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September 23, 2013

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Public Services Director Helps Lead Growth and Development of the City of Florence

Public Services Director Helps Lead Growth and Development of the City of Florence

As public services director of the City of Florence, Kentucky, Eric Hall strives to positively impact the lives of the 28,000 residents and the businesses that his department serves.  “It is something that I’m extremely passionate about-- just having the opportunity to be a part of this city,” Eric said of his job managing the water systems , sewer services, streets, parks and grounds of the eighth largest city in Kentucky. “We have 65 employees that make up our department, and we’re all working together to make the City of Florence a place people want to be.”

Eric’s career with the city began 14 years ago when he was hired as a maintenance worker in the streets department.  His work ethic, which drives him to always better himself and the projects that he undertakes, combined with the knowledge and discipline gained in his business administration-management program at the Florence Campus, have enabled him to rise through the ranks.  He worked as a maintenance supervisor, inspector, project administrator, and project coordinator before he was recently promoted to public services director at the young age of 32.

“I decided I wanted to further prepare myself professionally, and I knew having a college degree and working towards that was going to help me do that,” recalled Eric, who initially chose American National University because of its convenient location and the availability of night classes, which fit well with his work schedule.

He also feels that the small class size that he found at National was a big advantage of attending the school.  “I really think that is something that American National University has going for them that other colleges don’t, because you do have that personal touch with the instructor and with the other people there,” Eric explained.  “ That aspect of it…generates more learning, more involvement.  You don’t feel like you’re lost in the crowd.”

Eric uses skills that he developed in his business program such as critical thinking, Microsoft applications, accounting, communications, organizational management, and leadership on the job every day as he manages people, projects, and multi-million dollar budgets for the city.  “We’re in the business of serving and being fiscally responsible with funding…so, it’s a business in itself,” he explained.

Eric attended National with two of his co-workers from the maintenance crew, who now work on his staff as project administrators.  “My time with National was very positive.  The staff was very professional, knowledgeable and provided me with a quality education.  I’m also very thankful that I had the opportunity to share that experience with two other public service employees, Ben Horgan and Josh Hunt,” he said of his time spent in the program with his colleagues.

After just a few months on the job, Eric has high expectations for the future for himself and his department.  “My future goals have and will always represent a mindset that strives for growth and development in all aspects of my life.  My college experience contributed to my self-discipline which has positively impacted my life.  If you’re serious about growing in a specific area, then you need to utilize the resources that are available to you.  American National University was a resource I utilized,  and I’m thankful for its contribution to my life.”

(A)- Public services director Eric Hall is using skills developed in his business administration-management program to manage multi-million dollar projects and 65 employees for the City of Florence, Kentucky.

(B)-City of Florence public services director Eric Hall (center) is pictured with Ben Horgan (left) and Josh Hunt (right) who attended American National University with Eric and now work as project administrators on his staff.

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Fort Wayne, IN
Indianapolis, IN
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Danville, KY
Florence, KY
Lexington, KY
Louisville, KY
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Richmond, KY

Akron Area, OH
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Dayton Area, OH
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Bristol, TN
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Charlottesville, VA
Danville, VA
Harrisonburg, VA
Lynchburg, VA
Manassas, VA
Martinsville, VA
Roanoke Valley, VA

West Virginia
Parkersburg, WV
Princeton, WV

Employer Partners with Campus to Provide Externship Experiences

Employer Partners with Campus to Provide Externship Experiences

The Youngstown Campus recently awarded a Distinguished Community Employer plaque to Reginald Wright, health information management (HIM) operations supervisor, from ValleyCare Health System of Ohio.  Mr. Wright serves on the HIM advisory board at the Youngstown Campus and has been an advocate of the externship program for students in the campus’s HIM program. With more than 20 years of experience, Reggie welcomes the opportunity to train externs in his department.  It has greatly benefited the students as they are able to apply the skills and education they learned in the classroom to an actual healthcare setting.
Despite his full schedule, Mr. Wright has invested time in many National students to assist them in learning electronic health record workflow and functions, birth registry duties, quantitative and qualitative analysis of medical records, etc. 

Mr. Wright, American National University, and Northside [Medical Center] started a wonderful partnership five years ago. “The students who extern with Reggie are thrilled that they learn so much and really enjoy the opportunity to receive real life training in a hospital setting,” said Mike Boyle, Youngstown campus director.

“The strong partnership between American National University and Northside [Medical Center and] ValleyCare Health Systems is invaluable for students as they begin their new careers; in addition to providing a hands-on learning environment,” commented Mr. Wright.  “We appreciate the partnership that we have developed with American National University; the students are knowledgeable, respectful, and eager to learn…We will continue to strengthen our partnership with American National University in the years to come.”

Distinguished Community Employer Reginald Wright with some of his co-workers at Northside Medical Center. 

Campus Holds Constitution Day Activities

Campus Holds Constitution Day Activities

The Martinsville Campus held day and evening events on Tuesday, September 17, to recognize Constitution Day. Copies of the Constitution were passed out to students before and after the assembly of students. Speaker Joan Blankenship, an instructor of management and medical courses at the campus, spoke on the topic, “The Constitution – Why Should I Care?”

Joan began by speaking about the Preamble of the Constitution: “We the people of the United States want to form a more perfect union and become an independent nation …” She then pointed out that seven Articles or the By-laws followed the Preamble, and these Articles addressed the main parts of government and its duties.

The United States Constitution was signed by delegates on September 17, 1787. Joan then again asked the question, “Why should I care?” She followed by reviewing several amendments that give us our freedoms and rights as American citizens.

Joan stressed that these amendments should give everyone reasons to care about the Constitution.  For example,  the Fourteenth Amendment granted citizenship to all people either born or naturalized in the United States.  Joan then described how the immigration issue is being debated again today in Congress.

Joan concluded her talk by saying the Constitution has changed much since it was approved.   Joan explained that while she was attending a meeting in Bedford the day before, she saw a brightly colored bus that displayed “We the People” on its side.  The message on the bus continued, “… need to take our country back.”  Joan remarked that it is “we the people” who have the ability to make the changes, and that is why she cares about the Constitution and the debate over changes to the Constitution.

Joan’s remarks were well-received by students and faculty at the events.  Department chair Gayle Barker commented, “I enjoyed her remarks and [she] gave valid reasons on why we should all care about the Constitution.”   Student Glenda Isley said, “I thought her talk was good, her take on it of ‘why should I care’ caught my attention, and it made me think that the Constitution needs to evolve as it has to address the problems our society faces.”

(A)-Instructor Joan Blankenship speaks to students about the Constitution inside a classroom at the Martinsville Campus.

(B)- Instructor Joan Blankenship explains the meaning of the Constitution in front of the student entrance of the Martinsville Campus as part of the Constitution Day Celebration.

Campus Engages Students in the Community

Campus Engages Students in the Community

On Friday, August 16th, Danville Campus students Mathew Maxey, Tia Macklin, and Joseph Groom attended the open house of Senator Tim Kaine’s office in Danville. Surrounded by business owners, local elected officials including Mayor Sherman Saunders, and local residents, the students presented themselves in a very professional manner. The students were able to speak with Senator Kaine, who humbly asked each of them about their goals for the future.

Rhonda Pass, career center director said, “Exposing students to various off campus events such as this has allowed these students to add a new page to this new chapter in their lives.  We believe that such exposure will empower students to make a significant difference in the community where they will live and work.”

Pictured (l) to (r) are: Joseph Groom, Senator Tim Kaine,  Matthew Maxey, and Tia Macklin.

Job Fair Provides Advice for Job Seekers

Job Fair Provides Advice for Job Seekers

The Princeton Campus held an early Fall Career Fair on Thursday, August 29th. The career fair is always free and is open to all job seekers. The event included agencies and employers from First Community Bank, FPC Alderson, West Virginia Health and Human Resources, West Virginia Division of Personnel, Liberty Tax Service, Hospice Compassus, Workforce West Virginia, and more.Students, graduates, and job seekers from around the area obtained information about numerous available jobs. One area job seeker was extremely excited because she found out about four jobs that she said she would apply for; and a National College graduate was happy because she found seven that were of interest to her.  Mr. Edwin Bennett, HR Recruiter for WV Department of Health and Human Resources, reminded those seeking employment to apply online and follow through.  He said that some potential employees who are enthusiastic when they meet with him never actually apply.

“The students were really nice and seemed very knowledgeable about the health care field,” commented Chris Blankenship, branch manager at ResCare. “I had a lot of good responses to my openings and a couple of students filled out applications.”

Leslie Perdue (center) prepares to meet with employers as Catherine Webb (left) speaks with a financial service specialist of Apprisen. 

South Bend Medical Assistants Volunteer

South Bend Medical Assistants Volunteer

Reneé Neldon, director of healthcare education at the South Bend Campus, along with medical assisting (MAA) students volunteered to participate in Indiana Health Care Week’s Health Fair at the Indiana Health Center (IHC) on Sunday, August 4th.  The MAA students were assigned an area to take the blood pressure of those attending their event.  The practice manager, David Chapman, who also serves on the campus medical assisting advisory board, had invited American National University MAA students to participate.  Mr. Chapman was most pleased with the professional approach of our students and he welcomed us back next year.  

“I liked how easy and accurate the electronic blood pressure cuffs were.  It was a comfortable and relaxed environment,” said Chereka Fox, an MAA student volunteer. John Sikorski, another student volunteer, said, “I learned a lot by talking with the patients and found out how [challenging] it is to work with patients who only speak a language other than English.”  John said that he also found the health center staff at to be helpful and very nice.  Both Ms. Neldon and Ms. Janine O’Keefe, a medical instructor and student mentor, commented that they were proud of the students and their representation of the “purple scrubs” of American National University.

John Sikorski, Ralonda Hawkins, Renee Neldon, director of healthcare education, Chereka Fox, Latoya Bradshaw

Difference Maker - Martha Rostochak - Director of Health Care Education

Difference Maker - Martha Rostochak - Director of Health Care Education

Martha Rostochak—Difference Maker at the Fort Wayne Campus

• Director of Healthcare Education
• Instructor of all medical assisting and billing & coding courses

• American National University instructor since 2011
• Has more than 25 years of experience working in the healthcare industry

Has gained experience working in physicians’ offices, nursing homes, and urgent care clinics

“I got involved in healthcare because I love helping people. To be able to put a smile on someone’s face or just to give them a hug when they need it most can make a difference in someone’s life. It is probably the most rewarding career that a person can have. In healthcare, every day is a new learning experience.
“I bring my experiences to the classroom. I am able to teach students through what I have seen and learned. Each physician’s office is different, and having that knowledge to share with students can go a long way when they are deciding if they want to choose a specialty. I try to challenge my students with each class. I incorporate a lot of scenarios into my classes, especially the clinical. When a student goes out to an externship site, they need to know what it is like to actually work in a clinical setting.
“The best thing about being part of the American National University faculty is the ability to share new ideas with other faculty members. If a question arises, there is always someone to talk to. Being a part of the American National University faculty is like being a part of an extended family.”

Martha Rostochack is a Difference Maker at the Fort Wayne Campus.

Students Offer Free Computer Clinic

Students Offer Free Computer Clinic

Thanks to a program organized by director of information technology programs Dr. Kelvin Webb, the information systems engineering (ISE) students at the Columbus Campus now have some practical knowledge that can reinforce their classroom instruction and augment their performance in the job market once they complete their degrees.  Kelvin arranged a computer clinic for students, faculty, and staff to bring in computers that had issues and the ISE students assessed them for free.  The ISE students examined the malfunctioning computers, diagnosed the problems, and fixed them if they were able to.  This was an invaluable program for the students to participate in, and it benefitted them as well as the college community.  Many ISE students graduate and work in positions that pertain to desktop and user support, and this was excellent training.

Affirming the benefits of the computer clinic, ISE student Twan Clark said, “It [provided] us with an opportunity to acquire real world experience.”  

Pictured (left) to (right) are: Charles Ross, Jessica Adkins, Mohamed Mugasa, Twan Clark, Dr. Kelvin Webb, and Laconey Conde who participated in or supervised the campus computer clinic.

Graduate Finds New Career as a Pharmacy Technician

Graduate Finds New Career as a Pharmacy Technician

Crystal Jerry, a graduate of the Bartlett Campus, was recently hired to work as a certified pharmacy technician at PHarMEDium, a company which provides customized pharmacy sterile compounding services for hospital intravenous and epidural therapies.

Crystal was working in housekeeping at a local hospital when a friend told her about the great experience that she’d had at National College.  She encouraged Crystal to visit the campus and get back in school to get the training she needed to further her career.

Crystal took her friend’s advice and enrolled at National where she found instructors who were willing to give her one-on-one attention.  “The instructors are very informative. They help you a lot,” Crystal commented.  “You can go to them and ask them questions after class.  They make sure that you have everything down pat before you leave,” she recalled.

Two externships in two different pharmacy settings were also an important part of Crystal’s program at National.  “You can go into a retail or a hospital setting, and I like that you have that choice,” she said of the variety of career options that are available to her as a pharmacy technician. 

Crystal is proud of her new career and she is considering continuing her education in the medical field in the future.   “This is a great opportunity for me.  I can provide for my child a lot better now…and just set a great example for him,” she said.

Pharmacy Technician Graduate Crystal Jerry (pictured) in a classroom at the Bartlett Campus.

Graduate Keeps Promise and Graduates from Nursing School

Graduate Keeps Promise and Graduates from Nursing School

Brandy McGuire, a recent nursing graduate at the Pikeville Campus, made a promise to her father when he passed away last year from cancer that she would finish nursing school.  Both her mom and dad passed away on the oncology floor at Pikeville Medical Center. Once this happened, she says it changed everything for her.  Brandy recalled that she wanted to come to American National University because the institution had a reputation of being the best nursing program in the area.  She said that she had always heard rumors at the hospital where she was working as certified nursing assistant (CNA) that if you could make it through the program you would be a great nurse. 

Brandy was determined to keep her promise to her dad and become an oncology nurse.  Brandy fulfilled not only her promise but dream when she recently accepted a job offer with Pikeville Medical Center as an RN on the oncology floor after passing the NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses).   She believes that without the help of the nursing administration at National, she would have never been able to reach this goal.  Brandy said, “They believed in me and I can’t thank them enough.”

Nursing graduate Brandy McGuire is pictured at the Pikeville Campus.

Tourism and Hospitality Management Degree Evolves

Tourism and Hospitality Management Degree Evolves

To keep up with the increasing demands of the industry, the tourism and hospitality management degree program has been revamped. 

Lew Bishop, program director for tourism and hospitality, said, “Employers with airlines, casinos, restaurants, country clubs, cruise lines, sports and recreational complexes, convention and visitor bureaus – the list goes on – are begging for well-trained men and women in tourism and hospitality management to hire and to promote.”

Lew invited 20 professionals who hold leadership positions in the field to a luncheon at the Roanoke Valley Campus on Tuesday, August 6th.  Several other staff members who are responsible for the program also attended the luncheon that proved to be a brainstorming session with the people who have first-hand knowledge of the field. Lew noted that everyone in the room knew one or more of the people there and remarked that there is more cooperation in the tourism and hospitality industry than in any other. 

Landon Howard, president of the Roanoke Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau, was previously employed in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  He talked about how customer service employees are “the key to giving people a positive experience.”  He also remarked that tourism is a major economic driver. 

Gary Walton, general manager of the Hotel Roanoke, said that they look for employees with the right attitude and personality. 

Todd Stephenson, former general manager of the Salem Red Sox, added that they look for employees with a “positive, upbeat, bubbly attitude.”  He explained that often staff members must work 12-14 hours for several consecutive days and employees with a negative attitude will not last. 

Gail Van Duursen, acting department chair for the program, spoke about the Popular Destinations course which is required.  She said that the class is very “broad based” and that the whole world is condensed into ten weeks.  Gail also noted that students need to have research skills – they need to “know [things] off the top of their head [and] how to make the information available to the customers.”  She teaches this particular course and at the end, asks that students list five things about a state that they did not know. 

Jacqueline Shuck, general manager of the Roanoke Regional Airport, also spoke about the importance of customer service.  She said, “so many people are angry these days, customer service [professionals] need to also have anger management skills.”  She went on to explain that students need to be versed in social media.  They need to learn the importance of having customers not putting their complaints on Facebook because when you do so, you tell the world. 

As a result of the luncheon and many hours of research, new courses that have been added to the program are: Hospitality Accounting; Hospitality Law, Food and Beverage ServSafe© Supervision; Survey of Clubs, Spas, Casinos, and Resorts; and Tourism and Destination Management. 

(A)-Lew Bishop is the program director for the tourism and hospitality management degree.

(B)-Some of the local tourism and hospitality professionals from the Roanoke Valley and ANU staff that took part in a luncheon held at the Roanoke Valley Campus to assist with the improvement of the tourism and hospitality degree program. Front row (l) to (r): Wendy Delano, Salem Civic Center; Jacqueline Shuck, Roanoke Regional Airport; Bridget Moore, ANU; Todd Stephenson, formerly of the Salem Red Sox; Tom Van Duursen; Consultant; Ed Avella, ANU; Back row (l) to (r): Gary Walton, The Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center; Landon Howard, Roanoke Valley Convention and Visitor’s Bureau; Debbie Kavitz, Salem/Roanoke County Chamber of Commerce; Lew Bishop, ANU; Gail Van Duursen, ANU, and Elizabeth Campbell, ANU. 

Graduate is Grateful to National for Her New Career

Graduate is Grateful to National for Her New Career

Before she enrolled at American National University, Patrice Bowman had held just about every type of job imaginable—from nail technician to construction worker —but her love of people drew her to the medical field. She earned her associate’s degree at the Louisville Campus and she now has a new career working as a registered medical assistant at JenCare Medical Center.

“I’m a people person.  In the medical field you’re always hands-on with someone,” said Patrice who conducts electrocardiograms and performs blood draws on the elderly patients that JenCare serves.

Although the thought of drawing blood once made her nervous, the hands-on practice that she received in her classes brought her confidence in her skills.  “Ms. Kiefer was very good about helping me with my blood draws,” she recalled as she explained that director of health care education Bonnie Kiefer often offered her own arm for phlebotomy practice. “She pushed me a lot, and I’m very thankful for her.”

She is also thankful for her job at JenCare which has brought more stability and security to her life. “I have a career now, not just a job, not just a paycheck—something that I look forward to coming to every day,” she said.  “I’m very grateful to National.”

Graduate Patrice Bowman is a registered medical assistant at JenCare Medical Center in Louisville.

Constitution Day at the Lexington Campus

Constitution Day at the Lexington Campus

One of the wonderful things about Constitution Day at the Lexington Campus was the large number of students who already knew what day it was. It was wonderful to see patriotism is still in vogue – and our students are proof that there is no shortage of it on campus.

“This is a great day for celebration for several reasons. It gives us a chance to honor our founding Fathers, the work they put into our country, and the true meaning of our constitution,” commented office technology professional student Linda Perkins. “They established the basis for our laws, but also established the organizational structure for our entire country. This is truly a day for all Americans to be thankful for our wonderful country…”

Office technology professional student Linda Perkins (pictured) sits with boxes of small apple pies that were given to students in honor of Constitution Day. 

HR Professional Shares Invaluable Tips on Interviewing and Résumé Writing

HR Professional Shares Invaluable Tips on Interviewing and Résumé Writing

Brad Logan, who works in human resources for Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas, recently spoke to business students at the Danville Campus (Kentucky) about interviewing skills and résumé writing.

During his presentation, Mr. Logan gave the students pointers on things to do during an interview like making direct eye contact with the employer.   “Graduates should be prepared for interviews by knowing what can be asked and what violates EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) guidelines,” he also advised.

In addition to the interviewing skills, Mr. Logan also discussed résumés with the students.  He told them how important it was to keep it a snapshot of their experience, not their life history.  Résumés should be kept to one page and be easy to read, since job markets are flooded and human resources professionals don’t have time to read pages of information.  Mr. Logan said that employers will obtain what they need when they interview, so he suggested only including pertinent highlights on the résumé.  He also discussed the importance of appropriate dress for job interviews.

Instructor Karen Gordon (far left) and Brad Logan (center) with Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas, are shown addressing business students about interviewing and résumé writing. 

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.