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September 30, 2013

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Graduate's Life Changed in Eighteen Short Months

Graduate's Life Changed in Eighteen Short Months

In only eighteen months, Tammy Cannaday earned a new degree at the Martinsville Campus that would change her life. She was working as a customer service representative at the Stanley Furniture Company in 2011 when a lay off forced her to re-evaluate her career choice.

With help from the Trade Adjustment Act, which provides tuition assistance to people who lose their jobs as a result of increased imports, Tammy enrolled in the medical assisting associate’s degree program at the Martinsville Campus in October, 2011. She had previously studied business at other colleges, but medical issues for her and her family had given her a new interest in the health care field.

She was inspired to attend ANU because she had friends who graduated from the campus and had only good things to say about their experience. She also liked that she didn’t have to wait long to start taking classes with National’s multiple term starts.

Several of the credits Tammy earned from a previous college transferred to the medical assisting program which gave her a good jump start. She said that while she put a lot of hard work into her education, it paid off when she graduated this April with a 3.9 GPA and a new job in less than two years after becoming unemployed.

Tammy is now working as a medical assistant for Dr. Jon’s Urgent Care which is also where she completed her externship. She said, “I fell in love with this field,” when she was getting experience in the office as an extern taking vital signs, writing up patients’ medical histories, and performing venipunctures and EKG exams.

New to her career, Tammy is enjoying every minute of it. “This is the first time in my life where I actually have not dreaded a Sunday night saying, ‘I don’t want to get up and go to work the next morning.’”

She is thankful to her instructors, especially director of health care education Gary Jenkins, and Glenda Jenkins who pushed her to understand the course work. She may consider going back to school at some point to pursue a nursing degree but for now, she is glad to have a stable job in the health care field that allows her to do what she loves.

(A) Medical assisting graduate Tammy Cannaday

(B) Graduate Tammy Cannaday works as a medical assistant for Dr. Jon’s Urgent Care in Martinsville

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Vietnamese Journalist and Writer Visits Campus

Vietnamese Journalist and Writer Visits Campus

Vu Gia, a well- known journalist and writer in Vietnam, visited the Roanoke Valley Campus recently along with Dr. John Muoi, English Language Institute Program Director of the Tysons Corner Campus. This was Mr. Gia’s first trip to the United States.  Mr. Gia spent more than 20 years of his career at a news agency, has made several films, and is a playwright.  He has also written more than 27 books and 14 research works.  His most popular book is an instruction manual on how to write a dissertation. 

Mr. Gia wrote a story for the Journal of the Department of Education in Vietnam that was published the same week that he visited Roanoke. In his article, Mr. Gia was very impressed by the variety of programs offered by American National University; particularly the English as a Second Language (ESL) and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) programs.  He also mentioned that just as the President of Vietnam, Truong Tan Sang, and President Obama recently signed cooperation agreements, President Longaker and the vice president of Dong A University, Tran Thi Hong also signed agreements that the universities will collaborate.  Mr. Gia has a lot of influence in Vietnam and he made it very clear that he would like to for Vietnam and ANU to cooperate to train ESL teachers. 

Mr. Gia enjoyed visiting the classroom labs for pharmacy technology and information technology.  He said, “I also learned about accounting.”  Regarding the jobs that were introduced to him, he said, “I see that the tourism and hospitality profession is quite interesting.  Upon graduation, students will master [customer service], the tourism industry, hotel management, food, drinks, conference activities, [and] tour operators.”

At the conclusion of his meetings with university officials, Mr. Gia presented President Longaker with one of his books. “This is the best gift that you could have given me,” replied President Longaker, who then presented him with several gifts bearing the school logo.

Mr. Gia summed up his visit: “Through…job skills training, I see that earning skills for a job is of the same importance in every country – ‘One good job would make you rich’”.  

(A)-Mr. Vu Gia, a Vietnamese journalist and writer, presents Mr. Longaker with one of his books. 

(B)-Dr. Muoi, Mr. Vu Gia, President Longaker, and Dr. Eric Rothgery discuss the ESL program at ANU and English teaching in Vietnam.  

Nationwide Insurance is a Long-time Supporter of National Students & Graduates

Nationwide Insurance is a Long-time Supporter of National Students & Graduates

On Thursday, September 26th, students, faculty, and staff filled the student center at the Lynchburg Campus to see the Distinguished Community Employer award be presented to Nationwide Insurance. The award was accepted by Paul Kopack, human resources specialist at the local Lynchburg call center, and Andrea Hardeman, talent acquisition manager from the company’s headquarters in San Antonio, Texas. Mike Lewis, director of sales for the Lynchburg Regional Chamber of Commerce, was also present to help present the much-deserved plaque to Nationwide.

Nationwide was chosen because of their decades-long commitment to hiring the college’s graduates. “We want to acknowledge Nationwide in its contribution to the success of National Business College, National College, and now American National University,” said Bill Baker, Lynchburg campus director. “What better partner than Nationwide to understand for close to 30 years, the mission of our university—to educate and train.”

Ms. Hardeman was thrilled to come into town and accept the plaque on behalf of Nationwide. “Partnerships are important, and having partnerships with colleges and universities is the key to success,” she said. “To be part of the preparation and molding of young minds as they pursue their career goals is a passion of mine, and I’m blessed to be part of an organization that shares that passion as well.”

Following the plaque presentation, Ms. Hardeman and Mr. Kopack spoke with students about the hiring process at Nationwide. They provided helpful tips, such as how to create a functional résumé and how to answer the tough interview questions. They also spoke on job opportunities available at the Lynchburg center, as well as throughout the country.

Kim McCoy, a student in the business administration diploma program, enjoyed Nationwide’s presentation and found the information to be motivational. “This is the kind of place I want to work, a place where I can grow, learn, build,” she said. “I could see myself getting where Ms. Hardeman is-- to be very professional and to love what I do.”

Paul Kopack (human resources specialist for Nationwide in Lynchburg), Nancy Wilcox (director of admissions  at ANU Lynchburg Campus), Andrea Hardeman (talent acquisition manager for Nationwide, based out of San Antonio, TX), Michelle Andrews (career center director at ANU Lynchburg Campus), Mike Lewis (director of sales for Lynchburg Regional Chamber of Commerce)



Campus Celebrates Constitution Day

Campus Celebrates Constitution Day

The Indianapolis Campus celebrated Constitution Day on Tuesday, September 17th with games, food, and a discussion to promote a better understanding of this important historical document. Each student received a pocket-sized copy of the Constitution and campus director and Navy veteran Jim Abraham spoke with students about the importance of the Constitution and knowing their rights.  “Every vote counts. With this right, comes the responsibility to educate yourself on the issues and where the politicians stand on those issues,” commented Jim. He also spoke about instances in history where our choices as a nation have affected us, in order to help the students comprehend the value of how our decisions can affect our future. “It wasn’t our business what Hitler did in Europe. What the Japanese did in Asia. Or so they thought,” said Jim.  “Four years later, on December 7th 1941, we found out how quickly we were wrong. Our Constitution and way of life was attacked!”

Campus director and Navy veteran Jim Abraham addresses students regarding Constitution Day.

Students and Instructors Go Above and Beyond

Students and Instructors Go Above and Beyond

The Bristol Campus has many dedicated instructors that inspire their students.  Jonathan Worley’s Introduction to Business class recently studied business concepts and how to develop a business plan. He asked his class to create a charter for a local organization along with a business plan as a class assignment.  David Roach decided to choose National College as his business.  David created a mascot for National College called Nattie the Gnat, a whimsical, studious character who carried a book and wore the college’s distinctive purple.  Jonathan said, “What I found out about David is he doesn’t set limitations [for himself].”  Jonathan’s class is very interactive and students even stay in the classroom during breaks to discuss topics.  David said, “I am always striving to do my best and doing my best is going over and beyond.”

Sheri Jessee, director of healthcare education, is another National College instructor that inspires her students.  Her Medical Terminology class had a guest speaker who talked about organ donation to coincide with their study of human tissues.  Student Jim Bare became a donor himself at age 18, after hearing about organ donation and the importance to people needing organs. He spoke to the class on behalf of the Organ Procurement Organization (OPO) and provided instructions on how to become a registered donor.  Jim is a wonderful advocate for organ donation because he has had family members that have passed away while being on waiting lists for donations.  Jim said, “Organ donation is the most important gift you can give.”  As a result, four students have signed up to be donors since he began speaking for the OPO. 

Jim and David are prime examples of students taking an assignment and going above and beyond.

(A)-Student David Roach with his rendering of “Nattie the Gnat”, an idea for a school mascot.

(B)-Student Jim Bare addresses students regarding the importance of organ donation.

Community Activist Speaks at Constitution Day Celebrations

Community Activist Speaks at Constitution Day Celebrations

On Tuesday September 18th, State Representative Gloria Johnson came to the Knoxville Campus to talk with our students as part of the Constitution Day observance. Rep. Johnson graduated from Farragut High School and earned her degree in education locally from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. She has worked for 24 years as a Knox County Schools special education teacher. The majority of those years have been in schools in State House District 13 of Knoxville. Gloria first ran for political office in 2009 and is still serving her constituents. She is dedicated to making sure that working families, seniors, teachers, children, and all Tennesseans have a voice.

Rep. Johnson talked with the students about the importance of education, encouraged them to be good citizens, exercise their right to vote and get involved politically.

“I was so impressed that she was a teacher and ran for office on her salary,” commented student Marie Blair, who spoke with Rep. Johnson afterwards.  “She gave me inspiration and direction to become more involved in my community and little did I know that she is in my district.”

Gloria Johnson addresses students about the importance of education and politics.

Former Factory Worker Is Hired As a Pharmacy Technician during Her Externship

Former Factory Worker Is Hired As a Pharmacy Technician during Her Externship

When Rena Livingston was laid off from her job in a factory, she came to the Danville Campus (Kentucky) to help her get started on a new career path. “I decided that I didn’t want to ever return back to a factory again, so I wanted to get some type of job training that I could use anywhere,” recalled Rena.   She enrolled in the pharmacy technician program at the Danville, Kentucky Campus, and just a little over a year later she is working in the Walgreens pharmacy in Nicholasville, Kentucky where she was hired during her externship.

“When I first started off, I thought that it was going to be very overwhelming learning something new, coming from a factory,” said Rena.  “This is a little different, but it’s still customer-service oriented, and the things that I learned in the factory have helped me to stay on top of things and get things done,” she said of her job, where she works side-by-side with the pharmacist to quickly and accurately provide customers with their medications.

Joe Moore, pharmacy manager at Walgreens, has worked with several externs in the pharmacy, and he feels that externships are beneficial to both the student and the pharmacist, who can use the “extra set of hands” that an extern provides.   He said that he was pleased with Rena’s work during her externship, which led him to offer her a job.  “Rena’s been a very good student.  She’s got a good attitude and she seems to like what she does,” he said.

Rena loves her new career working in the pharmacy and she likes that the service that she provides helps keep others healthy.  “It’s given me a new outlook on life,” she said of her new career.  “[When] one door closes, another one will open for you.  You’ve just got to keep your head up and keep working.”

Former factory worker Rena Livingston was hired as a pharmacy technician during her externship in the pharmacy at Walgreens.



Six Graduates Become Nurses

Six Graduates Become Nurses

The Nightingale pledge was given by the nursing graduates for the summer term of the Pikeville Campus on Saturday, September 14th.

I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug. I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession, and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling. With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.

The six students completed this rite of passage for nurses once they completed the rigorous coursework and final exam. “Nursing school was the hardest, most stressful two years of my life…nursing requires dedication more than any other program,” commented graduate Tara Case.  “Sometimes you have to push everything aside to focus on school. Everyone in my class had problems at home, worked full time, or had children. It wasn't easy by [any] means.”  Tara also talked about the experience in nursing school and how they were like a big family.  She said “I am so proud of all of us. We came together as a family and supported each other. I was blessed to be pinned with such a great group of nurses. It really is worth it in the end.” 

Graduates of the Pikeville Campus who formally became nurses are (front row, left to right): Jessica Pinion, Brandy McGuire, Christen Coleman, and Rebecca Fuller.  (Back row, left to right): Tara Case and Ryan Dotson.   

Difference Maker - Gina Guthrie - Night Receptionist

Difference Maker - Gina Guthrie - Night Receptionist


Gina Guthrie—Difference Maker at the Louisville Campus



Night receptionist



American National University staff member for more than nine years



“I make a difference in students’ lives by providing a friendly face and useful information. As the receptionist, I deliver messages to teachers, escort visitors and guests, monitor classroom hours and make attendance calls; Students are comfortable asking me about bookstore and library hours or the location of a class. Sometimes they just need a friendly face to reassure them that they are capable of handling whatever challenge may lie ahead of them. Making the front desk run smoothly benefits the whole campus.

“I admire the commitment and dedication the students have toward obtaining their degrees. Sometimes students must delay their education due to illness, family, or other reasons. It is rewarding to see them come back and continue their education until they graduate.

“The biggest transformation I have seen has been how nervous the students are when they begin taking classes [compared] to how confident they are when they have completed their program of study. Many of our students have been out of school for several years and are apprehensive about going to college. They develop real self-respect and pride as they realize they have the ability to do the work. I enjoy seeing them accomplish their goals.”

Difference Maker Gina Guthrie is pictured at her desk at the Louisville Campus.

Campus Hosts U.S. Army Field Medical Unit

Campus Hosts U.S. Army Field Medical Unit

The Lexington Campus students, staff, and faculty were mesmerized with our recent community event which focused on the medical segment of our armed forces.  Surgical technology director, Regina Damron, a sergeant in the U. S. Army, accompanied by her husband, Major Shawn Shumard, actually set up a complete ‘field-ops’ medical triage/surgery station on campus. They demonstrated how our U.S. Army medical teams treat trauma and surgical cases in minimalist facilities – and do it well. Just because they don’t always have access to a ‘brick and mortar’ hospital facility doesn’t mean those in need of care receive anything less than state-of-the-art treatment – including full surgical facilities. “Patient survival requires the same high-level of care and sterility that is found in a ‘normal’ hospital setting,” stated Regina.

Regina and Shawn brought a full array of medical and surgical instrumentation, medical supplies, and emergency equipment for their display. They also shared their videos showing actual medical and surgical teams as they performed their duties ‘in-field’.  “Survival rates are the goal – and top-notch teams and facilities are at a level with the best trauma centers in the nation – so we can assist those who continue to serve our country.” stated Shawn. 

Surgical technology director, Sergeant Regina Damron, and her husband, Major Shawn Shumard, simulate a field medical unit at the Lexington Campus.

Students Learn the Importance of Constitution Day

Students Learn the Importance of Constitution Day

The Florence Campus of observed Constitution Day this year with presentations by adjunct faculty member, David White; and Jason Stewart, admissions representative, American National University graduate, and veteran. David spoke about the history of the Constitution including the Articles of Confederation, The Federalist Papers, and the ratification process. He concluded his presentation by focusing on voting rights and the amendments to the Constitution that pertain to every American’s right to exercise their vote. Jason discussed what the Constitution means to him as a veteran. He spoke about the role of the military in defending the rights protected by the Constitution. Jason asked each member of the audience who has served or who is currently serving to stand and be recognized for their commitment to defending our freedoms.

Medical assisting student, Anissa Hersi, who recently became an American citizen, said, “I am very proud of Jason and the brave men and women who served with him.” Accounting student, Fatou Thomas, who is from the country of Senegal, stated that “It was a good experience for me to hear Mr. White and Jason Stewart speak about the Constitution as the supreme law of the nation. As an active member of the women’s emancipation movement in my country, I learned a lot about the struggle for equal rights.”

Students and faculty who participated in the Constitution Day Celebration were (l) to (r):  Anissa Hersi, Fatou Thomas, Cheryl Heer (librarian and instructor), Steve Sally, Jason Stewart (admissions representative), and David White (instructor).

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.