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December 02, 2013

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Business Degree Helps Graduate Build His Own Business

Business Degree Helps Graduate Build His Own Business

Travis Myles has found a new outlook on life after earning his business administration-accounting degree at the Memphis Campus.  “With a degree, it just changes everything.  You can’t look at life the same anymore,” said Travis. “You just have to have more and to keep going.  It definitely changed me.”

No longer willing to accept the status quo, Travis is using the knowledge gained in his program at National College to take his career, working in central service for Sedgwick Claims Management Services, and his own business, Myles Professional Solutions, to the next level.

Travis attended a large university right after high school, but he couldn’t get the one-on-one help from that he needed as he vied for his instructors’ attention in classes of 150 students.  But at National, he found small classes and instructors who cared.

He considers instructor Marcus Tate, who shared his experiences working in the field of accounting, to be his mentor.  “Staying focused and staying on task—he instilled that in me,” Travis explained.

The computer skills that Travis gained in his program at National have also been vital to his professional growth.  “Computer skills mean a great deal.  A lot of people try to ignore it…but you need it,” he said, adding that he uses programs such as Microsoft Excel to keep himself organized and efficient on the job.

Thanks to his accounting program at National, Travis knows the proper procedures for bookkeeping for his business, which provides commercial janitorial services, residential and commercial carpet cleaning, and more.  His courses in management, ethics and communications have enabled him build his company’s client base and his ultimate goal is to eventually work in the business full-time.  “Over time, it’s built up where I have a consistent client base, and I’m working on new contracts daily.  There’s nothing like getting up and putting your foot in front of you, knowing that you have to make it happen,” he said.  “I have to crawl before I walk, but I definitely want the fulfillment of having my own business.”

Travis recommends that others enroll at National to get the training they need to make their career goals a reality.  “Definitely make National your first choice,” he advised.

Graduate Travis Myles is the owner of Myles Professional Solutions in Memphis, Tennessee.


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Guest Speaker Educates Students Regarding Diseases

Guest Speaker Educates Students Regarding Diseases

On Wednesday, September 4th, Dr. Marguerite A. Erme, the Medical Director of the Summit County Health District, visited the Akron Area Campus for a presentation on HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention.  Dr. Erme spoke in front of surgical technology, health information management, and environmental science classes.  Her presentation focused on how HIV is transmitted, treated, and prevented; but she also discussed the importance of understanding the disease while working within the health care field.  One student commented on how interesting it was to learn about the length of time the virus can be present without noticeable symptoms.

 Dr. Marguerite Erme spoke to several classes at the Akron Area Campus about HIV and the importance of understanding the disease.

Practical Law Class Visits County Courthouse

Practical Law Class Visits County Courthouse

“I decided that instead of having someone from the courthouse come and speak with us, that it would be better to provide my students with the opportunity to experience what the local courthouse had to offer for themselves,” said Nicole Harless, business administration instructor at the Princeton Campus.  She took her Practical Law class to the historic courthouse of Mercer County.  The County Commissioner’s Office provided a tour that kicked off with a talk from the County Commission President, Mike Vinciguerra, who explained what the County Commission does and how it operates; focusing on budgeting duties and utilizing tax dollars.  The property records room was a large part of the field trip as the class discussed the importance of land records, easements, taxation, and the legality behind proper record keeping with the property clerk.  The class then sat in on a property auction that was being held at the County Tax Assessor’s office for delinquent properties.  Afterward, the class visited the Courthouse Annex building and learned about various types of court cases. The trip ended with a visit to the War Museum of Mercer County where students found out about how records that are kept on file there in relation to ownership and historical significance for the county.  Student Rebecca Loveall said, “I loved the history in the building.”

Students from the Practical Law Class at the Princeton Campus view county land deed books from the 1800’s.  Pictured (l) to (r):  Kater Callen, Eric Hendricks, Janice Jennings, and Chelsea Quesinberry.

Pharmacy Offers Externships That Often Lead to Employment

Pharmacy Offers Externships That Often Lead to Employment

CVS in Lynchburg graciously opened their doors to the Lynchburg Campus students for externships.  Students love being placed with this team as they are able to learn job skills, customer service, life skills and how to work well in a team environment.  The pharmacy staff and team members are friendly to students and go above and beyond to aid in their success. 

CVS Pharmacy supervisor Elizabeth Thomas shared her thoughts with campus director Bill Baker; “This is a win-win for all of us!"  Ms. Thomas also added that students are very knowledgeable in the pharmacy tech field and that CVS enjoys working with them.  CVS received the Distinguished Community Employer award for the term. 

Campus director Bill Baker (r) presents the distinguished community employer award to CVS pharmacy supervisor Elizabeth Thomas (l), and pharmacist Bill Hankla (center).

Fall Career Expo a Success

Fall Career Expo a Success

More than 60 students attended the Fall Career Expo at the Danville, Virginia campus on Wednesday, November 6th.  Fourteen businesses set up booths for current students, alumni, and community job seekers, a good indication of an economic rebound.  Career center director Rhonda Pass shared with students, “Job fairs are not get-acquainted sessions.  They are two-to-three minute exchanges between employers and potential employees.  Your appearance and communication skills are being evaluated, so always be at your very best.”

The career expo provided students the chance to seek out positions, externship opportunities, and networking opportunities.  When Julie Pennell, a recent graduate from the business administration-management program was asked what she thought about this year’s career expo, she said, “I think it is great!  [There are a] variety of businesses that are here [which] opens up more opportunities for students.”

Businesses that participated in this year’s career expo were: Primerica, Inc.; Danville Regional Medical Center; Grifols Biomat; Mary Kay Cosmetics; Adecco; Salem VA Medical Center; Telvista; United Way; Danville Public Schools; Team Nurse; Danville Police Department; Virginia Employment Commission; and WAKG/WBTM Piedmont Broadcasting.  Hats off to each of these employers for making our career expo a great success!  Betty Parrish, an expo participant from WAKG, said, We thank you, Rhonda!  It was a pleasure meeting with the public, the students and getting to meet some of the staff members as well.  ANU is a God-send to the City of Danville and surrounding counties.”

Student Raymond Gunn talks with Ella Robbins from US Department of Veteran Affairs in Salem, Virginia.

Medical Students Participate In Mock Demonstration

Medical Students Participate In Mock Demonstration

Some of the medical assisting students at the Columbus Campus recently had the opportunity to see how medical professionals respond to real-life medical emergencies.  Beth Laurenz, health care education director, organized their participation in a mock demonstration with Department of Homeland Security and EMS responders.  Potential medical emergencies were recreated, and a lot of effort was spent to make them as realistic as possible.  The students volunteered to play the part of victims.

The first emergency they acted out was a hazardous chemical spill.  The students played the part of the people contaminated by the spill.  They were told to wait outside while the site was put in lockdown mode.  It was also explained to them that had this been real, they would have been put in a decontamination shower. 

The second emergency acted out was a school shooting.  Here, the students were triaged through the emergency room to surgery and then to the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU).  Finally, they were admitted to the medical surgical floor.

Medical assisting student Faithia Pugh felt that she really learned a lot from this field trip, and she plans on taking the first-hand knowledge she gained with her as she advances into her career.  Faithia said, “If I’m in the healthcare field and something like this happens, I’ll know what to do.”

Beth Laurenz observed that many of her students had not previously known how much the police work together with other first responders in a medical emergency.  She said that another mock demonstration is being planned for next year. 

Students who participated in the medical mock demonstration are front row: Faithia Pugh (l) and Ms. Beth Laurenz (r).  Back row: Joan Martinez (l) and Veronica Flemister (r).



Leaving a Legacy

Leaving a Legacy

Student Nathan Alderton is a business management student at the Charlottesville Campus who has referred his girlfriend, Talon Flippen to the university. 

He is attending to further his education and to be able to establish his own carpentry business.  Nathan said, “I encouraged [Talon] to attend American National University because I knew she wanted to get through college quicker and not have a lot of general studies that she didn’t need like at the community college.  The location and scheduling was also a lot more convenient for her and me.”

Talon said, “I want to start out completing my RMA [registered medical assistant certification], and grow in the medical field.  There are so many different opportunities and it is a career field that I really enjoy.”

Charlottesville business management student, Nathan Alderton referred his girlfriend, Talon Flippen who has enrolled in the medical assisting program.


Graduate Finds New Career in One Year

Graduate Finds New Career in One Year

Amber Newcomb had just completed her third year of a social work program at a large university when she decided that the field wasn’t for her, and there were limited opportunities for employment.  She came to the Danville Campus in search of a program that she could finish quickly to get started in a career that she would enjoy.  Just a little more than a year later, she has completed her medical billing and coding diploma program and is working at The Spine Center of Central Kentucky as an insurance billing specialist.

When she decided to leave the university, Amber turned to American National University because she remembered what a great experience her mother, the late Anita Newcomb, had while earning her business administration-management associate’s degree at the Danville Campus. 

While researching the programs available at National, Amber was drawn to the medical billing and coding program because she wanted to work in an office and felt secure knowing that her training would prepare her to do so in the stable field of health care.

She found the atmosphere at National to be quite different than it was at the large university.   “I was so stressed with the social work program and I came here and it was just so relaxed,” said Amber.  She added that she received one-on-one attention in classes while gaining the skills that she needed to get started in her new career.

An externship with Danville Medical Specialists was also a valuable part of her program in which she worked side-by-side with professionals in a medical office.  “I was so nervous.  I didn’t know what to expect at all, but it was a really good experience,” said Amber.

In her work at The Spine Center, Amber schedules patients and verifies their insurance, works with Workman’s Compensation and motor vehicle accident claims, and performs billing for hospital and office visits.  After working in the office for a little more than one month, she is

excited about her career and her future.  “It’s a really good job.  It feels like this is the best thing that could have happened [to me],” said Amber with a smile.

Amber Newcomb is working as an insurance billing specialist after completing her medical billing and coding program at the Danville, Kentucky Campus in just a little over a year's time.

Oral Communications Class Presents Final Speeches

Oral Communications Class Presents Final Speeches

On Tuesday, November 19th, students from instructor Annette Strom’s Oral Communications class gathered in the Louisville Campus auditorium to present their final speeches.  The speeches covered a wide variety of topics including Buying a Home, Disciplining Children, Fire Safety, Depression, the Effects of Heroin on the Body, Cell Phones and Interaction, Astrology, and more.

Dontasha Drake, a student in the health information management associate’s degree program, presented a speech titled “Stress” which covered its causes, its effects, and ways to overcome it.  Her speech included statistics and personal experiences which were informative and held the audience’s interest.

“It went great,” Dontasha said following her presentation.  “In the beginning [of the term], I actually had a hard time.  I could not do my first piece the first day…but today went very well.  I was comfortable and confident,” she said.

Dontasha, a 2005 graduate of the medical assisting program at the Louisville Campus, said that the skills she gained in the class are already benefiting her in her work as an Emergency Room Tech at Norton Brownsboro Hospital, where she serves as a preceptor to new employees.  “I usually have two or three [new employees] that I have to sit down and talk to,” said Dontasha.  “I was a little shy about doing that, and I would mumble through everything, but since I took this class, it’s made it a whole lot easier.” 

A-Dontasha Drake is shown presenting a speech on stress during her oral communications class in the Louisville Campus auditorium.

B- Students from instructor Annette Strom's Oral Communications class gathered for a photo after giving their Final Speeches in the Louisville Campus auditorium.

Graduate Gets More Than an Education

Graduate Gets More Than an Education

Josh Hunt began working for the City of Florence as a maintenance worker on the day that he graduated from high school, and using his employee tuition assistance benefits from the city, he earned a degree in business administration-management at the Florence Campus in 2004.  After working in maintenance for several years, he was promoted to inspector, and then to project administrator for the city, where he now oversees sanitary and storm sewer capital improvement projects.  

Regarding his required duty of managing projects, Josh said, “Who else gets to spend a million dollars every year?  It’s a lot of responsibility, but the city has definitely invested a lot in me.  They paid a good portion of my school.”

In his job, Josh uses the critical thinking, communications, and computer technology skills that he gained at National.  “I was very computer illiterate when I went to college, and I really felt that the computer classes were great,” Josh explained.  “I became very proficient with all of the Microsoft Office applications, which I use heavily in what I do now.”

Josh attended National with two of his closest friends, Eric Hall and Ben Horgan, who also work in the City of Florence’s Public Services Department.  In addition, he met his wife, Jenna York Hunt, at the Florence Campus.  “Not only did I get an education, I met the love of my life at American National University,” he recalled with a smile.  Jenna, who also earned her associate’s degree in business administration-management, is now working for the Owen Electric Cooperative.

Josh urges others not to hesitate in getting the education that they need to succeed in their careers.  “Take advantage of an opportunity when it presents itself, and get started as soon as you can,” he advised.

Florence Campus graduate Josh Hunt oversees sanitary and storm sewer capital improvement projects working as a project administrator for the City of Florence.

Graduate Is Asset to Business Owner

Graduate Is Asset to Business Owner

Greenhouse Technology, Incorporated was recently named a Distinguished Community Employer by the Richmond Campus due to its strong support of American National University graduates and career college education.  On Monday, November 18th, career center director Elizabeth Walker and student services director Cynthia Hansel visited Greenhouse Technology to present CEO Doug Winterbottom with a plaque in recognition of the award.

Linda Combs, administrative supervisor for Greenhouse Technology, earned diplomas in business administration and computerized office applications at American National University after the factory where she worked for more than 20 years shut down.  She earned her diplomas with funding through the Trade Adjustment Act and was hired by Mr. Winterbottom shortly after graduation.  Linda was the 2012 recipient of the Richmond Campus Alumni Hall of Achievement Award. 

“She has a skill set of accounting procedures, she knows how to keep the books balanced, and knows how important it is to stay organized and on top of all of the financial [information] for the company,” Mr. Winterbottom said.  “She and I, over time, developed a series of reports that are very important to me.  [With the reports], I could be anywhere in the country, and I can get a snapshot of the company’s short-term health at any moment in time.”  Mr. Winterbottom added that Linda’s education and her maturity are great assets in her work for his company.

Mr. Winterbottom feels that it is important for students to develop skills that are in demand in the workforce.  “The truth of the matter is, speaking as someone in business, there must have been a time when just having that college education gave you that leg up, but now, it’s about skills,” he explained.

Richmond Campus career center director Elizabeth Walker (l) and student services representative Cynthia Hansel (r) are shown presenting the Distinguished Community Employer Award to Greenhouse Technology CEO Doug Winterbottom and administrative supervisor Linda Combs, who is a American National University graduate.

Students Practice Interviewing Skills at Workshop

Students Practice Interviewing Skills at Workshop

“Practice makes perfect” was the resounding theme of a mock interview workshop that was recently held by Pikeville Campus career center director Tiffani Ballard.  The seminar featured a simulated panel interview which was conducted by human resources representatives from Lowe’s.

Tiffine Hudson, Lowe’s human resources manager, said that students should participate in mock interviews as often as possible, because they provide a good opportunity to practice answering situational questions that are often asked during interviews.  An example of a situational question is: “Tell me about a situation where someone has criticized you and how you handled it?”

“Each interview you go to, pick the top three questions that were the hardest for you, and when you go home, jot those down. So, you get those situations in your head, and you’re able to rehearse them,” Ms. Hudson advised.

“I learned a lot of questions that they ask,” said medical assisting student Allyson Hoffman, who added that the workshop was very helpful.  “I had a problem with one question that I didn’t understand, and they explained what kind of answers they were looking for.  I need as much practice with these as I can get,” she said.

Medical assisting student Allyson Hoffman (l), is shown participating in a mock panel interview with Lowe's human resources manager Tiffine Hudson (r) and human resources coordinator Christina Goff (center).


Guest Speaker Emphasizes the Importance of Good Credit

Guest Speaker Emphasizes the Importance of Good Credit

Students at the Charlottesville Campus recently welcomed guest speaker Danita Harris, a personal banker for Stellar One; a position that she has held for more than 27 years.  She has worked for a variety of banking locations which has given her a wide variety of experiences. Ms. Harris spoke in great length of various topics including credit, identity theft, and making wise financial decisions.  She opened her discussion by talking about the importance that follows establishing a line of credit.  She explained, “Credit will follow you all the days of your life.”

Managing personal finances and making wise financial decisions—a topic students learn about in their business and accounting classes—are just as important for individuals as they are for businesses.  Ms. Harris shared with students some the key steps they can take as individuals to successfully manage their personal finances.

With technology continuously evolving, Danita gave tips to prevent the new modern day crime, identity theft.  She advised the students to have a dedicated credit card set aside for internet shopping purposes only.  This method protects the student by not having all their funds stored into one account which limits the harm and effects that identity theft can bring.  With internet commerce comprising an ever-growing part of the global economy, there will be increasing opportunities for trained cybersecurity professionals—and the new cybersecurity programs being introduced by American National University, National College, and the University of Fairfax—will help to meet those needs.

Stellar One personal banker Danita Harris (l), with instructor John Donohue (r).  Ms. Harris spoke about personal financial stability.

Essay Contest Winner Values ANUs 127 Years of History

Essay Contest Winner Values ANUs 127 Years of History

To Amanda Woolridge, 127 years of history and tradition means that her university has been successful for more than a century. Amanda is a student in the health care management bachelor’s degree program at the Harrisonburg Campus and recently participated in the ANU Essay Contest and answered the question “What Does Your University’s 127 Years of History and Tradition Mean to You?”

“They must provide a good education to their students or they would not have lasted 127 years,” Amanda said in her essay.

Amanda graduated from the medical assisting degree program at the Harrisonburg Campus in 2010. She said she loves ANU because the class sizes are small. “You get the help you need and you do not have to be embarrassed to ask questions.”

Amanda said she would refer ANU to anyone interested in pursuing higher education. “I love the education I have received at American National University and I am glad to see that they are growing.”

Amanda’s essay won the grand prize for the essay contest. Have you “liked” the American National University Facebook pages? Go to and click on the about section to see a list of all the available campus Facebook pages.

Amanda Woolridge is pictured accepting her essay contest prize from Harrisonburg campus director David Zimmerman.

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.