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May 27, 2013

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Delegate Offers Encouragement and Praise to National College Class of 2013

Delegate Offers Encouragement and Praise to National College Class of 2013

On Monday, May 20th, Delegate Marty Gearheart, who represents West Virginia’s 27th District, delivered a message about persistence and finding success to a crowd of National College graduates at the Princeton Campus graduation ceremony.

Delegate Gearheart shared that it is because of his persistence that he was able to find success throughout his life. He also expressed the importance of changing courses to find new opportunities. He praised the graduates for changing their courses through education, and he congratulated them for having persistence to finish.

During the ceremony, the campus awarded its first bachelor’s degree. John Mullins was the first student to enroll and graduate from campus’s business administration-management bachelor’s degree program. John finished the computer applications technology associate’s degree program in 2010 and then enrolled in the bachelor’s program. With the associate’s degree behind him, the bachelor’s program took him less than two years to complete.

Gregory England, a 2010 graduate, attended the ceremony to accept the Alumni Hall of Achievement Award - the most distinguished award that National College can bestow upon alumni. When Greg was laid off in 2009, he decided to change careers. Shortly after graduating with his first diploma, Greg was hired as a cash receipts associate with JANPAK Solutions in Bluefield, West Virginia. Now he is working as an accounts receivable coordinator and manages accounts for organizations such as the Florida Gators, Hendrick Motor Sports, and Bristol Motor Speedway.

Campus director Denver Riffe presented additional awards to graduates in recognition of their academic achievements. The Achievement Award was given to Christal Wickline; the Leadership and E.M. Coulter Awards were given to Dorothy Kessler; the Mary P. McGurn Award was given to Kristen Ratcliff; the M.A. Smythe Award was given to Brian Basinger; the Joseph E. Hurn Award was given to Amy Byrd; and the Dorothy Coulter Hancock Award was given to John Mullins.

Delegate Marty Gearheart is pictured in the top photo addressing the Class of 2013 at the Princeton Campus graduation ceremony. John Mullins is pictured in the middle photo holding his certificate of election into the Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.In the bottom photo, pharmacy technician graduates Brianna Wright and Ashley Madison are pictured just before the graduation ceremony begins.

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Campus Celebrates Academic Achievements and Future Leaders

Campus Celebrates Academic Achievements and Future Leaders

The Parkersburg Campus held its second graduation ceremony on April 25th at the Parkersburg Arts Center. The graduating class of 26 included the recipients of the campus’s first associate’s degrees.

Secretary for the West Virginia Dept. of Commerce and former state senator Keith Burdette was the commencement speaker. He urged graduates to not only lead, but to be true leaders and to find their passion in life. He explained that anyone can lead, but not everyone is a leader. “Have a passion for your cause. Passion is the feedstock of all leaders,” Secretary Burdette said during the graduation ceremony.

Five students earned special awards for achievement, leadership, and academic success. Richard Robinson was awarded the Achievement Award, and Wayne Kriegel received the Leadership Award. The E.M. Coulter Award was given to Pamela Detweiler, while Berlin Clegg received the Mary P. McGurn Award, and Chad Brookover received the M.A. Smythe award.

Over 200 friends, family, and staff and faculty attended the ceremony, which was followed by a reception in the Arts Center reception area.

“National College helped me to take no challenge lightly and to strive for excellence,” said Chad, a graduate of the systems and user support program, as he summed up his experience at National College. “It helped give me the courage to follow my own path.” Chad is planning to continue his education at National College to pursue an associate’s degree.

The Parkersburg Class of 2013 is pictured in the top photo. In the bottom photo, Chad Brookover is pictured receiving the M.A. Smythe Award from Career Center Director Ginger McConnell.

Pain Treatment Center Recognized as a Distinguished Community Employer

Pain Treatment Center Recognized as a Distinguished Community Employer

The progression from student, to extern, to employee is the goal of every medical assisting student at American National University, and one that is made possible through the support of employers who are committed to students’ success. Pain Treatment Center of the Bluegrass is one such employer, where clinical director Vince Cecil works closely with the Lexington Campus to provide externship opportunities for medical assisting and health care management students. Pain Treatment Center has also hired many of their American National University externs.

“When I started in medicine, I was a medical assistant first, so I had the experience of doing an externship,” explained Mr. Cecil, adding that externships are beneficial to both the students and the clinic. “The students get to apply what they’ve learned in school and it helps us with our patient flow.”

Mr. Cecil said that he’s been impressed with the skills that American National University externs have demonstrated. “I’ve been very pleased with the education and the preparation that the students have had. I’ve not found one yet that I’ve had to worry about their preparation,” he recalled. He makes every effort to find a permanent place on his staff for the National externs who have worked hard and proven themselves during their time at the clinic. “Actually, it’s uncanny…everybody we’ve hired has been a National grad. Pretty much all the staff here…is a National grad, and almost every one of them has been an extern.”

In recognition of Pain Treatment Center’s ongoing support of American National University students and of career college education, campus director Kim Thomasson and career center director Cheryl Howell recently presented Mr. Cecil with a plaque naming the clinic as a Distinguished Community Employer.

Natasha Sleet, a American National University graduate who was hired by Pain Treatment Center, said that she appreciates the extern and employment opportunities that the clinic has offered her. “It’s a blessing,” she said. Her experiences during her externship confirmed to her that she had the skills that she needed to begin her career as a registered medical assistant. “I was nervous, but the thing that I liked the most was, from day one, I was right out on the floor with the patients,” she recalled. “I love my job. National prepared me for everything here.”

Lexington campus director Kim Thomasson (2nd from left) and career center director Cheryl Howell (2nd from right) are pictured presenting a Distinguished Community Employer plaque to Vince Cecil, director of clinical services for Pain Treatment Center. Also pictured are American National University graduates who are now working at Pain Treatment Center (l to r) Brenda LeMaster, Mia Jackson, Natasha Walker-Sleet, and Branden Oslonian. Natasha Sleet is pictured in the bottom photo.

Students Diagnose Computer Problems in PC Repair Clinic

Students Diagnose Computer Problems in PC Repair Clinic

On Saturday, March 30th, students in the information systems engineering (ISE) degree program at the Florence Campus held a PC Repair Clinic. Students, faculty, and staff had the opportunity to bring in their broken or slow-running computers for evaluation.

Under the guidance of ISE director Valerie Bowman and instructor Mamadou Sidibe, Reina Lebron acted as the “project coordinator” as she logged the client computers and then assigned them to “pc technicians” students Kyle Bowman, Norman Castaneda, Bobby Cook, Jason Gabbard, and Eugene Hurst.

After the students diagnosed the problem, they optimized the computer through the use of disk-management and virus scanning software. In addition, the students made recommendations to the computer owners on what hardware and or software could be upgraded for optimal performance.

The clinic offered ISE students an opportunity to practice the skills they have learned in their classes, and the computer owners, in most cases, gained a better working computer.

Pictured are students in the ISE program at the Florence Campus that participated in the PC Repair Clinic.

IT Student Repairs Campus Laptop

IT Student Repairs Campus Laptop

Abraham Panyagor, a student in the information systems engineering degree program at the Louisville Campus, recently had an opportunity to get hands-on experience when campus director Vincent Tinebra’s laptop display stopped working.

Under the guidance of instructor Alhagie Jobe, Abraham learned that the laptop’s display inverter was not working. They worked together to replace the inverter, which cost less than $50. Abraham appreciated the opportunity to practice his IT skills. “I have been learning so much from the expert instructors, and I love the small size class where you can learn one-to-one with the instructors,” Abraham explained.

Instructor Alhagie Jobe is pictured on the left with student Abraham Panyagor as they repair campus director Vincent Tinebra’s laptop.

Campus Career Fair Puts Students in Touch with Potential Employers

Campus Career Fair Puts Students in Touch with Potential Employers

On Wednesday, May 15th, the Danville, Kentucky Campus held a career fair where students were able to network with area employers. Wendy Simonsen from PNC Bank is pictured talking to student Leslie Oller about career opportunities. “I had never attended a career fair before. I found it very informative and interesting,” Leslie said of her first career fair experience at the campus.

Networking Connections During Career Fair Resulted in Job Offers for Two Students

Networking Connections During Career Fair Resulted in Job Offers for Two Students

On April 10th, the Madison Campus held a business and medical career fair for students, graduates, and job seekers in the community. National College students participated in the fair dressed for success and with résumés in hand. Two students received job offers as a result of the networking that took place during the fair.

The campus’s Career Center organizes career fairs to help students improve their interviewing and networking skills in hopes of increasing their chances for future employment. Over 65 students and visitors attended the fair where many résumés were given out and several on-the-spot interviews took place.

Representatives from ResCare HomeCare, Regions Bank, Vision Works, Quality Resource Management, Shareable Ink, and Peoplelink Staffing participated in the fair and had positive feedback about how the National students in attendance were prepared and well qualified.

Medical assisting student Alyce Cothern is pictured in the top photo talking to representatives from ResCare Home Care about job opportunities as a care giver. In the bottom photo, health information technology student Yolonda Raines is pictured talking to a representative for Peoplelink Staffing regarding administrative and management job opportunities.

Coleman Professional Services Recognized as Distinguished Community Employer

Coleman Professional Services Recognized as Distinguished Community Employer

The Akron Area Campus recently presented Coleman Professional Services with the Distinguished Community Employer Award for their ongoing support of American National University and career education.

Coleman Professional Services is a professional organization that helps improve the lives of individuals, businesses, and the community. They have hosted eight American National University externs from the medical assisting and health information technology degree (HIT) programs in the last year, including five in one term. Coleman has also hired two American National University graduates – Erica Bunce, who completed an externship there, and Danielle Harbert.

In addition to hosting American National University externs and hiring graduates, Coleman Professional Services also has two employees, volunteer coordinator Amanda Zantow and records technician Penny Scott, serving on the campus’s advisory board. HIT Director Fiona Williams added, “I look forward to continuing our partnership with Coleman Professional Services. They provide a positive, thorough learning experience for our students.”

Akron Area Campus HIT director Fiona Williams is pictured on the left presenting a plaque of appreciation to Amanda Zantow and Phil Jackson.

Guest Speaker Offers Advice to Students about Entrepreneurship

Guest Speaker Offers Advice to Students about Entrepreneurship

Instructor June Lafary invited Aurelia Jackson, chief marketing officer of Diversity Distribution and Planning Commissioner of East St. Louis, Illinois, to the Indianapolis Campus to speak to students in her Research and Report Writing class about how to start their own business.

Ms. Jackson brought her expertise working with many top companies, such as General Foods and Alberto Culver, and taught the students to learn from each of their experiences and the value of stepping outside of their comfort zone to find success. She also stressed the importance of researching a business when creating a business plan. “Research will always be time well spent,” said Ms. Jackson.

Before concluding her presentation, Ms. Jackson left the class final words of advice, “Our biggest problem is our own weakness. Utilize your strengths and never give up because nothing is easy.”

Guest speaker Aurelia Jackson is pictured giving students advice on how to start their own business.

Students Team Up with Tutors and Work Study Groups to Succeed

Students Team Up with Tutors and Work Study Groups to Succeed

Students at the Lynchburg Campus regularly turn to each other when they need help in a class. They can be found in the campus library or student center meeting with a peer tutor, who has taken the same class and can help them better understand what they are learning in class. Several study groups have also formed for the same reasons.

Jennifer Tyree started a study group with her fellow students in an accounting class. “After a couple of weeks of accounting, several of us realized that this class was going to be challenging,” she explained of her reason to start a study group. “We decided to start meeting at least once a week to study together. Pretty soon, we could see an improvement in our grades. It really helps to brainstorm ideas with each other.”

Jennifer is a student in the medical assisting program and the other members in the study group include business management student Chris Paul and medical office specialist student Michelle Dietrich. Michele also meets one-on one with a tutor each week. “I just received the highest grade on my accounting test,” she said with excitement. “Tutoring has helped me improve my grades in accounting to keep me on target to graduate.”

Peer tutoring, which is a benefit that National offers to all students at no additional cost, helps students become independent learners, improve their grades, and improve their study skills.

Pictured during a study group meeting are (l to r) Jennifer Tyree, Chris Paul, and Michele Dietrich.

Kevin Stewart – Difference Maker at the Cincinnati Campus

Kevin Stewart – Difference Maker at the Cincinnati Campus

Kevin Stewart at the Cincinnati Campus was selected as a American National University Difference Maker

Department chair and instructor for the surgical technology program


  • American National University instructor since 2011
  • Has obtained nearly 30 years of experience as a surgical technologist
  • Recognized as American National University Employee of the Term for term 131 and recipient of Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year award for the Cincinnati Campus in 2012


  • Obtained an Associate of Applied Science- Surgical Technology degree from Sinclair Community College and a Bachelor of Science degree in administrative management from the University of Cincinnati
  • Holds certification as a Surgical First Assistant from Cincinnati State University

I appreciate the students at American National University for their determination and desire to improve their lives, and for the fact that they like to prove themselves academically. To watch them grow academically and as individuals is amazing. This is what keeps me here at American National University.

One of my greatest rewards as an instructor was to watch my first two students graduate from the surgical technology program. It was an amazing experience to see how proud they both were to have accomplished their goals.

I have a current student who I feel is academically superior, but she does not see herself in that manner. She also had significant trust issues that had to be overcome. Over this past year, she has made great strides in her confidence academically. Also, her trust issues have vanished. She is now a confident, focused student.

Student Moves from California to Virginia to Study English as a Second Language at ANU

Student Moves from California to Virginia to Study English as a Second Language at ANU

With many degrees behind her and a plan to master the English language, Stella as a bright future ahead of her. She was born in Hiroshima, Japan and spent much of her life in the city of Mie. With an impressive history of education from places like Nagoya Institute of Technology in Japan and California State University, she recently moved to the Roanoke Valley to enroll in American National University’s English as a Second Language (ESL) program, where she tested into the highest level of the program.

She originally studied genetic engineering at Nagoya Institute of Technology in Japan before deciding to come to the United States to pursue her dream career of becoming a clinical forensic psychologist. That is when she enrolled in California State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology. “I always wanted to study psychology, and I understand that most of the research in psychology was developed here in the United States,” she explained of her decision to move to America. “So I always wanted to come here to study psychology.”

After completing her undergraduate education, Stella began working in industrial organizational psychology for a Japanese company in California. But she soon realized her educational pursuits weren’t quite complete. To pursue her dream, she would need to obtain a doctorate level degree in psychology with forensic field training, so she set her sights on the University of Virginia for graduate school; however, she knew she need to improve her English skills so she could pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) which are required to be accepted into graduate school. She discovered ANU while searching online, and it piqued her interest. “I called a bunch of schools here, which have similar programs, but they didn’t sound as nice,” she said.

Stella said that after coming from Japan and California State University, where the classrooms and parking lots were overcrowded, she was surprised at the small class sizes offered at ANU. “People here are nicer and eager to help students who are not from here,” she said. She has even asked a former professor in California to recommend ANU’s ESL program for other international students to consider. “It’s a really good environment to learn English,” she says. “You are pushed to speak English and study English because you cannot communicate or even survive without it.”

ESL student Stella is pictured with ESL program coordinator Reem Osman (left) and program director Eric Rothgery (right).

State Representative John Eklund Inspires the Campus’s Largest Graduating Class

State Representative John Eklund Inspires the Campus’s Largest Graduating Class

The Cleveland Area campus held its 2013 commencement exercises on Thursday, May 16th at the Willoughby Hills Community Center. It was the largest graduating class in the campus’s four-year history, with 16 graduates covering five different major fields of study for which they received associates degrees and diplomas. Over 100 friends and family members attended the event.

Ohio State Senator and keynote speaker John Eklund delivered an inspiring commencement speech. “There are four things you need to possess if you are to be successful,” he told graduates as he promoted the values of having a good, clear mind; an inquisitive spirit; a good work ethic; and a willingness to connect with people. He readily shared testimonies from his own past that put to rest any false assumptions that he had been given an easy path in life.

The evening culminated with light refreshments and a special time of fellowship between graduates, their families, and faculty and staff.

The Cleveland Area Class of 2013 is pictured in the top photo. In the bottom photo, campus director Dennis Hirsh is pictured on the left congratulating graduate Erriel Joiner at the 2013 graduation ceremony.

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.