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December 16, 2013

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Personal Experiences Lead Student to a New Career in the Medical Field

Personal Experiences Lead Student to a New Career in the Medical Field

Renee Long graduated from the Akron Area Campus in August of 2012.  She is employed by the Unity Health Network which has approximately 20 medical offices in Cuyahoga Falls.  She is a “floating” employee, meaning that she gets to work in the various locations of the medical system.  Currently, she is working at the Akron City Hospital in the Pulmonary Critical Care Department. 

Before coming to American National University, Renee worked at Hope Homes, an adult daycare for the elderly who are physically or mentally disabled.  At the same time, she was also caring for two family members, one who had extensive disabilities and one who had suffered an injury.  Because of these very personal experiences as a caregiver, she decided that she wanted to obtain formal medical training.  She knew that she liked helping people.

She chose National because it was close to home, was a small college, and she liked the fact that the classes were small instead of “100 people in classes,” said Renee.  She added that she really enjoyed going to school and teaching (she tutored students in four classes: Accounting 1, Medical Terminology, Algebra, and Introduction to Pharmacy).

Her favorite instructor was “Miss Deb” (Deb Tymcio, director of healthcare education).  “She kept me focused and intrigued us to know more,” Renee said.  “She welcomed questions, helped me to grow, and helped nurture [me as well].”  Renee credits National for helping with her communications skills, enhancing her résumé, and helping her to get a good job.

Renee was hired on August 13th of 2012 and sat for the registered medical assistant certification on August 15th.  She said that in part because of her RMA certification, she is very versatile and can perform various duties in different offices as needed.  She can check patients in and out, and can be an extra medical assistant or extra nurse to work directly with the physicians.  She has worked as many as six days a week and as many as 60 hours a week as needed.   

Because every office is different and she is still constantly learning on the job, she carries a rolling flight bag with her every day.  The flight bag includes a notebook, writing tablets,instructions on how to do pre-certifications, procedure codes, diagnosis codes, and even her own stethoscope so she is prepared for every job. 

Renee loves the medical field so much that she is considering returning to school to become a registered nurse.  She said, “The more you know, the better off you are.”

A-Graduate Renee Long entered the medical field after being drawn to it by personal experiences.

B-Graduate Renee Long takes the blood pressure of student Rose Green.

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Campus Honors Local VA Medical Center

Campus Honors Local VA Medical Center

The Roanoke Valley Campus recently presented the Distinguished Community Employer award to the Salem VA Medical Center (VAMC) for their continued partnership with the campus.  In recent years, the VA Medical Center has employed a number of the campus' business and medical graduates, has provided medical and accounting adjunct instructors, and has been a consistent participant in the campus career fairs.
The medical center is operated by the U.S Department of Veteran Affairs and serves veterans throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia for psychiatric care and southwestern Virginia for medical and surgical care. The Salem VAMC also has community based outpatient clinics in Danville, Lynchburg, Staunton, Tazewell, and Wytheville.

The director of the center, Dr. Miguel Lapuz, accepted the award presented by campus director Ron Bradbury, career center director Kristal Bushong, and business chair Mathew George.  Also present was a recent bachelor of business administration-management graduate, Tim Tuttle, who is currently completing a two year leadership training program at the Medical Center.  His current supervisor, James Kelly , the director of logistics, said that he was impressed with the skills and knowledge Tim had and would be glad to hire more graduates of his caliber.

Pictured are campus director Ron Bradbury (r) presenting the Distinguished Community Employer award to Dr. Miguel Lapuz (l), director of the Salem VA Medical Center.

Local Area Business Leaders Assist with Mock Interviews and Résumé Reviews

Local Area Business Leaders Assist with Mock Interviews and Résumé Reviews

On Thursday, November 14th, two local business leaders volunteered at the Lynchburg Campus to review student résumés and perform mock interviews.  The event was an open forum and was done on a first-come, first-served basis.  Each student was able to spend about 30 minutes with one or both of the interviewers.  The leaders gave students invaluable advice along with powerful suggestions on how to advance in their careers. 

Tammy Pennix, a business administration student, was very excited that she had the opportunity to speak with Bianca Allison of the Bank of the James.  Tammy felt that Ms. Allison’s constructive feedback was very insightful and useful.  Tammy walked away with a list of items to work on such as learning to channel her energies for a long term goal, and to stay focused in order to achieve her five year plan.  “Bianca was very knowledgeable,” said Tammy.  “I was very intrigued by her knowledge and happy to have this opportunity to speak with a business professional.  I encourage all business students to participate in any free consultations ANU offers; especially when Ms.  Bianca is involved.”

Accounting student Stephany Davis interviewed with Hannah Watson of Adams and Garth Staffing. Hannah spoke to Stephany about being confident in her abilities.  She also suggested that she capture everything possible on her résumé so the interviewer can see her abilities and skills.  Stephany said, “Hannah was very helpful to me.  She gave me tips on how to sell myself in an interview.  I have a whole list of suggestions I will start working on.”

A-Bianca Allison (l) with the Bank of the James and business administration student Tammy Pennix (r).

B-Student Stephany Davis (l)  with Hannah Watson of Adams & Garth Staffing (r).

A Student Shares Her Personal Story on Breast Cancer Awareness Day

A Student Shares Her Personal Story on Breast Cancer Awareness Day

The Bristol Campus observed Breast Cancer Awareness Day on Wednesday, October 30th.   Student Alicia Pruitt knows firsthand how important breast cancer screening and early detection are.  She was a new mother when she was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 26 and she bravely continues to battle the disease.  In addition to chemotherapy and radiation, Alicia most recently underwent surgery on November 6th.  Alicia spoke to students about her experience with breast cancer.  “Even if you’re a man or woman,” Alicia says, “you are not exempt from breast cancer—regardless of your age or nationality.”

Students were also provided the latest information regarding breast cancer including how to do a self-breast exam.  Students who attended the program were given “Fight Like a Girl” t-shirts.  Instructor Jessica Phillips hosted the games Jeopardy and Bingo so students could test their knowledge of breast cancer.

Alicia enrolled at National College in March of 2012. She is in the medical assisting program and will graduate next July. 

Student Alicia Pruitt talks about her personal fight with breast cancer in the student lounge on Breast Cancer Awareness Day.



Janice Green was employed in the medical field for quite a few years, and felt that she needed a better job but knew she did not have the skills.  After completing associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in business administration at nearby public colleges, she transitioned in her career but after a few years once again felt herself at a dead-end.

Meanwhile, her daughter Anastasia had enrolled in the pharmacy technician program at the Roanoke Valley Campus, and recommended that her mother check out the programs ANU had to offer.  Janice began the MBA program at ANU this past July.  “[Anastasia] encouraged me to come back to school and after she did that, then I proved to myself that I can do the work and overcome the obstacles in life,” said Janice. “I am so very proud to be a part of ANU’s MBA program.“  Janice added, “Because of my new self-confidence, I attended classes every day last semester and received an ‘A’ on every paper.  I currently have a 4.0 G.P.A.  I am achieving my goals in life, and I am thankful that ANU gave me another chance.” 

MBA Student Janice Green (r) who was referred by daughter Anastasia Green (l) who is a pharmacy technician student.

Employer Offers Employment Before Graduation

Employer Offers Employment Before Graduation

Justin Mills graduated with an Associate of Science in Medical Assisting from the Martinsville Campus in September.  He had a very successful externship opportunity with Friedrichs Family Eye Center and was hired as an ophthalmic technician one month prior to his graduation date.  Justin performs many tasks to help assist the optometrist which includes preparing the patient for vision examination, assisting in testing for near and far acuity, depth perception, color perception, and utilizing ocular testing apparatus.

Justin decided to enroll at American National University after serving our country for seven years in the U.S Air Force.  “I wanted to continue my education and to learn something new that I had never done before,” said Justin about his decision to enroll.  Justin added that the degree helped to “broaden [his] skill set.”  He has high expectations for the next five to 10 years.  He plans to continue his education by pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Health Care Management and wants to open his own medical practice someday.  Justin recommends ANU to others because, “A person needs to take the time to better themselves, learn something new along with expanding [their] knowledge.  You never know what doors may open,” he said.

Justin Mills (pictured) is a Veteran of the U.S. Air Force and is now an ophthalmic technician.

Student Wins Contest For Explaining Her Hands-On Training for Success

Student Wins Contest For Explaining Her Hands-On Training for Success

“With the tradition and history behind American National University behind me, I know that I have the best education and tools to be successful in both the classroom and after graduation,” said Susan Shogan, who is enrolled in the medical assisting degree program at the Danville, Virginia Campus.

Susan entered in and won the ANU Essay Contest answering the question, “What Does Your University’s 127 Years of History and Tradition Mean to You?”  Susan said, “It means that I will be given hands-on training for success beyond the classroom and into the job market.”

In her essay, she explained that she came to ANU so she could gain new skills and find a new career in the medical field.  She also knew that in order to improve her career opportunities, she would need the support of a university that could help her improve her interviewing and résumé writing skills.

“I like the fact that American National University teaches the current trends in medicine and gives me the personal one-on-one help that allows me to learn and understand new concepts and be successful in my chosen field.”

Susan’s essay received the most votes on Facebook, and won the “People’s Choice Award.” 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.

Essay contest winner Susan Shogan is pictured at the Danville, Virginia Campus.

Education Allows Student to Flourish

Education Allows Student to Flourish

Monique Anderson said she was not on a clear career path before she found American National University. “I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do as far as schooling and a long-term career,” she said as she described how she felt.

With an interest in the pharmacy field, Monique learned about the Stark County Campus’s pharmacy technician associate’s degree program.  “After looking into a few schools, I felt National was the best choice for me,” Monique explained.  “The class sizes and scheduling were perfect.”

On track to finish her program next February, Monique is currently working as an extern for Marc’s Pharmacy.  She said, “It's been such an amazing experience to learn how a community pharmacy is run.”

In addition to her externship, Monique was also hired as a pharmacy technician for Rite Aid Pharmacy. Working at both locations before graduation is allowing Monique to practice what she is learning in the classroom.  “I do a little bit of everything,” she explained.   She enters prescriptions, pulls and counts out medications, and mixes the liquid medications.  Monique said, “It's so interesting; there is never a boring day when I'm at work.”

She credits American National University for her new skills – specifically Dr. Kevin Chakos, the campus’s department chair for the pharmacy technician program.  “Dr. Chakos has always pushed me very hard and it's paid off and will continue to for the years to come,” said Monique.  “The pharmacists I work with are always pleasantly surprised by how much I know!”  She is grateful that she is now happy with where she is in life.

Student Monique Anderson is a pharmacy technician for Rite Aid Pharmacy in Canton. 

Graduate Becomes a Certified Phlebotomist

Graduate Becomes a Certified Phlebotomist

Leah Westrick, a graduate of the phlebotomy program, was the first student at the Indianapolis Campus to sit for the certification exam, and passed.  When asked why she came to National for phlebotomy she replied: “I wanted to work in the medical field, and thought if I got my phlebotomy certification that would get my foot in the door.”  Leah also admitted that she was nervous about taking the exam and that she studied all the material from the phlebotomy courses she had taken to prepare.  Once she saw that she had passed she was excited that all of her hard work had paid off. Leah plans to work in a hospital lab where she can learn numerous techniques.  She has also applied to medical school and someday hopes to become a physician.  Patricia Ridge, director of healthcare education was very proud and excited for Leah, stating “Leah is a bright student, and I have full confidence she will succeed in any endeavor, and I have already sent a glowing recommendation to the admission board for medical school.”

Graduate Leah Westrick (pictured) is a certified phlebotomist.

Campus Celebrates Veterans Day

Campus Celebrates Veterans Day

Students gathered at the Nashville Campus for a Veterans Day celebration and to pay honor to the men and women that served in the various branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. The highlight of the celebration was speeches given by two students: Fabion Hennings and Nickolas Worch, both of whom served in the U.S Army.  Both students are currently enrolled in the information systems engineering program.

Fabion spoke about the importance of Veterans Day.  In his speech Fabion said, “Veterans and civilians should take part in observing this day.” Nickolas continued with a brief history of veterans and the current issues ailing them in social communities and in our country.

Upon the completion of the ceremony, faculty, staff and student veterans were honored with a gift from National College presented by vice president Cyndee Perdue Moore and campus director Dr. Gary Adcox.

Pictured are some of the Veterans of the Nashville Campus.

Externships and Career Opportunities for Phlebotomy Students

Externships and Career Opportunities for Phlebotomy Students

On Tuesday, December 10th the Youngstown Campus presented Quest Diagnostics with a Distinguished Community Employer Award.  Jill Sudol, patient services supervisor for Quest Diagnostics, accepted the award for the company.  Jill has been a preceptor for our phlebotomy externships and has hired four externs from the Youngstown Campus.  Ms. Sudol said, “I will be placing [the award] in the main lobby at our corporate headquarters in Twinsburg, Ohio for all to see.”  Whenever an externship is needed Jill is quite willing to take our students and the sites that the students are placed at are very welcoming.  They are willing to go above and beyond to ensure the success of our students.”  Mike Boyle, campus director said, “We have valued Quest Diagnostics for our extern opportunities and placement opportunities since May, 2010 and we look forward to continuing as a partner in the future.”

Pictured (l) to (r) are: Mike Boyle, campus director, Jill Sudol of Quest Diagnostics, and Veronica Zurcher, director of healthcare education.

Difference Maker - Department Chair & Instructor - Yolanda Davis

Difference Maker - Department Chair & Instructor - Yolanda Davis

Yolanda Davis—Difference Maker at the Bartlett Campus

Instructor and department chair of the general studies program

National College of Business & Technology instructor since 2009
Has been an educator of both children and adults for more than 20 years

Holds an Associate of Science degree from Shelby State Community College, a Bachelor of Science degree in education from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and a master’s degree in adult education and administration from Western Washington University

“I try to keep my mind and heart open to learning, and applying what I learn, to my life.  I then share that which seems to work for me with others. I tell my students that they should strive to learn something-- a concept, idea, or thought-- which they can take outside of the classroom and apply and share with others.  Experiences gained in life and on the job--each and every job-- can be teachable.

“Our students are wonderful.  They make so many sacrifices-- time and energy. We must respect that.  I am always struck by the tenacity demonstrated.   Also, our students are brave.  Many have not been in school in some time and some have not had the best experiences with school.  I encourage them to acknowledge the fear, and I do my personal best to put them at ease by letting them know I care. Most of them have reservoirs of knowledge and wisdom of which they themselves are not aware until it is pointed out to them.

“My greatest reward as an instructor is when a student tells me that they not only learned the subject matter, but that they learned something about themselves through time with me and fellow learners.

“I love being a member of the National College faculty because the professionalism, mutual respect, strive for academic excellence, and devotion to our students is top notch.”

Yolanda Davis is a Difference Maker at the Bartlett Campus who has taught adults and children for more than 20 years.

Student Becomes Station Manager of Radio Network before Graduation

Student Becomes Station Manager of Radio Network before Graduation

Chad McKenzie is a self-taught filmmaker who has produced and sold a number of documentaries on the paranormal.  “I always liked ghosts and UFOs, anything that was out of the normal, I was interested in it,” he recalled.

But when the economy took a downturn, it became more difficult to sell his films, so he decided to look for employment in the entertainment industry. “Everywhere that I called, they knew I had experience editing and filmmaking, but they said, ‘You don’t have that degree,’” he explained.

After finding the Lexington Campus radio and television broadcasting (RTB) program through an online search, he moved closer to Lexington to be near the campus.

Since he came into the program with a working-knowledge of the field, Chad was glad to find instructors who have experience in broadcasting.  “I like that the RTB director (department chair Bill Gray) is a hands-on guy, he worked in the industry, so he’s not just teaching from books, he’s telling you how it is in the real world,” he said.  “The easiest way for me to learn is from first-hand knowledge.”

Using the expanded skills that he’s gained in the program, Chad began producing and hosting his own weekly radio show, Paranormally Correct.  The show, which airs each Thursday at 8 p.m. EST online on the ParaMania Radio Network (, features filmmakers from the horror industry and hosts of TV shows that focus on paranormal activity.  According to Chad, the show’s funny, light-hearted approach to the paranormal has helped it become the top show on the network, and it currently has almost 5,000 listeners each week.

As the ParaMania Radio Network continues to grow in popularity, the station’s owners have become interested in syndication, and recently hired Chad as the station manager to help take the station to the next level.  “Because of being here at National, I got promoted to station manager, because…they needed someone more versed in the laws [and] ethics…and I had those classes here,” he said.  “We are hoping to get affiliated with CBS radio…and we have to know what we can and can’t say on the air…so [my classes at National] helped me immensely.  The reason that I got promoted to station manager was because of my training.”

Chad looks forward to a bright future in broadcasting and entertainment as he travels across the country making documentaries, and serving as the guest speaker at conferences and conventions on the paranormal.  After graduating, he hopes to work in production for a local TV station, and feels that he will now find success there, as well, thanks to his education.  “It has opened a lot of doors,” he said of his program at National.

Student Chad McKenzie is a self-taught filmmaker who is now a station manager of the ParaMania Radio Network.

Future Medical Assistants Tour Medical Office

Future Medical Assistants Tour Medical Office

On Monday, November 11th, students in the Non-Invasive Clinical Procedures class at the Danville, Kentucky Campus joined director of health care education Stephanie Slone on a field trip to visit the Danville Medical Specialists-Kentucky One Health office.  Students were able to see firsthand what it’s like to work in clinical and administrative settings. Students also toured patient rooms and the office area.  Four American National University graduates are employed there.

“When taking a visit to the Kentucky One office, I was allowed to see how my skills will be used in the work force,” said medical assisting student Mackenzie Shearer, who explained that the students were able to watch the process of paper charts being entered into the computer system.  “We also got to meet some of the nice staff, and see the clean and pleasant atmosphere that they get to work in,” said Mackenzie.  “It was all around a nice experience just to get to see where you could possibly end up after you complete your education, not to mention the possible ways you can improve your skills.”

“It was nice to see one of our former students, Clarissa Hill-Powers, working there,” said student Danielle Ange. “Plus, our teacher, Matt Adams, who is the office manager, conducted the tour.”

Students of the Non-Invasive Clinical Procedures class of the Danville, Kentucky Campus who recently visited the Danville Medical Specialists-Kentucky One Health office.

Word of the Day

Word of the Day

Florence Campus instructor Sandra Rice introduced a new project for her students that has become a huge success: Word of the Day. In her business and computer classes, the students are asked to choose a new word to expand their vocabulary. The students write the word on the board with its definition. Then Ms. Rice asks each student to use the word in a sentence.  The students have stated that this project has really benefitted them both in their business and general education classes. As Ms. Rice said, “Our students are learning from each other. Several of the students have chosen medical or legal terms to increase their vocabulary.”

As business student, Fatou Thomas stated, “I love the word of the day. It has helped me learn new words every week. It has also improved my written communication skills. English is my third language, so the word of the day has increased my knowledge of the English language.”

Pictured (l) to (r) are: students Fatou Thomas and Jerry Marshall with instructor Sandra Rice.

Medical Office Serves as Excellent Campus Partner

Medical Office Serves as Excellent Campus Partner

Tiffani Ballard, Pikeville Campus career center director, presented the Pikeville Dermatology and Cosmetic Center with the Distinguished Community Employer award on Monday, December 10th.  Dr. Timothy Lavender accepted the plaque.  Dr. Lavender said that it is important for students to be prepared for the workforce and believes that American National University provides that readiness.  He added that he has hired several American National University graduates and hopes to add more of them to his staff in the near future. 

“Pikeville Dermatology is a wonderful partner,” said Tiffani.  “They provide externships and have hired some of our graduates.  The students really enjoy the atmosphere, experience, and knowledge that they receive while working there.”

Graduate Ellen O’Brien said that Pikeville Dermatology is a great place to work and while she has been employed there, she has learned much about the dermatology field and skin care.  She added that the education that she received at National really prepared her to work there.

Tiffani Ballard, career center director (l), presented the Distinguished Community Employer Award to Dr. Timothy Lavender (r) of Pikeville Dermatology and Cosmetic Center.

Retiree Returns to School to Gain Business Skills for Volunteer Work with Non-Profit Organization

Retiree Returns to School to Gain Business Skills for Volunteer Work with Non-Profit Organization

Pete Miller, who had a successful career working as a veterinarian and in product development for several small companies, was enjoying an early retirement, when he decided that he wanted to spend some of his free time giving back to his church and community.

He began serving on the board of directors of Adventure Serve Ministries (formerly Confrontation Point Ministries), a non-profit organization that funds youth mission trips that include a home repair service project, followed by an adventure activity such as rappelling, canoeing,  caving or hiking.  “It’s a really cool deal, because the kids grow a lot, and they’re serving someone, which is important to me,” he explained.

But when he was asked to help organize the non-profit’s financial records to better monitor income and spending, Pete found that he didn’t have the business knowledge that he needed to complete the project.

“I thought ‘If I’m going to start a business of my own, or if I’m going to be on the boards of non-profits, I need to learn the business-side of things,’ so I looked for a place to do that,” he recalled of his decision to enroll at the Richmond Campus.

After graduating from the business administration management diploma program, Pete now feels that he has the business tools that he needs to be more of an asset to any organization or business. “I just want the numbers, I don’t need all the fluff, and the business classes were good.   The ethics pieces, and how they were structured, were very worthwhile.  The business model from [my accounting instructor Eric] Vogler… was very, very applicable,” he said.  “It just put me in a stronger position to serve, and understand the business side of things.”

Pete Miller, graduate of the Richmond Campus business administration management diploma program.

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.