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September 16, 2013

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Campus Career Center Assists Graduates in Starting a New Career with Unified Trust Company

Campus Career Center Assists Graduates in Starting a New Career with Unified Trust Company

Wendy Neff, a graduate of the business administration-management associate’s degree program at the Lexington Campus, is working as a Spanish-language customer service representative at Unified Trust Company, where she assists the company’s Spanish-speaking clients with questions that they have concerning their 401K retirement plans.

As a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and former leasing manager, Wendy never imagined herself working in the world of finance, until she was presented with the opportunity when Unified Trust contacted the Lexington Campus Career Center to help them find qualified applicants for the job.

Jennifer Steed, director of client services for Unified Trust, said that she had a great experience working with career center director Cheryl Howell.  “Everybody was so friendly, and made it so easy, and it worked very well.  It’s been a great process,” she said.

She feels that Wendy is a great asset to the company.  “She has such a bubbly personality.  She’s always very positive, so all of her phone calls are always upbeat,” she explained. “She always goes the extra mile to help the participants.”  Jennifer said that Wendy’s computer skills that she gained in her program at American National University have been important in her job and they allowed her to step in and go right to work utilizing the technology that is in place in the customer service department.

Wendy, whose parents are from Puerto Rico, loves her job at Unified Trust where she translates documents and talks with the company’s Spanish-speaking clients from all over the country and even the world.  “People have so many questions, and I like to help them out with that,” she said.

She has returned to the Lexington Campus to earn her bachelor’s degree to build on her knowledge of the business world and increase her leadership abilities to prepare her to move up in the company.

Jennifer continues to partner with the American National University career center to find employees for her team and she recently hired student Dallas DeArruda as an addition to the Spanish customer service department.   You will be able to read more about Dallas’s career success in an upcoming issue of the National News.

(A) Business administration-management student Wendy Neff is working as a Spanish customer service representative at Unified Trust Company.

(B)-Unified Trust Company director of client services Jennifer Steed (center) is shown with American National University students Wendy Neff (left) and Dallas DeArruda (right), whom she hired after contacting the Lexington Campus Career Center.

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ESL Students Reinforce Skills in New York City

ESL Students Reinforce Skills in New York City

For three days in mid-August, students from the English as a Second Language (ESL) program at the Roanoke Valley Campus participated in an intensive learning and cultural immersion trip to New York City.  The trip is part of the program’s ongoing extra-curricular student activities—an important contextual part of the educational program.  The trip tested the students’ abilities to function during a multi-faceted trip, speaking only in English, and helped the students to experience the diverse culture of an important American urban center.  ESL teachers used aspects of the trip to shape classroom activities before and after the trip, and they designed specific assignments to be completed during and after the students’ travels.

During the trip, the students had an opportunity to practice their English comprehension and speaking skills.  They listened to tour guides and discussed their thoughts as they visited many of the city’s famous landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty, Ground Zero and the Freedom Tower site, Chinatown, Times Square, and the United Nations.   The students really appreciated the whole trip and enjoyed their experiences—even as their skills in English were put to the test.

Dr. Eric Rothgery, ESL program director (back), with some of the ESL students who traveled to New York City.

Business After Hours Held On Campus

Business After Hours Held On Campus

The Princeton Campus hosted a joint Chamber (Bluefield and Princeton Mercer County) Business After Hours on Thursday, August 25th. Employers and dignitaries from the area gathered to meet, mingle, enjoy refreshments, relax, and spend an evening networking. These potential employers of Princeton Campus graduates had an opportunity to discover the many programs (including the three new programs in cybersecurity, network administration, and software development and engineering) offered by the Princeton Campus and the benefits of hiring National College graduates. Participants were given an opportunity to tour the campus and received answers to inquires about attending the college. 

Hosting events such as these allows the campus to maintain contact with employers and business professionals while presenting the students and graduates with increased employment opportunities.
“We always enjoy having chamber of commerce functions here at National College, including Business After Hours and chamber board meetings.  The facility is very conducive to learning and also for community functions.” commented Keith Circle, executive assistant of the Princeton-Mercer County Chamber of Commerce.  “The staff is so helpful and so willing to accommodate and to be active in the community.  National College’s Princeton Campus is such a nice facility, with a spacious building and a friendly, peaceful atmosphere.”

From left Justin Spracher (First Century Bank), Justin Gullion (First Community Bank), Robert Farley (President Princeton Mercer County Chamber), and Valerie Hendricks (WV Welcome Center)

Shereé Graham Chosen as Tennessee’s TAICS Teacher of the Year

Shereé Graham Chosen as Tennessee’s TAICS Teacher of the Year

Shereé Graham, an instructor at the Madison Campus since 2008, recently received the esteemed Teacher of Year award through the Tennessee Association of Independent Colleges and Schools (TAISC) which facilitates professional growth and development for private career colleges and schools along with their students, faculty, and staff.  

Shereé worked more than ten years in clinical healthcare in both the civilian sector and for the United States Army.  She began her career with National as an instructor and Department Chair of the Business department and in 2013 became the campus’s health information technology director.

“As a health care instructor I share with all my students the need to seek their full potential and exceed it.  I challenge my students by motivating them to be better than they have ever been, regardless of their past,” commented Shereé.  “I encourage each of them to devote their all in everything they attempt to do.  I attempt to educate the whole student, as each of them come from various backgrounds with numerous goals in mind.”Shereé holds an associate of science degree in medical assisting from Draughons Junior College, a bachelor’s degree in social sciences with a concentration in psychology from Tennessee State University, and a MBA with specialization in health care administration from Ashford University. 

Shereé Graham is Tennessee’s TAISC Teacher of the Year. Shereé said, “I find great success in seeing each of my students achieve even the smallest of accomplishments.”

Veteran Begins Civilian Career After Updating Her Computer Skills at National

Veteran Begins Civilian Career After Updating Her Computer Skills at National

Pamela Ramsey, a veteran of the U.S. Army and U.S. Army Reserve, planned to spend her whole career in the military, but a debilitating illness forced her to accept a medical discharge and left her bedridden for several years.  When Pamela recovered from her illness, she enrolled in the office technology professional program at the Nashville Campus to update her skills in technology and help her transition into civilian life.

“I was ready to…get myself going.  The illness had almost taken me over,” said Pamela, who received funding for her education through the Vocational Rehabilitation program of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. 

She had not attended school for more than 20 years, so the thought of attending a large university didn’t appeal to her.  When she visited National College, she liked the intimate class size and older student population that she found.  “The whole environment was good for me to re-socialize myself,” she recalled. “Coming back from active duty, it was really difficult to reintegrate into the civilian world.  So, coming to a college with…other veterans that I’ve met and other older individuals, it really made it an easy transition for me.”

After completing her program in 2012, Pamela was hired by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as an administrative assistant.   She feels that her 16 years of administrative work in the military, combined with her training at National on the newest computer technology, gave her the skills that she needed to compete in the tough job market.   “That was one of the reasons why I needed to come back to school, because I was out of touch with what had been updated,” she explained.

State Representative Courtney Rogers of Tennessee’s 45th District, met Pamela when she served as the commencement speaker during the Nashville Campus’s graduation ceremony that was held in May.  She recognized Pamela as a fellow veteran by the red, white, and blue regalia which they both wore.  “She has a great looking family, a good job, and now - a new degree,” said Representative Rogers of Pamela’s accomplishments.  “I think she's ready to soar!”

Veteran and Graduate, Pamela Ramsey of the Nashville Campus.

Difference Maker - Mary Hake - Business and Computer Class Instructor

Difference Maker - Mary Hake - Business and Computer Class Instructor

Mary Hake—Difference Maker at the Youngstown Campus

Instructor of business and computer courses

American National University faculty member since 2012; previously worked in student services

• Holds an associate degree in management information systems and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Thiel College; and an MBA from Youngstown State University
• Previously worked as a PC specialist and a lab operations and student employment supervisor at a local college

Since most of the classes I teach are on the computer, there are a lot of hands-on activities. When the students ask a question, I don’t give them the answer, but make them think about where it is that they should look for it. At first they get frustrated when I ask a question instead of give the answer, but after they figure it out on their own, they are more likely to remember the answer the next time.  After they realize what it is that I am doing, they understand my reasoning and appreciate it.
One of my greatest rewards as an instructor is as each term ends, seeing the students turn in their final with a smile and a thank you, knowing that they learned something. They are usually scared coming into the class and are appreciative of the help at the end.
The best thing about being part of the American National University faculty is being able to teach those that want to learn. Most are here to better themselves and want to know all that they can. To be able to help them get that information is great.


Mary Hake is a Difference Maker at the Youngstown Campus

MBA Students Give Business Advice to a Local Company

MBA Students Give Business Advice to a Local Company

Precision Technology USA (PT USA), headquartered in Roanoke, Virginia, manufactures, distributes and installs actuators. An actuator is a type of motor for moving or controlling a mechanism or system.  It is operated by a source of energy, typically electric current, hydraulic fluid pressure, or pneumatic pressure, and converts that energy into motion.

The Managerial Economics class comprised of MBA students at the Roanoke Valley Campus recently launched a community involvement project working with PT USA to assist with updating their website to sell more actuators in commercial markets. Students quickly realized as they initiated the project that they needed a lot of “on-the-job” training to understand what actuators do and how to build them. After becoming well-versed in the differences between hydraulic, pneumatic, electromechanical, and magnetic actuators and seeing that the industrial world relies extensively on actuators, the MBA students started to develop a new vision for PT USA’s website.

Students formally presented their ideas and plans for an updated PT USA website on Thursday, September 5th to the President and CEO of PT USA, Chris Oswald, along with employees Charlie Statzer, Bonnie Frame, Tom Bibby and Barbi Ryle. 

Through the project, the students said that they learned the importance of a company’s web image and they now see the advantages some competitors have in their markets based on web presence. The culmination of the project for the students is when they tie together the economic outcomes that web sites have on the demand in the market place of today’s corporate world.

(A) Pictured(l) to (r) are PT employees: Charlie Statzer, Bonnie Frame, Chris Oswald (President and CEO of PT USA), Tom Bibby, and Barbi Ryle.

(B)-Dr. Annette Chamberlain (center), with MBA students surrounding her. 

Medical Graduates Celebrate Success

Medical Graduates Celebrate Success

On Friday, September 6th the Louisville Campus held a celebration for students who completed their programs during the summer term.  During the ceremony, staff, faculty, family, and friends gathered to recognize the achievements of the graduates and to wish them well as they entered into their new careers.

Medical billing and coding graduates Jennifer Caddell and Latasha Harrison, who have both been hired by Kumar Eye Institute following externships with the practice, were among the medical students who participated in a pinning ceremony that was held as part of the event.  They received their pins proudly, knowing that their commitment to their program has already enabled them to find a secure job in the healthcare field.

Jennifer, who graduated from her program in July and returned to campus to participate in the pinning ceremony, is working as lead biller for the practice.  She explained that she enrolled at American National University because she found that there was a high demand for skilled health care professionals when she moved to Kentucky from California. “[I] used to [work in] small, meaningless jobs,” she said.  “I’m very proud of myself.”

Latasha, who just completed her program and externship, has been hired as a biller.  She said that she is excited about her new career and that she wanted to thank instructors Judy McDonogh and Bonnie Kiefer for the support and assistance that they gave her throughout her program.  “They helped me very much,” she said.

Medical billing and coding graduates Jennifer Caddell (left) and Latasha Harrison is shown with instructor Judy McDonogh (right) during the medical pinning ceremony at the Louisville Campus.


Graduate Returns to Campus as a Guest Speaker

Graduate Returns to Campus as a Guest Speaker

Tammie Flege, a 1997 graduate of the business administration-management program at American National University, decided that she wanted to give back by being a guest speaker for current students at the Florence Campus. She wanted to share with students how American National University was instrumental in helping her further her career.

Tammie, who works as an Account Executive for Valpak of Cincinnati, discussed the importance of why professionalism and networking in one’s chosen field is so important. She shared with the students the difference between a job and a career, and how important it is to know what you want to do when you graduate.  She also emphasized participating in school activities as a way to network with other students and faculty members.

Tammie mentioned that social media is another way to network and urged students to ensure that their postings are professional as employers may look at their Facebook pages.

Medical assisting student Camelia Evans said that she found the information that Tammie shared to be very helpful.  “She talked about how, regardless of what classes she took here, they have all helped her in her career, and helped her network and get to where she is now.”  Camelia also learned about using LinkedIn, a professional social networking site to make connections with employers in her field.  “Next thing you know, you may have your foot in the door, where you want to be,” explained Camelia.

Tammie Flege is a 1997 graduate who returned to the Florence Campus to give career advice to students.

Class Assignment is a Family Affair

Class Assignment is a Family Affair

The family of medical assisting student Mackenzie Shearer came to her Invasive Clinical Procedures class at the Danville Campus (Kentucky) to make their arms available so she would get all of her blood draws completed by the end of class.  Dana Shearer, Mackenzie’s mother is so proud and supportive that she came to class three weeks in a row so Mackenzie could practice her blood draws.  The students are required to have “25 sticks” before they complete the class.

Mackenzie started attending National after graduating from high school to make a successful future for herself and said “I came to National to become a medical assistant. I wanted to be a phlebotomist when I started donating blood. Being a medical assistant is just icing on the cake.”
Her future career goals are to become a medical assistant and phlebotomist. 

Mackenzie said that she wants “to do something I love so it doesn’t feel like a hassle to go to work.”  When asked what she has received from her education at National, she said, “Great friends…and help with my career.  Reassurance from my [instructor] when I do blood draws.  I’ve been prepared for my future.”

Mackenzie Shearer (far left) is shown with her Mother, Dad, Uncle, Grandfather and his girlfriend. Pictured left to right areMackenzie, Dana Shearer, Janie Hicks, Michael Poynter, Jeff Shearer and Josep Glacken


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.