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October 07, 2013

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Positive News Continues for American National University and National College Students

Positive News Continues for American National University and National College Students

With the current economy still challenging for many people, the need for graduates with career focused training and education in America’s workforce continues to be crucial.  It is widely known that investment in one’s education is absolutely worth the financial and time commitment and many students take advantage of student loans to finance their college education.  Through a combination of reasonable tuition costs, financial plans prepared to best utilize the resources available to each student, advice and assistance from our Repayment Success Department both during and after college, and the focused education and training our graduates need to find rewarding careers, National College holds an enviable track record when it comes to the ability of our students and graduates to successfully manage their student loan debt.

Beyond the numbers are the many stories of our students, graduates, and dedicated staff, who tirelessly work to develop financial plans that aid students in responsibly managing and repaying the investments they have made for their education.  This is a testament that many of our hardworking and successful students have seen a positive return on their education.  One of these graduates is LaShanda Leach, who earned a bachelor’s degree  in business administration-management  at the Louisville Campus, then continued on to earn her MBA through National online.  LaShanda said that as a single mom, she utilized student loans but she was counseled by her student services to only borrow the minimum amount of money that she needed to complete her education.  “I think that’s why National College students have one of the best rates of paying back their loans.  I only took out what I needed.  I didn’t max out my loan.  They educated you not to.”

Student Loan Default Rates—2-Year

Nationwide Average 10.0%

American National University 4.9%

National College (KY) 6.1%

National College (TN) 5.3%


One of the primary “yardsticks” used by the U.S. Department of Education to measure the effectiveness of educational institutions in preparing graduates for the workforce is the “Cohort Default Rate (CDR).”  Put simply, this is a measure of how well students are able to pay back their student loans and stay out of default.  In the government’s latest figures, released September 30, the campuses of National College of Kentucky had a 2-year CDR of 6.1 percent and a 3-year CDR of 9.4 percent.  Compared to the  national averages of 10.0 percent for 2-year and 14.7 percent for 3-year CDR’s, and Kentucky’s statewide averages of 12.9 percent and 17.3 percent respectively, National College students have performed far better than their peers at other colleges.

We are reaching the end of our 127th year of successfully providing a quality education that includes career-focused training, skills, and hands-on experience needed for careers in business, health professions, and information technology.  New programs have been added to keep up with the ever-changing career needs in areas such as cybersecurity and information technology.

We sincerely THANK all of our students and graduates who invested in their education and continue their career success.  We know that you are continuing to make positive contributions to our nation’s future. 

Pictured is graduate LaShanda Leach who has earned a bachelor's and master's degree from Natonal College.

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Princeton, WV

Constitution Day Celebration

Constitution Day Celebration

The Princeton Campus recognized Constitution Day on Tuesday, September 17th.  “Our government is not perfect but it was conceived in liberty and deep thoughtfulness,” said guest speaker Steven Ellison.  “Only 39 delegates designed this wonderful republic, and even allowed for changes to be made by adding amendments.  We are certainly blessed to have rights which other governments are currently fighting to achieve.”

Mr. Ellison is an employee of Veteran Affairs and Workforce Development.  He works closely with the campus to ensure that our veterans are able to find jobs when they return home.  His short speech reminded each student, faculty, and staff member who attended that our Constitution is important, and has kept our form of government progressing. 

After his speech, his family also participated by singing, “I’m a Soldier,” which reminded the audience about why our veterans serve our country.

Guest speaker Steven Ellison spoke to students and staff members at the Princeton Campus to recognize Constitution Day.

Lynchburg Campus Launches Ambassador Club

Lynchburg Campus Launches Ambassador Club

The Ambassador Club of the Lynchburg Campus is about mentoring and making connections by matching new students with current students who can guide them through the early days and weeks of campus life.  Many new students may have questions that range from “How do I access my portal or email?” to “Who do I talk to about a tutor?” With the assistance of the volunteers in the Ambassador Club, they have someone to connect with to find quick and easy solutions to their questions.

“If they don’t understand an assignment or need help with resources for a class project,” said student Lekeshia Morris, “they can find an ambassador who can help them find the resources they need.”

Recently, Sue Coleman, director of healthcare education, chaired the first meeting for the Ambassador Club to recruit volunteers from all fields.  Sue will be serving as advisor as the ambassadors assume leadership roles in holding meetings, reviewing and assigning requests, and following up to ensure new students have received the help that they needed.

Pictures of the ambassadors are posted on campus so they can be easily recognized.  The goal is to connect students and to offer encouragement in the early days of their journey toward a solid education and career success. 

Student ambassador Amanda Thomas said, “We want to help other students who may be experiencing some of the problems that we had when we started and didn’t know where or who to go to.”

Pictured (l) to (r) are: Nancy Wilcox, director of admissions, and students Lekeshia Morris and Amanda Thomas who participated in the strategy meeting for the Ambassador Club at the Lynchburg Campus. 

Company Has Been Partner Since 2010

Company Has Been Partner Since 2010

Faneuil [FAN-yuhl], Inc., is a nationally recognized leader in technology-enabled customer service, utilizing in-person and automated service delivery, particularly in complex, highly regulated environments in which precision and mastery of guidelines are of critical importance. Utilizing advanced applications and a team of more than 3,000 service professionals, Faneuil delivers broad customer care support to several diverse industries ranging from utilities, transportation, government services, and healthcare, to technology services, education and financial services, always with the goal of building its clients’ brands by providing exemplary customer service. The company was recognized by the Martinsville Campus as the Distinguished Community Employer for the recent term. 

“Since launching our Martinsville, Virginia operations in 2010, we have benefited from our collaborative relationship with National College in identifying qualified students and graduates to be considered for permanent employment opportunities in our multichannel customer care environment,” said Kathy Johnson, Faneuil Operations Manager.  “We are always looking for hard-working, career-minded people who are appropriately qualified and have a heart for customer service.  National College has been a valued resource to us in that initiative, and we look forward to the continuation of that partnership in the years ahead.”

Pictured (l) to (r):  Dawn Hundley, Human Resources Generalist, Annette Lawson, Career Center Director, and Kathy Johnson, Operations Manager

Medical Office Offers Externship Opportunities and Employment

Medical Office Offers Externship Opportunities and Employment

The Knoxville Campus presented Tennessee River Medicine with the Distinguished Community Employer Award for the summer term.  Within the past several months, the medical office has accepted several medical assisting students for externships and has hired graduates as well.  Tennessee River Medicine offers the students a variety of experiences and the opportunity to work in their multiple prominent locations.  Graduate Anise Banks, who has worked at three of the locations, stated, “I really enjoy Tennessee River and have grown a lot.” Word about Tennessee River’s comprehensive care spread quickly on our campus and students were excited.   India Jackson, who is currently completing her externship there, was so excited that she started going there before her hours would be counted.  “In my short time that I have been there, I have already learned so much,” said India.   “The staff is awesome.  I am treated so well and they are always willing to teach me everything I need or want to know.  I absolutely love it there.  I see so many different kinds of people and personalities and the treatment regimens are expanse.  I know that my experience here will have me very well-prepared to make a smooth transition upon graduation.”

Pictured (l) to (r): administrative assistant Zoey Weaver and medical assistant student India Jackson.

Company Supports South Bend Pharmacy Technician Students

Company Supports South Bend Pharmacy Technician Students

John Herman, South Bend Campus Director, presented the Distinguished Community Employer Award for the summer term to Brian Sizemore, district pharmacy supervisor of the South Bend area Walgreens, and Will Kennedy, district manager. In the past two years, ten American National University pharmacy technician graduates have successfully completed their externships at Walgreens.

“Customer service and compassion are fundamental necessities for building the relationship to connect with the clients.  We have been most pleased with everyone who has completed their pharmacy technician diploma and degree programs at National,” said Mr. Sizemore.  “We look forward to bringing more graduates on board and are recommending for our pharmacy managers to hire them.”

Mr. Sizemore recommended American National University students continue to become better prepared for the workforce by being enthusiastic, energetic, and possessing a positive personality.  We do “Hire for Smile,” commented Mr. Sizemore.

“The attributes that American National University students possess do match well with the Walgreen values of being: ‘caring, compassionate and driven to delivering a great customer and patient experience through outstanding service and a desire for healthy outcomes,’” said Mary Mathews, career center director at the South Bend Campus.   

Brian Sizemore, District Pharmacy Supervisor, Will Kennedy, District Manager, and John Herman, South Bend Campus Director.

Senator Visits Fort Wayne Campus

Senator Visits Fort Wayne Campus

On Thursday, September 26, Senator Dennis Kruse took time to visit the Fort Wayne Campus.  Senator Kruse is the chairperson of the education committee in the state senate.

Senator Kruse took a tour of the campus with campus director Dan Sattison and the career center director, Patricia Knaebe.  He interacted with the staff, faculty, and students.  He engaged the staff with questions about the admissions process, the campus population, and the history of American National University.

Senator Kruse also visited a Written Communications class.  The class enrollment included students from the business, medical, and information technology programs.  While speaking to the class, he mentioned that the State of Indiana is a top state in the nation for allocating a portion of its budget to education.  He stated that 62% of the state’s entire budget is given to education from kindergarten through post-secondary education.  He confirmed that there is funding available to American National University students through the Frank O’Bannon Grant, the State Student Assistance Commission of Indiana (SSACI), and other state grants.  He urged students to speak with student services about participating in these grant opportunities.  While visiting the class he entertained the students, faculty, and staff present with his auctioneering skills.  He drew an enthusiastic round of applause for his example of calling an auction.

Patricia said, “It was a pleasure having Senator Kruse visit the Fort Wayne campus and providing campus staff, faculty, and students with important information about how the State of Indiana supports education.”

(A)-Pictured (l) to (r) are:  Senator Dennis Kruse with campus director, Dan Sattison.

(B)-Senator Dennis Kruse (center) with the Written Communications class.

Campus Observes Constitution Day with Many Activities

Campus Observes Constitution Day with Many Activities

The Charlottesville Campus proudly displayed the colors of red, white and blue in honor of Constitution Day for the week of September 16th, andin commemoration of this historic day, students were encouraged to wear the colors and to join staff and faculty underneath the campus flag for a group photo. 

In order to help the students understand why the Constitution has an entire day dedicated to it, a colorful trifold was created and displayed in the lobby for all who entered the campus to see. The trifold included a history of the life of James Madison, a principal framer of the Constitution. Brochures were also produced that detailed how the Constitution particularly pertains to modern day society.  

Kelly Oehmke, administrative assistant, came up with many great themes and incorporated the term schedule for the entire week into the campus marquee slide show that included a fun Constitution Day fact for every day of the week.  Students were offered the opportunity to find out their “Constitutional IQ” with a short quiz that asked questions that were very specific to major aspects of the constitution. 

The campus concluded the observance with a POW/MIA Remembrance.  This event had a special meaning for students, faculty, staff, campus guests and their family members who are or were service members. 

(A)-Staff and faculty of the Charlottesville Campus pose for a picture under the campus flag as part of the Constitution Day observance.

(B)-Kelly Oehmke explains the trifold display that she created to depict the significance of Constitution Day.

Campus Holds Mock Interviews for Students

Campus Holds Mock Interviews for Students

What began as an atmosphere of tension gradually gave way to feelings of poise and confidence during the first “mock interview” session of 2013 at the Cleveland Campus. The event was due to the collaborative efforts of the campus career center, Student Advisory Council, a professional in financial services, and a blend of faculty and students.

Current student Chaz Henderson, representing the Student Advisory Council, kicked off the event by welcoming the participants and giving a brief overview of the event.  After receiving procedures for the event, students chose a station where an interviewer was waiting.  Among the faculty who were prepared with a list of questions and a corresponding evaluation form, was Tai Jae Jones, the manager of a well-established local bank branch. 

Student Melissa Dixon said the timing of the event was ideal. “I have a real job interview Tuesday,” she said. “So this will help me know what to expect.” She was one of nine students who voluntarily submitted to the interview and feedback process.  Each interview had a prescribed set of questions. Some were general in nature, such as, “What can you tell me about yourself?” Others were much more specific, such as “Can you describe a situation where you had to use leadership or teamwork skills?”  After answering the variety of questions, the students were given feedback regarding the quality and clarity of their responses, non-verbal expressions, posture, and appearance.

Chaz thanked all participants involved by inviting them to a catered lunch that followed the event. The students found the event to be worthwhile and relevant to the overall process of pursuing employment.  Chaz said other events to help prepare students for the business world are already in the planning stages.

(A)-Pharmacy technology student Melissa Dixon is interviewing with Tai Jae Jones a representative from Dollar Bank.

(B)- Campus librarian/instructor, Derek Dixon is interviewing health information student Mary Avery.

DIfference Maker - Peggy Smith - Administrative Assistant

DIfference Maker - Peggy Smith - Administrative Assistant


Peggy Smith—Difference Maker at the Bristol Campus


Administrative Assistant


  • National College of Business & Technology staff member since 2009
  • Recipient of National College Dedicated Service & Contribution Award for 2013
  • Gained 24 years of experience in various levels of the manufacturing industry



  • National graduate with high honors
  • Obtained Laboratory Analyst Certification
  • Held several positions during 24 years at Eastman Chemical Company, including chemical operator, labor coordinator, quality production coordinator, environmental coordinator, and safety coordinator



“I have been able to watch the students’ self-confidence grow. They realize that what they are doing in their life truly matters, and matters in the lives of their families. Many of them are taking pride in themselves for the first time and accomplishing something in their life they may have dreamed of, but never thought possible. For some of them, as it was for me, they are the first generation in their family to be able to attend college. It is a great accomplishment.

“I listen to students and let them know that they are important to us and do my best to provide them with the tools they need to succeed in their education and career development.

“The best thing about being part of the National College faculty & staff is we all work together as a team. Our students feel that they can come to us with their questions and know that we will help them to the best of our abilities. It takes us all to make the campus run effectively for our students and to make sure they get the best education possible.“

PHOTO-Peggy Smith is a Difference Maker at the Bristol Campus.

Florence Campus Connects Students with Employers during Busy Career Fair

Florence Campus Connects Students with Employers during Busy Career Fair

Representatives from nearly 30 employers filled the hallways of the Florence Campus during a career fair that was held on Thursday, September 26th.  Career fairs are held several times a year at every American National University campus to help graduates and students connect with local employers and find jobs in their field.

Ashley Rehg, who just completed the medical assisting program and passed her certification test to become a registered medical assistant, was one of the graduates who participated in the career fair.   She talked with representatives from several medical offices.

Ashley said that she feels that the career fairs are a valuable experience for American National University students and graduates.  “It gives you more opportunities to see companies and get your foot in the door,” explained Ashley, who worked with career center director Karen Sheldon prior to the event to refine her résumé.

Jennifer Madden, human resource generalist with Oncology and Hematology Care (OHC), was one of the employers who talked with Ashley about positions available with her company.  Ms. Madden has participated in several career fairs at the campus and she said that the 17 offices that she represents often have openings for medical assistants.  “It’s a good way to meet people,” she said of the event.  Ms. Madden accepted résumés from those who visited her booth and also encouraged them to apply online.

Jennifer Madden (seated), a human resource generalist with Oncology and Hematology Care, is shown at the Florence Campus career fair talking with Ashley Rehg who recently completed the medical assisting program.



Radio and Television Broadcasting Graduate Begins New Career at LM Communications

Radio and Television Broadcasting Graduate Begins New Career at LM Communications

Kimber Price, who has a passion for broadcasting and music, has aspirations of one day producing music videos and owning a record label.  She recently took the first step in her new career when she was hired after completing an externship at LM Communications Broadcast Media Group where she’ll be working as a soundboard operator.

Kimber, a graduate of the Lexington Campus radio and television broadcasting program, came to American National University after spending one year at a large university.  “The classes were huge, so I couldn’t focus,” she recalled.  She immediately liked the small class size and hands-on learning opportunities that she found at National, so she enrolled during her first visit to the campus and started classes a few weeks later.

Kimber was placed in an externship with LM Communications during the last term of her program.  The externship gave her the opportunity to shadow the professionals at the station and to put her own skills to use in a variety of areas, such as editing and producing commercials and tags for B92-FM, a classic hits station.

She feels lucky to have been given the opportunity to extern at LM Communications, and she is excited to have already found employment in her field several weeks before completing her program.   She urges others who are considering returning to school to “go for it.”  “It gave me a head start for life,” she said of her education at National.  “I’m really excited to go out and experience some new things.”

Kimber Price, a graduate of the radio and television broadcasting program at the Lexington Campus, is working at LM Communications Broadcast Media Group after completing an externship with the company.

Physician Recognized for Hiring National College Graduates

Physician Recognized for Hiring National College Graduates

The Richmond Campus recently recognized Dr. John P. Gillespie as the Distinguished Community Employer because of his long term employment of several American National University graduates.  Dr. Gillespie specializes in geriatric care and has more than 29 years of experience and five hospital affiliations. In 2012, Dr. Gillespie was awarded both the Patients’ Choice Award and the Compassionate Doctor Recognition award. His small office of four employees currently includes two American National University graduates and he said, “Half of my employees are American National University graduates! So, obviously their education is an asset to my practice!”

On Thursday, September 26th, campus director Keeley Gadd and career center director Elizabeth Walker presented Dr. Gillespie with a beautiful plaque in recognition of his support to not only American National University graduates but the Richmond, Kentucky community. The high spirited office environment was an indicator of the cohesiveness of the physician and his staff. When asked if the National graduates were prepared for their positions, Dr. Gillespie said, “better prepared than I was,” and complemented them on being eager and ready to work in the medical field.

Dr. Gillespie said that working the complex field of geriatrics requires a particular personality with thick skin and a kind bedside manner.  He added that if he ever needed more employees that National would be his first call.

Pictured (l) to (r) are: Keeley Gadd (campus director), Marsha Lawson (American National University graduate), Paula Pingleton (NC graduate), Dr. Gillespie, Beverly Shearer, Polly Ramey (NC graduate), and Diane Clontz.

Graduate Has a Passion for Caring For the Elderly

Graduate Has a Passion for Caring For the Elderly

Kelli Greene, a graduate of the Danville Campus (Kentucky), has turned her passion for helping the elderly into a career.  After caring for several elderly family members who were ill, Kelli enrolled in the medical assisting and medical billing and coding programs at American National University to get the training that she needed for a career in healthcare, and she is now working as a caregiver at Parkview Manor Assisted Living Community.

While she was nervous about returning to school when she first came to National, her instructors were always willing to assist her.  “It wasn’t as hard as I thought [it would be],” said Kelli, who advises students to “study, do the homework and show up for class” to be successful in their programs.

Kelli was placed in an externship at The Sleep Center as part of her medical assisting program.  During the externship, her skills from her classes were put to use as she worked side-by-side with the medical professionals in the clinic. 

She feels that the in-field experience that she gained during the externship, combined with the hands-on training that she received in her classes at National, have prepared her well for her new career caring for the elderly residents of the community who are like a second family to her.  Kelli said, “I’ve always wanted to come into the medical field and they helped me get there.”

Graduate Kelli Greene is employed as a caregiver at an assisted living community.


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.