National Newsletter - biweekly updates from National's 30 communities in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, and Indiana.
National News

June 24, 2013

News from

National's Heritage

Schedule a Visit


Share this Newsletter

Social Connections

Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Facebook View our YouTube cannel


Certified Medical Assistant Named to Knoxville Campus Alumni Hall of Achievement

Certified Medical Assistant Named to Knoxville Campus Alumni Hall of Achievement

Andre Simpson has been named to the Knoxville Campus Alumni Hall of Achievement after building a successful career as a certified medical assistant (CMA) with Brown Chiropractic and Optimal Health.

Andre, a 2010 graduate of the campus, first developed an interest in the medical field while working as a nursing assistant in an emergency room trauma center when he was just sixteen years old. He attended the University of Tennessee after graduating from high school, but said that he didn’t complete his program there because there were too many distractions.

A few years later, he found National College while searching for educational programs online. At National, Andre found a more interpersonal experience which he felt was more conducive to learning.  With the credits that he transferred from the university, he was able to complete his associate’s degree program in just a year and a half.  

Andre began his career in medical assisting working at a pain management clinic, and he also worked for a respiratory therapy practice before finding the job of his dreams at Brown Chiropractic and Optimal Health. “The clinic that I’m at now does a round-about of everything that I’ve done before I was hired on there,” he explained “It’s a great learning experience there, plus a great opportunity.”

His duties as a CMA include assisting with minor surgical procedures, chiropractic adjustments, physical therapy, giving injections, and working with weight loss management patients. He is also responsible for training new employees as he travels to all four of the practice locations. His favorite part of his job is interacting with his patients and meeting new people every day.

Andre plans to continue his education in hopes of becoming a registered nurse. “It opened up doors to many opportunities,” he said of his education at National.

In the bottom photo, Andre Simpson is pictured accepting the Alumni Hall of Achievement Award from Rhonda Epps, the College’s regional director of health care education.

Our Communities - Article Quick Links

Campus Support Services

Fort Wayne, IN
Indianapolis, IN
South Bend, IN

Danville, KY
Florence, KY
Lexington, KY
Louisville, KY
Pikeville, KY
Richmond, KY

Akron Area, OH
Cleveland, OH
Cincinnati, OH
Columbus, OH
Dayton Area, OH
Stark County, OH
Youngstown, OH

Bartlett, TN
Bristol, TN
Knoxville, TN
Madison, TN
Memphis, TN
Nashville, TN

Charlottesville, VA
Danville, VA
Harrisonburg, VA
Lynchburg, VA
Manassas, VA
Martinsville, VA
Roanoke Valley, VA

West Virginia
Parkersburg, WV
Princeton, WV

Guest Speakers Offer Students a Different Perspective

Guest Speakers Offer Students a Different Perspective

The Princeton Campus recently welcomed two professionals from the community on campus to offer students an account of their experience in their fields.

Cathy Saddler, a retired teacher from Mercer County Schools, spoke to students in the Dosage and Calculations of Medications class about the importance of learning math basics. She also organized the students in groups and led them through a game where they had to help their teammates succeed. She used this visual demonstration to emphasize the importance of working as a team.

Walder, a meteorologist for WVVA, explained how math is used in weather forecasting to students in the Preparatory Math class. He explained how he calculated different percentages with regard to weather. Then he showed the many uses of math in everyday living. He also took time to answer several weather related questions.

Students benefit from guest speakers, like Ms. Saddler and Mr. Walder, as they can provide another perspective to the subject they are discussing.

In the top photo, guest Cathy Saddler is pictured as she organized students into groups for an activity to show them the importance of team work. Meteorologist Brian Walder is pictured in the bottom photo talking to students about how he uses math to forecast the weather.

Sue Coleman-Difference Maker at the Lynchburg Campus

Sue Coleman-Difference Maker at the Lynchburg Campus

Sue Coleman at the Lynchburg Campus was selected as a National College Difference Maker.

Director of Health Care Education


  • National College faculty member for the past 18 years
  • Over 32 years of experience in the medical field in areas of internal medicine, cardiology, and infectious disease
  • Recipient of VCCA Teacher of the Year award in 2006 and the National College Distinguished Teaching Award for the Virginia Division in 2009


  • Graduated from Lynchburg General Hospital School of Nursing
  • Featured in an article for Advance for LPNs magazine

I have a passion for the medical field, one that started early in life and continues today. I believe that being part of the medical profession is not what you do… it is who you are.

I use real world experience and hands-on patient care to instill compassion and love of the field to my students.

The biggest transformation I’ve seen is when a student, who upon entering had low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence, become a tutor, showed leadership in the class, excelled at her externship site and was offered a job before graduation.

PHOTO:  Sue Coleman is pictured at the Lynchburg Campus graduation ceremony (front and center) surrounded by medical assisting and pharmacy technician graduates.

Graduates are Celebrated and Awarded at Graduation Ceremony

Graduates are Celebrated and Awarded at Graduation Ceremony

On Wednesday, May 22nd, the Indianapolis Campus held a graduation ceremony to celebrate the academic achievements of the Class of 2013. After a warm welcome from campus director James Abraham, guest speaker Ginny Cain took the stage.

Ms. Cain is the central Indiana regional director for Senator Dan Coats’ office and a city council member. She shared her professional experiences with graduates and emphasized the value of education to her success. She explained that the percentage of Indiana residents who have a college degree is not that high, and how the Class of 2013 is making not just a change in their lives but in the lives of all Hoosiers. She praised their accomplishments and encouraged them to strive for excellence in the future.

After Ms. Cain’s inspirational speech, awards were handed out to many deserving graduates. Bennie Holmes received the Alumni Hall of Achievement Award for his exceptional work in surgical technology helping American National University students seek employment. Pharmacy technician graduate Kelly Roberts received the Achievement Award for overcoming obstacles to achieve success, as well as the E.M. Coulter Award for her outstanding academic achievements. Angela McGee also received the E.M. Coulter Award in addition to the Leadership Award for displaying excellent leadership, organization, and motivational skills. Information systems engineering graduate Shaun-Tori Hill was recognized with the M.A. Smythe Award for his high academic achievement. His fiancé, business administration-accounting graduate Quiana Anderson, was also recognized with outstanding academic achievement with the Joseph E. Hurn Award.

As a new campus director, James was excited to be a part of the ceremony. “To see the pride on the graduates’ faces, as well as all of their family and friends, was one of the most inspirational experiences I have ever had,” he said with a new appreciation for his job.

Director of health care education Patricia Ridge is pictured in the top photo (3rd from left) with graduates of the medical programs (l to r) Michael Choate, Shannon Foster, and Angela McGee. In the bottom photo, M.A. Smythe Award winner Shaun-Tori Hill is pictured (center) accepting his award from campus director James Abraham (left) and instructor A.J. Richardson at the Indianapolis graduation ceremony.

Graduate Gets Job Offer Before Graduation

Graduate Gets Job Offer Before Graduation

After working hard on her coursework in the medical assisting program at the Columbus Campus, Kelly Privette reaped her rewards before she even graduated. She was hired at Central Ohio Surgical Associates (COSA), the site where she completed her externship.  

Kelly’s extern supervisors and co-workers at COSA were very impressed with her performance and dedication – so much so that they wanted her to stay around. In her new position, Kelly will be responsible for administrative tasks such as scheduling, answering phone calls, and working with insurance. Additionally, she will be performing typical medical assisting duties like helping physicians with procedures, checking vital signs, preparing medical charts, and educating patients.

Kelly previously worked in home health care, and she managed her own cleaning business. She decided to get an education because she wanted to get more involved in the medical field. She chose American National University because she liked the year-round course scheduling that would help her complete her degree faster. She also liked the dedicated instructors and small class sizes.

“American National University helped me gain confidence and skills,” she proudly stated as she praised the support she received from her instructors along the way. “All [of my] instructors are very willing to help. I wouldn’t be where I am without their help.”  

Medical assisting graduate Kelly Privette (pictured) was hired at the same place where she completed her externship.

Students and Faculty Get Involved with the "Grow the Yo" Event

Students and Faculty Get Involved with the

Students and faculty from the Youngstown Campus recently participated in the Youngstown’s City Scape, “Grow the Yo 2013”event. This event is held every year by the different organizations, corporations, and volunteers of Youngstown to beautify the city’s downtown and surrounding areas. James Gibbs, the campus’s business department chair, has participated in the event for the last three years, and wanted to get his students involved. The event started by cleaning the city parks, and then moved towards the downtown area where everyone participated in a party afterwards. The participating students learned that by volunteering, they not only helped the city, but they also had a great opportunity to network and gain experience.

Scholarship winner and student Malitsa Santiago is pictured on the left with director of health care education Veronica Zurcher.



Army Veteran Begins His Career in IT after Graduating From National

Army Veteran Begins His Career in IT after Graduating From National

After serving his country, Jason Gabbard, a U.S. Army veteran, was having a difficult time finding a job with a good future. With funding through the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, he enrolled in the information systems engineering (ISE) program at the Florence Campus, and less than two years later, he has earned his associate’s degree. Now he has a job working as an IT Specialist for Hospitality Technical Services (HTS) at Columbia Sussex Corporation.

Jason previously attended a local community college but it didn’t meet his needs. He was glad to find a different experience at National. “When I started here, I figured out how nice the people are, and how much they are willing to help you,” he said of his experience in the ISE program. “I’d recommend it to anybody.”

According to ISE program director Valerie Bowman, he became a leader in his class, taking other students “under his wing” assisting them in any way needed. He was also the first student at the Florence Campus to become TIA A+ certified during his program, an important credential which is valued by employers.

During his program, he was able to get on-the job-experience and showcase his skills to a potential employer when he worked as an extern for KET Public Broadcasting Station in Lexington, Kentucky.  Jason recalled that he’d always dreamed of working for KET and, with help from Valerie and Lexington Campus ISE program director George Camp, he was able to make the externship a reality.  

In his job with HTS Columbia Sussex, Jason assists employees of Marriott Hotel properties across the country with troubleshooting, installations, and upgrades of the their computers and reservations systems. He also assists guests of the hotels with any questions they have about connecting to the Wi-Fi service for internet access.

Jason feels that there are many opportunities available to him in the field of IT and he has enrolled in the American National University Bachelor of Information Technology online program to ensure that he keeps advancing in his career. His ultimate goal is to work in Silicon Valley in the IT industry. “Since I walked through this door, I (said) ‘I’m going to finish this,” Jason said of his education. “There’s nothing that’s going to stop me.”

In the bottom photo, Jason Gabbard is pictured on the far right with fellow ISE graduates Adam Brown (left) and Kyle Bowman (center).

Student Shares Insight on Commencement Speaker’s Address

Student Shares Insight on Commencement Speaker’s Address

Instructor Robert Hale recently assigned students in his History class to attend the Lexington Campus commencement ceremony and write an essay about the message that the commencement speaker, councilwoman Shevawn Akers, delivered.

William Jones (pictured), a student in the business administration-management class, who completed the assignment, wrote a particularly moving essay about how Councilwoman Akers overcame challenges and made good choices to achieve success in her life. See below for an excerpt of his 650+ word essay.

It does not matter how life challenges us…Ms. Akers’ life story has proven that anyone can turn it all around. She went from cancer to a campaign trail which led her to public office in the community. Her battles kept her strong with a passion to help others and God has given her a platform for which she can use her talents along with a story that may be used to encourage, uplift, and inspire others in the same situation.

It is thought that we reach success when we get a great job, or a lot of money, or houses, but true success in life does not have to come in a big gift wrapped box. It can be achieved within us, once we find out what God has planned for us. This story shows we may need to constantly pursue what works well for us. It may take many challenges, along with choices and difficult decision-making, before we can truly be happy.

Grandmother, Mother, and Son Enroll at Danville, Kentucky Campus

Grandmother, Mother, and Son Enroll at Danville, Kentucky Campus

Three generations of a family have recently enrolled together to study at the Danville, Kentucky Campus.

Darlene Benedict and her daughter, Melinda Stephens, came to American National University after they lost their jobs when the Red Wing Shoe factory where they both worked closed down. They qualified for funding for college through the Trade Adjustment Act (TAA), which provides training assistance to workers who have lost their job due to foreign trade.

Darlene had previously attended American National University and was excited to have the opportunity to return to finish her degree. Melinda decided to come to National, as well, because she had often heard her mother speak highly of the school. “When she was here, she loved it,” she recalled. Both Darlene and Melinda have enrolled in the business administration-accounting program, and they plan to open a bookkeeping service together after graduating.

When Melinda’s son, Jeff Stephens, learned that his mother and grandmother had enrolled at National, he decided to enroll too. “I thought about it for a couple of days, and I figured out I’d rather go back to college, and try to get a better job than work in a factory,” he explained.

Jeff has enrolled in the office technology professional program. He has been out of high school for about a year, and he said that many of his friends, who have chosen to attend larger universities, were skeptical about his decision to attend National. Jeff said that he knew that he had made the right choice from his first day of class because of the personal attention that he receives from his instructors. “This is the best college that you could go to,” he said.

Pictured are (l to r) Melinda Stephens, Darlene Benedict (sitting), and Jeff Stephens.

Learning How to Prepare for a Disaster

Learning How to Prepare for a Disaster

Michael Bryant, deputy director for the Madison County Emergency Management Agency, recently visited the Richmond Campus and spoke to students in instructor Hank Jones’s Environmental Science class. His presentation focused on chemical and climate related emergencies. He explained the complexity of hazardous materials and how they should be handled and he discussed how to be prepared for and what to do in different environmental emergencies such as tornados, earthquakes, floods, snow, or ice storms.

Mr. Bryant encouraged everyone to be prepared and have an emergency kit for their families including a gallon of water per person per day, a first-aid kit, flashlight, battery operated radio, a manual can-opener, non-perishable food, cash, and medicines that are taken/needed regularly.

Student Angel Powell said she was glad to be a part of Mr. Bryant’s discussion. “I found the information very helpful, and I am grateful for all the services that the Emergency Management [Agency] provides for Madison County.”

Guest speaker Michael Bryant, deputy director for the Madison County Emergency Management Agency, is pictured talking to students at the Richmond Campus.


University's Paramedic Program Achieves a 100% Pass Rate on Certification Exam

University's Paramedic Program Achieves a 100% Pass Rate on Certification Exam

Students in the emergency medical technology - paramedic program at the Roanoke Valley Campus can be encouraged to learn that the last group of graduates to take the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians’ EMT– Paramedic examination all passed on the first try.

The national average is 74% passing on their first time. American National University’s paramedic program is one of only 74 schools in the country accredited to test for the National Registry. The exam measures students’ knowledge of patient assessments, cardiac management, medical emergencies, geriatric emergencies, pediatric emergencies, as well as pharmacology and emergency operations. The exam is dynamic and adaptive so every test is different and it becomes more challenging from start to finish. The exam is measured on a competency level which means once a student has selected an answer, they cannot go back and change their answer.

Alan Brie, director of the program, works closely with students throughout their time in the program to make sure they are ready to take the exam. “It was just as hard as Alan Brie and all the instructors had said it would be, but I felt prepared,” said graduate Arthur Watkins.

“I had done everything clinical coordinator Lisa Harbert told me to do in preparing, so I did not find it too difficult,” said graduate Melissa Hale. “It was a good test of what I have learned, but the staff at National had us well prepared.”

Pictured at the 2013 Roanoke Valley graduation ceremony are (l to r) instructor Jack Guilliams, instructor Matthew Bradshaw, graduates Rebecca Ayers, Melissa Hale, and Arthur Watkins, clinical coordinator Lisa Harbert, students James Maxey and Fred Wilson, program director Alan Brie, and students Erica Roberts, Cary Strosnider, Andrew-Keith Shroades, and Stephen Brown.

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.