently promoted to regional director of healthcare education, overseeing the allied health programs for the Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana campuses


  • National College faculty member and director of healthcare education since 2004
  • Has over 14 years of experience in the health care field


  • Holds an Associate of Science in Medical Assisting degree from South College and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in health services administration from Strayer University
  • Holds certifications as a Certified Medical Assistant and Registered Medical Assistant
  • Will be based at the Cincinnati Campus for her new role as regional director of healthcare education

I won’t let my students say that they can’t. If they get discouraged, I sing them a song. I won’t let anyone give up. Then I have the joy of watching them walk across the stage because they did not give up.

I enjoy working with employers for externships. I am truly gratified knowing that they are so impressed with our students, and I love hearing how they are doing after graduation.

Graduate Finds Success at Major Medical Office and Sets New Goals

Graduate Finds Success at Major Medical Office and Sets New Goals

“I love my patients!” exclaimed Erin Espelage Wolfe who provides care to over 30 patients a day working as a registered medical assistant at the Pendleton Office of St. Elizabeth Physicians. She said that her career in health care wouldn’t have been possible without the flexible class schedule that she found at the Florence Campus. “National really changed my life.”

She was working as a certified nursing assistant when she realized her opportunities were limited unless she furthered her education. “I was struggling,” she recalled, adding that she had to work full-time to make ends meet for her family. “Having night classes allowed me to work around my full daytime schedule.”

Erin qualified for funding through the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program and the Kentucky College Access Program (CAP) to help her pay for her education and she completed her medical assisting program in just two years. In the last term of her program, she was placed in an externship at St. Elizabeth Physicians where she got a job offer after graduation. “To me, when you are on an externship--that’s your open door right there,” she explained. “They pulled and pulled for me to get hired here because they liked me so much, so it definitely is a time to prove yourself.”

Her career as a medical assistant has brought stability to her family. “I have benefits now. We have our own house—we were able to do that when I got into the career.” And she isn’t going to stop there--she’s currently enrolled in nursing school and plans to eventually earn her bachelor’s and her master’s degrees. “I want to go further for myself. It’s a long road ahead of me but I was determined at National and I’m determined to continue my education.”

Erin Espelage Wolfe is pictured in an exam room at her job at the Pendleton Office of St. Elizabeth Physicians.

Students Prepare for Job Search

Students Prepare for Job Search

Throughout the month of January, students at the Louisville Campus participated in a series of career readiness seminars organized by career center director Donna Reed-Carson. Sessions were held in the afternoons and evenings to accommodate student schedules. The seminar curriculum included sessions on professionalism, résumé building, job searching, and interviewing skills.

In the job search presentation, students learned about the importance of various tools, including the Internet, LinkedIn profiles, externships, and volunteer work. The interviewing seminar focused on answering tough questions posed by potential employers. Students were also encouraged to prepare questions to ask during an interview. Donna said the information presented in the seminars was developed by a board of career center directors, and employers have asked for this type of training. After completing the seminars, Donna encourages students to include their training accomplishments on their résumés.

Doug Vaughn, a student in the information systems engineering degree program and a Navy veteran, is one of several students to participate in the career readiness seminars. He decided to get an education so that he could find a new job that will pay more than minimum wage to support his family.

Career center director Donna Reed-Carson (left) is pictured during a career readiness seminar with student Doug Vaughn.

Kentucky Career Center Mobile Helps Students Prepare for Job Search

Kentucky Career Center Mobile Helps Students Prepare for Job Search

On January 3rd, Tony Horn from the Kentucky Career Center Mobile came to the Lexington Campus to help American National University students prepare for their job search. He assisted them with their résumés, offered tips on how to search for jobs, network, and how to dress professionally for their interviews.

Twenty-six students attended the mobile event, and left with skills they can put to use immediately. Medical assisting student Lindsey Hall said, “The networking tips seemed really helpful and I can’t wait to be able to apply them after I graduate.”

Tony comes to the campus regularly and the students always leave feeling better about their future and their potential careers.

Student Lindsay Hall is pictured with a newly updated résumé thanks to the Kentucky Career Center Mobile.

Students Learn from a Web Page Designer’s Professional Experience

Students Learn from a Web Page Designer’s Professional Experience

Chad Compton, owner of Chad Compton Designs, recently visited the Richmond Campus to talk to students in the Intro to Web Page Design class. As a guest speaker with professional experience, Chad spoke to the students about how the web design industry is constantly changing. He explained that there is more to a website than just being on the Internet and encouraged them to consider how websites create an opportunity to build customer relations. He stressed the importance of designing a website that will benefit the client’s branding strategy which can be determined by reviewing their existing printed materials. Chad’s presentation was informational, and even inspired student Roger Kearns to consider pursuing a career in web design.

Guest speaker Chad Compton is pictured talking to students in the web page design class.

Hard Work Leads to New Opportunities for Graduate

Hard Work Leads to New Opportunities for Graduate

Julia Smalley Batts, a graduate from the medical assisting degree program at the Danville, Kentucky Campus, is working in Front Office Support for Saint Joseph Primary Care Associates. She always had an interest in working in the medical field, but didn’t know that it was within her reach until she came to National. “I really didn’t value my life very much as far as a career [was concerned],” recalled the former stay-at-home mom. “But when I started to attend National, I grew into a woman that wanted a career and I succeeded in that.”

Julia enjoyed the small class size and one-on-one assistance that she received from her instructors at National. When she completed her program, she began looking for employment on her own but she soon realized the value of the services that Career Center Director Beth Beldon offered. “She contacted me and asked me how the job search was going,” Julia recalled. “She was really helpful and she was very resourceful. She actually led me to the agency that I got this job through.”

Julia is enjoying her new career in health care. “My success came from the time and the effort that I put into the work. I don’t know if anybody else could be as proud as I am of myself. I’m really ecstatic with it.”

Julia Smalley Batts is pictured at Saint Joseph Primary Care Associates where she is using the medical assisting skills she learned from National in the front office.

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.