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June 10, 2013

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Academic Accomplishments Helped Business Owner Find Success

Academic Accomplishments Helped Business Owner Find Success Explore National's Online Program

Valerie Persinger, owner of Caregiver 911, a non-medical home care agency, came to the Louisville Campus to get the tools that she needed to succeed as a business owner. She learned a lot from the business administration-management associate’s degree program, but in order to effectively run a home care agency, she decided she needed to learn more. She returned to the campus and earned a bachelor’s degree, and then enrolled in American National University’s online Master of Business Administration (MBA) program.

“I didn’t know how to be a successful business woman prior to coming to National, and now I am a successful business owner,” Valerie said proudly. “It’s not as scary [to run a business] as it was because I know what I’m doing now.”

Valerie said she was glad that she had the opportunity to experience classes on campus and online. She found instructors and administrators who encouraged and assisted her in both programs. She still recalls the words of instructor Theosious Fuqua, a business instructor from the Louisville Campus, who told her, “You can do anything! I want to see your name in lights.”

Valerie formed a strong bond with two of her classmates, LaShanda Leach and DeTroyia McGruder, as the three progressed together through the bachelor’s level classes on campus and then through the MBA program online. “We were like the three amigos,” said Valerie who added that she knew she could turn to LaShanda and DeTroyia anytime she needed help or support.

Valerie hopes to continue to expand her business and she would someday like to continue her education. “I’m so proud of myself that I don’t want to stop here,” she said. “I really would like to have my doctorate. I’ve heard that it’s extremely hard but I also heard that the master’s degree was extremely hard, too, so I would like to challenge myself to do that.”

In the bottom photo, Valerie Persinger (right) with LaShanda Leach (left) and Detroyia McGruder.

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Councilwoman Shevawn Akers Urges Lexington Campus Graduates to Chase Their Dreams

Councilwoman Shevawn Akers Urges Lexington Campus Graduates to Chase Their Dreams

On Thursday, May 30th, the Lexington Campus celebrated the culmination of hard work and dedication as the diplomas and degrees of 101 graduates were conferred during the annual commencement ceremony held at NorthEast Christian Church.

Councilwoman Shevawn Akers, who serves Lexington’s 2nd district, was the commencement speaker. She shared the story of her life, and recounted the challenges that she had to overcome. Her battle with breast cancer gave her the courage that she needed to campaign for office and to fulfill her dream of public service. “Everything I’ve accomplished is the direct result of hard work and the refusal to give up,” she said urging graduates to pursue their dreams. “When someone tells you ‘No’, ask them ‘Why Not?’ Challenge the status quo, and never be satisfied with mediocrity. Chase your dreams and continually push yourselves to be better and to do more.”

During the ceremony, several outstanding graduates were recognized for leadership and high academic achievement. Audraonna Jones, a graduate of the surgical technology program, was the recipient of the Achievement Award. “Although she has battled many obstacles, her dedication to this program, and her goal of becoming a surgical technologist never wavered,” said Regina Damron, director of the surgical technology program. “In fact, she is a true example of what it means to be ‘dedicated and motivated.’ Likewise, she displays true courage and a contagious drive to succeed.”

Audraonna participated in the ceremony with her mother, Khreonna Jones, who graduated from the office technology professional program. Audraonna said that her mother’s excitement about being a student at American National University inspired her to enroll. “I thought that it was just for myself,” Khreonna said of her decision to return to school. “But now that I look back on it, I know that it was to push [Audraonna] on through.”

The Alumni Hall of Achievement award was given to Theresa Poe, a graduate of the computer applications associate degree program. Since graduating from National in 2001, Theresa has built a successful career working as an order analyst for a local industrial manufacturing firm.

Campus director Kim Thomasson is pictured on the left in the top photo with commencement speaker councilwoman Shevawn Akers who serves Lexington's 2nd district.In the 2nd photo from top, Audraonna Jones (left) and her mother Khreonna Jones are pictured at the Lexington Campus commencement ceremony where they both received their associate's degrees. Theresa Poe, recipient of the Alumni Hall of Achievement Award, is pictured in the 3rd photo from top with Lexington Campus instructor Wayne Smorstad as she receives her award. In the bottom photo, Montarrah Lee, graduate of the office technology professional program, is pictured on the right hugging a fellow classmate at the Lexington Campus graduation ceremony.

Mother of Five Recipient of Achievement Award

Mother of Five Recipient of Achievement Award

Graduate Kyntoia Wilkinson was recently hired as an accounting assistant by Symbiotix, a medical communications company. As a student in the business administration-management associate’s degree program at the Danville, Kentucky Campus, Kyntoia worked there as an extern. Now, her days are filled with numbers as she performs reconciling, filing, invoicing, and other accounting related duties in the busy office.

Kyntoia, a mother of five, came to American National University after growing tired of her physically demanding job working in childcare. She was recently recognized by the campus when she was presented with the Achievement Award during the annual commencement ceremony on May 23rd. The Achievement Award is given to a student who overcomes obstacles to achieve academic success.

“It’s a wonderful place to go,” Kyntoia said of her experience at American National University. “They’re very nice people. They help you through whatever it is that you’re going through. Other than my children and my husband, this is the biggest achievement that I’ve had in a long time,” she said of her degree.

Kyntoia Wilkinson is pictured with her family at the Danville, Kentucky Campus graduation ceremony.

Student Wants to Use Education to Help People and Give Back

Student Wants to Use Education to Help People and Give Back

Irene Cruz, a student in the medical assisting degree program at the Columbus Campus, likes to feel like she is helping people and giving back to her community. That is why she chose to study in the medical field when she came to National.

Irene’s decision to attend college was rather sudden. She was driving by the campus and became curious about what it had to offer. She gave in to the urge to stop and find out what educational programs were being offered there. Before long, she felt like American National University was where she needed to be. “There are so many positive people here, and they share so much information, job-wise and personally,” Irene said of her decision to enroll.

Even though Irene is not yet finished with her degree, she has gotten a head start in her career. She was recently hired as a home care aid with Home Care Assistance. Her new job duties include taking care of clients including cooking their meals, cleaning their house, and providing companionship. Not only will this new job give her a head start in her career, it is also rewarding in that she is helping people.

After earning her medical assisting degree from American National University, Irene plans to continue her education. Her goal is to earn a bachelor’s degree and become a registered nurse.

Student Irene Cruz has found a job that will give her a head start in her future career as a medical assistant.

Campus Celebrates Academic Achievements of Class of 2013

Campus Celebrates Academic Achievements of Class of 2013

On Thursday, May 23rd, the Youngstown Campus celebrated the success of 76 graduates at a graduation ceremony held at Powers Auditorium. Campus director Michael Boyle presented the diplomas while a large crowd of family and friends cheered from the audience.

Four students earned special awards for achievement, leadership, and academic success. Dorothy Yez was awarded the Achievement Award and Kara Morgan received the Leadership Award. The E.M. Coulter Award was given to Vivian Grist and Angela Thomas.

Attorney Kim Akins, who is also an instructor at the campus, gave a rousing and entertaining commencement address about how getting to graduation is like a race. She spoke of how some students started the race impressing many with how fast they went. Others may not have started fast, but once they did, they were a joy to watch as they mastered material and hit their stride. Then she explained that there are others that had many obstacles thrown in their paths. Although knocked down, they still got back up and kept going. She praised the graduates for finishing – no matter how they started.

“You come here today with the skills, the knowledge, and the confidence that comes from knowing that you finished your race with American National University,” Ms. Akins said as she closed her commencement remarks. “Run on to the future knowing that you can run with the best of them. Run on with the wind in your face, the sun in your eyes, and the assurance that you are ready.”

Vivian Grist is pictured in the top photo accepting the E.M. Coulter Award from campus director Michael Boyle. In the bottom photo, speaker Kim Akins is pictured addressing the Class of 2013 at the Youngstown Campus graduation ceremony.


Career Fair Resulted in Three Job Offers

Career Fair Resulted in Three Job Offers

The Indianapolis Campus recently hosted a career fair that resulted in five interviews and three job offers. Thirteen employers attended the event including Priority 1 Medical Integrative Care Center, Rescare Indianapolis, Express Scripts, Old National Bank, and Best Buy. During the career fair, students, graduates, and job seekers in the community were able to speak with employers directly and learn about job opportunities in the area.

Marie Kanitz, a student in the medical assisting program, was one of the three to get a job offer from the career fair. She is now working for Rescare Indianapolis. “My job is a perfect fit for me.”

To prepare for the career fair, Marie worked with the career center director Brooke Richardson to update her résumé and practice her professional skills, and it proved to be beneficial.

Campus career fairs help students find employment, as well as improve their interviewing and networking skills. Representatives from the participating employers had positive feedback about the event.

Representatives from Rescare Indianapolis are pictured in the top photo speaking to students during the Indianapolis Campus career fair. Student Marie Kanitz (pictured in the bottom photo) was one of the three to get a job offer from a connection made at the Indianapolis career fair.

Paralegal Graduate Gets One Step Closer to Accomplishing Career Goals

Paralegal Graduate Gets One Step Closer to Accomplishing Career Goals

Shemeka McMillian enrolled in the paralegal program at American National University’s Roanoke Valley Campus in April 2010, on the recommendation of her mother, who had previously taken some classes at the campus. She had always wanted to be a lawyer, so the paralegal program seemed like a perfect fit. “My all-time goal is to become a lawyer, so I wanted to get my foot into law and see how it goes,” she explained. “Law fascinates me.”

After graduation in 2012, Shemeka was contacted by the campus with a job lead at the law practice of Wolfe, Williams, Rutherford, & Reynolds. She followed up on the tip and was eventually offered the job. She is now very happy in her role, where she interviews clients, conducts research, maintains paperwork, and updates files among other things. “We actually do all the dirty work so the lawyers don’t have to,” she says of her role as a paralegal. “We are the backbone of an attorney.”

Shemeka enjoys her work as a paralegal but she wants to enroll in a bachelor’s degree program in criminal justice someday. She also hopes to one day attend Rutgers School of Law to fulfill her dream of becoming an attorney.

“[ANU] has been a really big door-opener for me,” said Shemeka McMillian (pictured). “Honestly if I could give any student there advice, it would be to take advantage of any and all opportunities provided by [ANU]. It’s a great way to network.”

Students Represent ANU at Local Colors Festival

Students Represent ANU at Local Colors Festival

American National University’s English as a Second Language (ESL) program was well-represented at the Local Colors festival in Roanoke on May 18th. The festival offers a day of international food, music, dance, and community-building. ESL students participated in the event with ESL program coordinator Reem Osman to represent their home countries of Japan, Jordan, Korea, Mongolia, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq.

Carrying the Saudi Arabian flag in the parade of nations were students Stella Kanda, Abdulaziz Althunayan, Rakan Alketheiry, and Nawaf Fagira. As the students carried their country’s flag in the parade, the hosts for the event announced to the crowd that they were students who had come to the United States to attend ANU and learn English, which was met with applause. “My favorite parts [of the festival] were walking with my country’s flag and showing the people we are a good people,” said Abdulaziz. Nawaf echoed this sentiment when explaining why he wanted to participate in the parade. “I want the people to be familiar with my country. Saudi Arabians are friendly, and many Americans don’t know that,” he said.

As proud as the students were of the opportunity to represent their home countries, they were also happy to represent ANU at the festival. “It was a pretty good opportunity to make people aware that ANU is now a university,” said student Stella Kanda. “I’m proud to be part of this university,” added Abd Almajed Alazom.

In the top photo, ESL students (l to r) Abdulaziz Althunayan, Stella Kanda, Rakan Alketheiry, Nawaf Fagira, and Abd Almajed Alazom are pictured with ESL instructor Alison Weaver (3rd from left) at the Local Colors festival. In the bottom photo, ESL students Nawaf Fagira, Rakan Alketheiry, and Abdulaziz Althunayan are pictured at the Local Colors festival carrying the Saudi Arabian flag in the parade of nations.

Graduate Transfers National College Credits to Nearby University and Finds Career Fulfillment

Graduate Transfers National College Credits to Nearby University and Finds Career Fulfillment

When planning for his future, Thomas Ball (pictured) was not certain what kind of career he wanted for his life but he knew he was interested in the medical field. He chose to enroll in the medical assisting degree program at the Princeton Campus so he could learn the basics of the medical field. He and his wife Jennifer attended the medical assisting and pharmacy technician programs together.

After graduating in February 2008, Thomas enrolled in Mountain State University where many of his credits from National’s medical assisting program transferred. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in social work and is now employed at Children’s Home Society as a clinical social worker.

As a clinical social worker, Thomas implements treatment plans and goals for developmentally challenged children. He said that because of his class on calculation and administration of medicine at National College, he is one of only two people allowed to dispense medication; and because of his class on medical office finance, he also assists with billing. Not only did his credits from National help him finish his program faster, but it also prepared him for his career in social work.

Graduate is Grateful for National Education and New Career

Graduate is Grateful for National Education and New Career

A successful education and connections made during an externship helped Jessica White (pictured) find a new career that she is proud of. In August 2012, Jessica graduated with an associate’s degree from the medical assisting program at the Martinsville Campus. She had completed a very successful externship with Children’s Medical Center just before graduation, and got hands-on experience in a real medical setting as a result.

After graduation, Jessica worked as a registered medical assistant with Fatade Health & Medical Center where she performed a variety of administrative and clinical duties. But she eventually returned to Children’s Medical Center as a medical assistant and Spanish interpreter.

Grateful for her National education, Jessica would like to thank her instructors, especially Shelia Coplin, Dwayne Martin, and Gary Jenkins. “They were always accessible and very easy to talk to, and they answered my questions, in or out of the classroom,” Jessica said.

Sara Sparks – Difference Maker at the Madison Campus

Sara Sparks – Difference Maker at the Madison Campus

Sara Sparks at the Madison Campus was selected as a National College Difference Maker.

Director of Student Services

• National College of Business & Technology staff member since 2008
• Recipient of Outstanding College Member of the Year award for the Madison Campus in 2012

Graduated from Middle Tennessee State University

I really admire our students’ tenacity and desire to learn. So many of our students are faced with life’s obstacles but continue to persevere and succeed in their classes.

I listen to our students and when they feel like they cannot succeed, I help them remember what their goals are. I try to make sure they know my office is always open to them.

My greatest reward as a National College employee is knowing that I hold a small part in helping students achieve their goals. It is tremendously gratifying when a student comes to me and thanks me for helping them with their financial aid or for helping them understand something they did not once understand.

Congressman Robert Hurt Delivers Inspiring Commencement Speech

Congressman Robert Hurt Delivers Inspiring Commencement Speech

On the evening of Thursday, May 30th, the Danville, Virginia Campus celebrated as 66 students received their diplomas and degrees at the George Washington High School auditorium.

Among the graduates walking across the stage, were mother and daughter bachelor’s degree recipients Shelia Jeffress and Erica Chappell; husband and wife graduates, William and Laura Holley, who were recipients of the Joseph E. Hurn and Mary P. McGurn awards, respectively; and Charles Strange, who received his Master of Business Administration degree through the American National University online program. Matthew Poole, director of online education, was present to participate with Charles in the traditional master’s degree hooding ceremony.

(Read more about Laura and Will’s journey in the October 15, 2012 issue of the National News.)

Other award recipients were Lee Ann Martin, Achievement Award and Dorothy Coulter Hancock Award; Juliette M. Miller, Leadership Award; Tori N. Holloway and Lucas B. Holt, E. M. Coulter Award; Ashley E. Jones, M. A. Smythe Award; and this year’s Alumni Hall of Achievement inductee, Robin Stallings.

The Honorable Robert Hurt, U.S. Representative for Virginia’s 5th Congressional District, provided the commencement address. He commended the graduates for improving their lives, their families’ lives, and their communities by pursuing higher education. “The difference between having a job and having a good job is education,” he said. He further explained that, as a member of Congress, he knew that education must be front and center in discussions on improving the economy. “We’re not going to have job growth unless we have an educated workforce; unless we have the best and brightest out there inventing, being inventive, looking for innovative ways to solve problems,” he said. “And, of course, we know that comes through education.” Congressman Hurt closed his speech by congratulating the class of 2013 and advising them that if they work hard, are honest, and stay focused, that they will be able to achieve whatever they want in life.

In the top photo, Congressman Robert Hurt is pictured addressing the Class of 2013 as he delivers the commencement address. In the middle photo, director of online education Matthew Poole is pictured during the traditional hooding ceremony with MBA graduate Charles Strange. In the bottom photo, Danville graduates (l to r) Frances Dixon, Nyeka Ferguson, Tiffany Ferrell, and Arvin Fitzgerald are pictured just before the graduation ceremony.


Graduates Celebrate at 2013 Commencement Ceremony

Graduates Celebrate at 2013 Commencement Ceremony

The Lynchburg Campus brought out full pomp and circumstance on Friday, May 31st, as 72 graduates walked across the stage at the Tree of Life Ministries to receive their hard-earned diplomas and degrees, while a nearly full house of friends and family members looked on. The graduation processional was led by the Heritage High School color guard, who presented the flags and led the pledge of allegiance.

During the ceremony academic awards were presented to: Chiquita Hargrove, Achievement Award; Wendy West, Leadership Award; Michelle Bradley, E. M. Coulter Award; Heather Jackson, Mary P. McGurn Award; Steve Wilson, M. A. Smythe Award; and June Sandidge, Joseph E. Hurn Award. This year’s Alumni Hall of Achievement Award was presented to Michelle Andrews from the graduating class of 2012, who also happened to be the commencement speaker for the evening. Michelle is currently the membership director for the Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce, and she delivered an inspiring speech to the graduates. To read more about Michelle, see her story in the October 22, 2012 issue of the National News.

Among the graduates was Shauntee Patterson, who received her associate’s degree in medical assisting. Prior to coming to National College, she was working as an insurance service agent, but she had always wanted to work in the medical field. She liked that National offered day and night classes that would accommodate her schedule, so she could continue to work and care for her daughter while attending classes. Once enrolled, Shauntee was impressed by the small class sizes at National, where she was able to receive one-on-one attention from instructors. “I appreciate all the instructors and all they’ve done to help me,” she said. “They were able to see things in me and pull things out of me that I didn’t think were there.”

The Lynchburg Campus has achieved a job placement rate of over 80%, and Shauntee was no exception. She was offered a job at Centra Health before she even graduated and began her new position as a cancer registrar on June 3rd, fulfilling her dream of working in the medical field. She credits her courses at National, from anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology to her computer and English classes, for helping her succeed. “I would and do recommend National,” she says. “It doesn’t matter where you are in life- whatever age or job status- set a goal and stick to it and all things are possible.”

The Class of 2013 is pictured in the top photo. Commencement speaker and alumna Michelle Andrews is pictured in the second photo from top. In the bottom photo, graduate Shauntee Patterson is pictured at the 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.