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November 04, 2013

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Graduate Excels In The Medical Field

Graduate Excels In The Medical Field

JaJuan Thomas had worked as a direct care aide for about four years and admits that he was “struggling” in his professional life.  His mother and aunt were certified nurse’s aides, his grandmother was a registered nurse, and he knew he wanted to be a medical professional. When he started looking into colleges, he knew he wanted small class sizes that would offer one-on-one training.   He wanted to complete a program and quickly transition into his career.  He chose the Lynchburg Campus.

“I decided on medical assisting,” said JaJuan. “I decided that American National University would offer me the opportunity to focus on my education and training.  I used everything I learned in the classroom at my externship and at my new job.”  During his externship, he achieved additional certifications and excellent reference letters for his hard work and dedication.

“My instructors helped me focus on my education and I learned more than the skills it takes to be a good medical assistant,” said JaJuan. “I learned leadership skills from Mrs. Wright.  She put me in charge of projects and this me gave me confidence in myself. I went on three interviews before I graduated, landed a medical assisting job at Dermatology Consultants Inc., and started my new career one week before I graduated in May.”

For the first few weeks, he admits he was challenged by the demands of answering phones, paperwork, and multi-tasking for four physicians. Soon he was assigning patients to rooms, taking their medical histories and assisting the doctors.  His calm demeanor and professionalism made him a favorite of the staff and patients.  The doctors have promoted JaJuan to handle the Scribe responsibilities where he assists the doctors and physician assistants with electronic medical records and charts all the information including prescriptions.  For this position he has to pay attention, stay focused, and be knowledgeable in all areas of treatment and medication.

“My advice is to find a career you love, find a college like I did at American National University, and learn everything you can from your teaching professionals,” said JaJuan.

JaJuan plans to advance in his career to become a physician assistant and with the backing and support of his employer, he will be ready to start the next phase of his life.  When he stopped by the campus recently to share his good news, campus director Bill Baker said, “We are proud of JaJuan for what he has achieved and for what he will achieve.”

Graduate JaJuan Thomas with campus director Bill Baker.

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Campus Combines Health & Career Fair

Campus Combines Health & Career Fair

On Thursday, October 24th, the Richmond Campus hosted a combined Health & Career Fair for the students and the Madison County community. With a total of ten vendors including It Works! Global, Baptist Health, Jenny Craig, CSL Plasma, and the KY Career Center, the event was an informative networking opportunity for all who attended.

Upon entering the combined fair, attendees had the option to stop at the “Vitals Station” where medical assisting students administered height, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar checks. Health care director Paula Beth Ciolek said, “The opportunity for the medical assisting students to demonstrate their professionalism and skills during a health fair can easily be the difference in an employer offering them a position in their field of study.”

The fair also offered a unique option for management students interested in owning their own business in the future; or those who consider themselves to be inventors. Representatives from the Small Business Development Center and the Innovation and Communication Center spoke to attendees about entrepreneur opportunities in the areas and innovative ideas or inventions that could possibly be marketed. The combined Health & Career Fair was a success for the campus and allowed them to showcase their medical assistants and provided creative opportunities for future business owners. 

(A)-Medical assisting students Elizabeth McIntosh and Ashleigh Pugh await participants in the health fair to check their height, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar.

(B)-Allie Sepp with It Works! Global speaks with a health fair attendee.


National College Essay Contest Winners Announced

National College Essay Contest Winners Announced

Congratulations to Monique Lewis, a student from the Louisville Campus, who was the Grand Prize Winner of the American National University Essay Contest.   The theme of the essay contest was “How Has My American National University Education Helped Me?”  Monique’s essay, titled “My Education,” stated:

Since I have been a student at American National University, I have learned so many things.
You wouldn't believe all the information you are taught in a matter of 10 weeks
for class. Since enrolling in my program, I have learned how to administer medications
properly to adults and children. I have learned about the anatomy of the body and all
about the systems. I feel I am well educated in the departments of my career fields.
American National University is not only my ticket for success, but for my family as well. I have
dreams that with the education I receive at American National University will help me get that
dream job that I am pressing forward to achieve. I am in my 4th term and I feel like
I am successful already in such short time being there with the great instructors and opportunities that they have available for you as a student. If you are focused and
determined then American National University education will help you further your education
no matter what it may be. They are a nice friendly school and they love to help folks
who help themselves.

Chereka Fox, a student from the South Bend Campus, received the People’s Choice award for her essay, and Beverly LeMaster, a student from the Richmond Campus, received an Honorable Mention.  You can read all of the essay contest entries by clicking on the “Essay Contest” tab on the American National University Facebook page.

Louisville Campus administrative assistant Teri Boydston (l) and admissions director Virgie Douglas (r) are shown presenting a $100 gift card to Monique Lewis (center) whose essay was selected as the winner of the American National University Essay Contest. 

Workshops Prepares Students for Career Fair

Workshops Prepares Students for Career Fair

In preparation for the 2013 Fall Career Fair, the students at the Pikeville Campus participated in a three part series of workshops dedicated to résumés, professionalism and mock interviews.  In the first of the series, career center director, Tiffani Ballard, presented students with ideas on how to get their résumés noticed and key action verbs.  During the workshop students prepared their résumé for the upcoming event.  

In the course of the second part, students were taught professionalism and dressing for success.  The students were given advice on the do’s and don’ts of dressing professionally and how important first impressions are.  Student Clinton Stump said, “Once someone makes that first impression, you can never get a chance to change it.”  Tiffani reminded the students that proper grooming, showering and dressing are important regarding this impression.  She also told students it’s the small things like handshakes, smiles and eye contact that are crucial to first impressions as well.

Career center director Tiffani Ballard presented students with ideas on how to get their résumés noticed.

Relationship with Nursing and Rehabilitation Center Is Mutually Beneficial

Relationship with Nursing and Rehabilitation Center Is Mutually Beneficial

The Fort Wayne Campus recently presented Summit City Nursing and Rehabilitation with the Distinguished Community Employer award for the quarter.  Summit City Nursing and Rehabilitation is a relatively new partner of American National University.  The company utilizes externs from the medical billing and coding program. 

Donna Knepper, the office manager for Summit City Nursing and Rehabilitation, said, “I like American National University’s program design.  I particularly like the evaluation and reporting processes.  I am eager to continue to be part of the program.”  Ms. Knepper added, “Our extern, Clydie Brown, was nice, polite, and always greeted people.  We utilized her for a lot of things: front desk, medical records, and filing.”  During Clydie’s externship, she shadowed Donna. “She exhibited a willingness to learn while displaying efforts that consistently went above and beyond expectations,” said Ms. Knepper. 

The Fort Wayne Campus appreciates the partnership with Summit City Nursing and Rehabilitation and looks forward to continuing the mutually beneficial association.

Summit City Nursing received the Distinguished Community Employer Award for the term.  Pictured are employees of Summit City Nursing (Heather Deckard and Donna Knepper), with Dan Sattison, campus director, in the middle.  

Guest Speakers Provide Career Advice

Guest Speakers Provide Career Advice

The Roanoke Valley Campus and Express Employment Professionals hosted the Salem/Roanoke County Chamber of Commerce meeting at ANU in Roanoke on Tuesday, October 22nd.  Attendees included many professionals in the field of education including high school guidance counselors.

Student Veronica Penro also attended the meeting and joined Tracy Wood, branch manager of Express Employment Professionals, and Wendell Walker, apprenticeship representative with the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Department of Labor and Industry, as a panelist to answer questions from the attendees.  Veronica is from Chicago, Illinois and has been enrolled in the paralegal program for almost two years.  In addition to being a federal work study, she is interning 18 hours per week for Gentry, Locke, Rakes and Moore, a prominent law firm located in downtown Roanoke.  She said that she even has her own office with her name on the door.   She is getting to summarize cases, work on medical cases, is going to court soon, and is being offered computer training and the opportunity to become a notary public.  Her ultimate career goal is to be an attorney and then she would eventually like to have her own radio program.

Veronica said, “National is one hundred percent [about] students.”  She added that the college provides students with real life skills along with the education that they need. 

Ms. Wood said that students need to be taught how to network and communicate with others as that is something that is now lost due to the increase in technology.  She further demonstrated this by speaking of applicants at her employment agency who literally answer a text or phone call during a job interview and see nothing wrong with doing so. 

“Fifty percent of what companies are looking for is ‘soft skills’”, said Ms. Wood.   In addition to skill sets, employers want to know if the employee will be able to handle herself/himself at work.  Will they show up for work on time every day?  Will they be able to get along with their co-workers?

Companies today are looking for candidates that they can make an investment in because turnover is costly, explained Ms. Wood.   She added that applicants need to be interested in the goals of the company and said that if a young applicant ,  asks open ended questions during an interview that it would be most impressive to the interviewer.  An example of this would be to ask about what a typical day at the company includes. 

Young applicants need to not discard any experience that they have received, explained Ms. Wood.  Such as, perhaps they answered the phone for their mother or dad’s company during the summer.  This needs to be included on résumés or mentioned during job interviews. 

Ms. Wood also said, “Finding [a student’s] passion is crucial.” She said, “Maybe they like to sit behind a desk and talk on the phone all day, or maybe they want to work with their hands.”

(A) Campus director Ron Bradbury welcomes everyone to the Salem/Roanoke County Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting.

(B)-Tracy Wood of Express Employment Professionals, student Veronica Penro, and Wendell Walker, apprenticeship representative with the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Department of Labor and Industry served as panelists for a chamber of commerce meeting that took place at the Roanoke Campus.

Students Receive their First Hospital Orientation

Students Receive their First Hospital Orientation

Students that enter the surgical technology program always look forward to becoming a part of an operating room staff.  Upon entering the hospitals in the Danville area, students are required to attend an orientation.  As the surgical technology students of the Danville Campus completed their orientation at Danville Regional Medical Center, it became obvious to them how close they are to reaching their goals.  During the walk-through portion of the orientation, the students had their first look at what a real operating room looks like.  The students admitted that they were nervous and their palms were sweaty, but each left with the excitement of what is to come for them in their journey through the surgical technology program.

“On my first day of clinical, I was nervous going in and didn’t know if I could go through with it,” said student Lakesha Hughes. “After going into the operating room, the staff made me feel very comfortable and helped me better understand the operating room suites.  It was a wonderful experience, and I can’t wait to finish the program to obtain a job in surgical technology.”

Pictured is Lakesha Hughes (surgical technology student).


Student Ken Hayes Earns Special Recognition in Wake of Washington Navy Yard Shootings

Student Ken Hayes Earns Special Recognition in Wake of Washington Navy Yard Shootings

Ken Hayes is both an Information Systems Engineering (ISE) student at the Bristol Campus and is an information technology employee of CGI Federal.  Ken lives in Gray, Tennessee and commutes to the local CGI Federal office in Lebanon, Virginia.  In the wake of the recent Washington Navy Yard shootings tragedy, Mr. Hayes earned very special recognition from his employer.

 “The Washington Navy Yard shootings left our customers without desks or computers to return to while the police investigation continues…” reads an email originating from Kerri Engley, Director of CGI Federal.  In the email, New Jersey Avenue CGI Federal office and their government customers expressed their appreciation to the CGI Federal IT staff.  The email state: “At our customer’s request we contacted the Helpdesk to see if it was possible to configure 10 laptops for guest use while New Jersey Avenue organized cubicle spaces.  Within five hours of the initial request, most of the guest laptops were delivered and by the next business morning we received the remainder.  This was an outstanding team effort from IT to assist customers who have been traumatized and are in need of basic office items just to function in their positions.”

The email continued to specifically thank National College student Ken Hayes from Information Systems-Incident Command “for organizing the appropriate teams and contacting us within two minutes of the Helpdesk request to let us know it was being worked.”  Lisa Black, vice president of CGI Federal also commented via email, “The combined effort really reflects a great team effort not only internal within IT but also in support of the company as a whole.”

Ken began pursuing his degree at National College in July of 2011. “The ISE program was brand new, I had been doing that kind of work for about five years and I thought I knew computers until I met [instructors] Mr. Anthony, Mr. Evernden and Mr. Giffin,” says Ken.   Ken will graduate next spring.  After that, he is considering pursuing a Cybersecurity bachelor’s degree from National.  When asked why he chose to attend college, Ken said that he was struck with a series of personal tragedies in less than 40 days which included being laid off from a job he thought he would have until he retired, the deaths of two family members as well as his mentor. 

“As I was digesting this news and deciding what my next move would be, I was driving on 11W and saw the National College sign, turned up the hill saw the business & technology sign, walked in and the ISE program was just starting. I read about the program and signed up. I had done the job for five years and that was going nowhere. With a degree and certifications I would be creditable and I could work on networking with peers in my industry.”

Besides possibly pursuing another degree, Ken’s future goals include excelling at his current job. “I literally take what I learn in class from my instructors’ experience and apply it immediately and it shows in my work,” said Ken.  “I give it 120% or at least I try.  It is challenging to say the least and the school work is demanding but I knew this going in.” 

Ken also wants his nephews to attend and succeed in college. “My biggest short term goal is to get my nephews through college and not only do I preach it-- I live it,” he says. “They know that I do not ask them to do anything I would not do not myself.  You still have to do the work.” 

Ken Hayes, student and CGI Federal employee.

Columbus Student Chosen For Scholarship

Columbus Student Chosen For Scholarship

Irene Cruz, a medical office specialist graduate and current medical assisting student at the Columbus Campus, recently applied for a scholarship through the Ohio Association of Career Colleges and Schools.  In addition to the application paperwork, she was required to have letters of recommendation from faculty and staff at the campus.  Wesley Smith, campus director and healthcare director, Beth Laurenz both wrote letters for Irene.

Irene submitted her application paperwork and went about her daily routine for the next several weeks.  In a recent email to the campus, it was learned that she was selected as one of the 31 scholarship recipients out of 104 applicants.  It was an incredibly touching and appreciative moment for Irene.  Everyone on campus was thrilled for her.  Since that time, Irene has received a commending and congratulatory letter from Ohio State Senators Kris Jordan and Keith Faber. 

“I was drawn to American National University.  I was literally driving down the street and it was like my car was turning into the lot on its own,” said Irene.  “I walked in and met some really wonderful people and enrolled right away.  I chose American National University - Columbus because it is a good school with good staff and faculty who show their kindness and support for you every day.  Their regular enthusiasm and encouragement are helping me to reach my goals.  In addition, having been born and raised on a Naval Base in Norfolk, VA, I really appreciate National’s support of the military.  I really feel at home here.”

Irene will graduate next year with her medical assisting associate’s degree and plans to go on to get her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing at some point in the future.  She hopes to work in a major hospital as an emergency room nurse.

Medical assisting student Irene Cruz is pictured.


Judith Joyce Bergloff-Obituary

Judith Joyce Bergloff, a recent graduate of the Roanoke Valley Campus, passed away at her home on Wednesday, October 16th, 2013.  She was born on August 18, 1956.  Judy graduated from Cave Spring High School in 1974 and served for four years in the U.S. Coast Guard.  She completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Information Systems Engineering at ANU after receiving a degree in civil engineering from the University of Central Florida. 

Judy enjoyed hunting, hiking, karate, and NASCAR.  She volunteered for Hunters for the Hungry and the National Wild Turkey Federation.  She was an instructor for the Virginia Hunters Education Program and the Girl Scouts.  She was a life-long donor and supporter of the American Red Cross. 

Judy is survived by her brothers, Guy Bergloff and wife Cheryl, of Moneta, and James Bergloff (her twin) and wife Susan of Columbia, South Carolina; sisters: Pam Overstreet and husband Charles of Salem, Penny Dupre and husband Jeff of New Smyrna Beach, Florida, and Debbie Camden and husband Bob of Goodview.  She also leaves behind many nieces and nephews who lovingly referred to her as “Auntie Fun,” and her beloved dog, Jack. 


Difference Maker - Administrative Assistant - Fern Robertson

Difference Maker - Administrative Assistant -  Fern Robertson


Fern Robertson—Difference Maker at the Roanoke Valley Campus


Administrative Assistant


  • American National University staff member for the past 24 years
  • Has gained more than 50 years of secretarial experience for various business owners, including a real estate agent and a building contractor


  • Is actively involved in community organizations, such as local theatre, where she helps organize the box office and coordinate volunteers, as well as her church, where she is involved in the music program and worship committee; she also serves as an election official
  • Recently received the Community Builders Award from the Virginia Masons in recognition of her contributions to the community


“I’ve learned a lot in my 24 years at American National University. I have been able to expand my knowledge in many ways and am glad that I have been able to be a part of the growth of the college. There were only 7 campuses when I started here in 1989, and now we’re up to 31 locations. It’s overwhelming to think about how much the school has grown.

“I was surprised to receive the Community Builders Award, but I have the joy of knowing that I have made a difference in the community. I enjoy community work because I am a people-person and am always ready to lend a hand in whatever needs to be done.”

Fern Roberton is a Difference Maker at the Roanoke Valley Campus. 

Graduate Begins Second Career at the Age of 61

Graduate Begins Second Career at the Age of 61

When Pamela Schulze recently completed her business administration-accounting bachelor’s degree program at the Lexington Campus, she was ready to return to the workforce, but she was worried that she would have trouble finding a job at the age of 61.  Her concerns were alleviated when career center director, Cheryl Howell set up an interview for her with B & W Awning Company, and she was hired soon thereafter as a bookkeeper for the company.

Pamela completed her Associate’s Degree in Accounting at the Lexington Campus in 1993.  Years later, she was working in accounting for PepsiCo when she decided to return to campus to take advantage of the free refresher courses which are available to American National University alumni.

She eventually enrolled in the bachelor’s program, but before she completed it, PepsiCo went through a management restructuring, and Pamela decided to take early retirement after 15 years with the company. “Even after I retired from Pepsi, I had gone so long and put so much hard work into it, I thought ‘I am not quitting.  I’m going on,’” recalled Pamela of her determination to earn her bachelor’s degree.

Pamela is now enjoying using the broad skill set gained in her bachelor’s degree program in her position in which she manages a large variety of accounting and payroll functions.  Larry Gillespie, CEO of B & W Awning, said, “Pam has really had a lot thrown at her and I’m really proud of her…, [She] has done a heck of a job…she is a good testament to the college.”

Mr. Gillespie has worked closely with Cheryl and the career center at the Lexington Campus to help him fill job openings with his company for more than five years.  He has found that partnering with the campus when he needs to find a new employee is a much more efficient process than looking for qualified candidates on this own.  “From a selfish standpoint, National has really filled the bill for me…,” he said.  “It’s a lot easier where Cheryl has already screened them… for us. We know their background, and she also knows, to some degree, their attitude as well as aptitude.  So, it just works well.” Mr. Gillespie recommends that other small business owners take advantage of the services of the career center at the American National University campuses.

(A)-Pamela Schulze, who retired from PepsiCo after 15 years, recently completed her bachelor's degree program at the Lexington Campus and was hired by B & W Awning as a bookkeeper.

(B)-Larry Gillespie, CEO of B & W Awning, is pictured with Pamela Schulze who he hired through his parnersthip with the career center at the Lexington Campus.

Students Hold Campus Computer Clinic

Students Hold Campus Computer Clinic

Information Technology (IT), students at the Florence Campus held a computer clinic on Saturday, September 6, 2013.   Faculty, staff, and students brought in their broken or slow-running computers to be evaluated by the students.

Information Systems Engineering (ISE) students EJ Mahoney and Elva Stull participated with ISE director Valerie Bowman and instructors Terry Elmore and Yan Krayterman to evaluate the computers brought in to the clinic.  After the students diagnosed the issues, they optimized the computers through the use of disk-management and virus scanning software.  Although the students could not add hardware, they did make recommendations to the computer owners on what hardware and/or software that could be upgraded.

The clinic was a huge success. The ISE students practiced the skills they have learned thus far in the IT program and the computer owners, in most cases, gained a better working computer.  The students are already planning their next clinic to be held in November. 

Instructor Terry Elmore, students EJ Mahoney, Elva Stull, director of IT programs, Valerie Bowman, and instructor Yan Krayterman conducted a computer clinic at the Florence Campus. 


Students Become Certified In First Aid and CPR

Students Become Certified In First Aid and CPR

The medical assisting students at the Danville, Kentucky campus attended a First Aid & CPR class taught by J.C. Pendleton from the University of Kentucky Hospital.  J.C. was also named UK’s “Paramedic of the Year.” 

The class of 17 students spends a minimum of seven hours in the classroom learning the latest information.  J.C. begins with First Aid and uses a PowerPoint presentation, and then students receive a test on what they just learned and proceed to the CPR portion of the class. All medical assisting students are required to attend a CPR and First Aid class before their externship. 

Teresa Messinger said “I feel that the First Aid class is not only going to benefit me for my education but in life in general.   J.C. was not only full of knowledge but made the class “fun”. Kelly Neikirk said “The class was very informative and the instructor was very enlightening, and I learned a lot”.

Instructor J.C. Pendleton of the University of Kentucky teaches a First Aid and CPR Class at the Danville, Kentucky Campus. 

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.