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January 13, 2014

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Veteran and Graduate Uses G.I. Bill to Further Education

Veteran and Graduate Uses G.I. Bill to Further Education

Graduate Jonathan Holland served in the U.S. Army from 2002-2008.  He was stationed in Germany, Kansas, and Iraq.  After serving, he used his G.I. Bill to pay for his college education at ANU.  In addition, he used the Trade Act to cover his expenses as well.  He had previously taken classes at two other local institutions and was thrilled that all of his credits transferred toward his ANU degree.  He added that he found the staff at the Roanoke Valley Campus much more personable than the other schools that he attended. He said that it was obvious that they truly care about students. 

He chose ANU because he had a friend who had attended and had a positive experience.  He decided to enroll in the information systems engineering program.  He found all of the instructors to be very helpful.  Jonathan’s other favorite aspects of ANU were that there were other students his age, the cultural diversity, the social events, and the fact that the institution is very community oriented.  

Jonathan was recently hired as a technical operator by the Ardagh Group, a Luxembourg-based global leader in metal and glass packaging that has opened a state-of-the-art metal can manufacturing facility in Roanoke.  “I am very excited, and fortunate to be a team member at Ardagh Group. This is a first rate corporation that is looking for only the best of the best,” said Jonathan.  “I would like to thank ANU and its staff for giving me the tools needed to succeed. The staff went out of their way to look over my résumé and application, prepared me for the interview, and give me the confidence needed in order to get hired.”

Veteran and graduate Jonathan Holland was recently hired as a technical operator by the Ardagh Group in Roanoke, Virginia. 



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Sisters Have Their National College Education in Common

Sisters Have Their National College Education in Common

Tabitha Meyers was working as a waitress when her friend and coworker who had been attending American National University’s Lynchburg Campus suggested she check it out too. “I just took a long hard look at what I was doing and realized I didn’t want to be a waitress for the rest of my life,” Tabitha says. “I wanted to do something with my life. And I’ve always had an interest in the medical field and being able to help people in pain get better.” So she decided to follow her friend’s advice and pursue an associate’s degree at ANU. She enrolled in the medical assisting program and is enjoying it very much, citing the small class sizes and personable teachers as her favorite aspects. “I love coming here, and I love the teachers that I have,” said Tabitha. “I’ve had a couple medical classes where the teachers have been extremely helpful. They have talked to me on a personal level, helped me gain more knowledge about what we’re learning about, and they’ve given me a lot of inspiration and motivation."

In fact, Tabitha is enjoying her time at ANU so much, that she decided to encourage her sister, Jessica Phillips to enroll too. “She was a CNA and she’s been in the medical field before, so I just encouraged her to get back into it because I know it’s something she had her heart in,” Tabitha says. “We’re a lot alike in many ways, so I knew she could excel here as well as I have been.”

Jessica started working as a CNA soon after high school and enjoyed it for several years. But a bad experience while working with end stage dementia/Alzheimer patients took an emotional toll on her, and she decided to take a break from the medical field. She switched to a job working in retail customer service, but wasn’t as passionate about it as she was with her previous career. So when her sister suggested ANU, she decided to check it out.

“The campus itself, the people, everybody that I dealt with was really nice,” Jessica said.  “I always thought enrolling in college was going to be difficult, and they just made it really, really easy. Anything that I had a question about, there was always somebody there to guide me, and give me the answer, and tell me what I needed to do next.”

But it was ANU’s limited time offer to waive the enrollment fee that really gave Jessica the extra push she needed to go ahead and enroll and take the next step towards continuing her education. “I would have enrolled eventually, but I probably would not be here this term if it wasn’t for that enrollment fee waiver,” she says. She knew she couldn’t pass up the opportunity she was presented with and that she needed to take advantage of it so she could earn her degree and get out into her career sooner.

Now that she is enrolled in the medical assisting associate’s degree program alongside her sister, Jessica is sure she made the right choice. “I really like the size of the classes,” she says. “I always imagined college as being 80 students and one teacher trying to get a point across to 80 different people. Everybody has a different learning style, and if a teacher has to teach a different way for 80 different people, it takes much longer. Here, there are fewer people in each class, so she can break it down two or three different ways and everybody gets it.”

Both sisters now have their sights set on long careers in the medical field, with Tabitha hoping to continue her journey up the ladder to eventually become a medical director and Jessica hoping to work for a smaller practice so she can have more time at home with her son. Both Tabitha and Jessica say they take their inspiration for going to college from their young children. “My son’s been the inspiration for everything that I’ve done,” Jessica says. “The child of a parent who has a college degree is much more likely to graduate from high school and get a college degree themselves, and I want that for him.”

Sisters Jessica Phillips and Tabitha Meyers are both medical assisting students at the Lynchburg Campus.

Difference Maker - Director of Student Services - Mandy Riley

Difference Maker - Director of Student Services - Mandy Riley

Mandy Riley—Difference Maker at the Dayton Area Campus

Director of Student Services

• American National University staff member since 2010
• Obtained eight years of bookkeeping experience

Holds an associate’s degree in accounting and computer applications from American National University

“Once I had my degree, I started browsing for accounting related jobs and came across American National University looking for a financial aid representative.  I thought what better way to give back to the students than the knowledge I had obtained while attending as a student myself.  I can relate to students on a personal level.  I want students to see that there are more people out there just like them that have succeeded.

“I educate the students on their academics and financials.  I’m always honest with them about their questions, even if it’s not the answer they want to hear, but we always work through it.  I always make time for any student when they have questions or concerns.

“I admire how American National University students strive to meet their own goals and achievements.  I have been given the privilege for the past three years to participate in graduation with handing out awards and diplomas.  It’s a great feeling knowing I have helped each student achieve their goal of becoming a better person and knowing that I have helped make a difference in their future as American National University did for me.”

Graduate Mandy Riley has been the director of student services at the Dayton Area Campus since 2010.

Education Leads to Promotion at Work

Education Leads to Promotion at Work

Parkersburg Campus graduate Lori Richards defines what it means to succeed thanks to her education at American National University.  Lori just received her Associate of Science in Medical Assisting and will be sitting for her certification soon.  Enrolling in school for her degree is what led to her being promoted at work and the path to a new career.

Lori was working in the housekeeping department at Camden Clark Medical Center.  She had always wanted to get a better job and knew she wanted to work in the medical field after her experience there.  Her sister, Tina Bruner, received her medical coding and billing diploma in 2012 and will be receiving her Associate of Science Degree in Health Information Management at the end of this term.  She recommended American National University to Lori.

Lori was promoted to monitor technician on the telemetry floor of the hospital shortly after completing her degree.  It was her assigned floor when she was in housekeeping and the floor supervisor knew she was enrolled at ANU, and knew she was a very reliable employee.  Lori talked with him when the medical assisting position became available and he hired her on the spot.  Lori directly credits her ANU education with helping her get her new position.

Lori acknowledges that her children, ages 12 and 15, were the driving force behind her returning to school.  She wanted to set a good example for them by showing that it was extremely important to get a higher education so they can have a great career.  She also wanted to show them that it could be done no matter what.  Being a wife and mother of two children in addition to working and going to school can be stressful but Lori knew it was only temporary and would allow her to improve her future.  Her advice to anyone feeling a little overwhelmed is, “Stick with it.  There is always a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Future plans are still in the works for Lori and she may want to continue her education even further.  For the immediate future, she is going to enjoy her new career and take some time to support her children in their endeavors.  Lori is a great example to current and future ANU students that their education can help them accomplish their goals as they work their way up the career ladder.

Graduate Lori Richards was recently hired as a medical assistant by Camden Clark Medical Center in Parkersburg, West Virginia.

Hospital Provides Ten Externships in Just One Year

Hospital Provides Ten Externships in Just One Year

On Tuesday, December 3rd, Harrisonburg campus director David Zimmerman presented a plaque naming Rockingham Memorial Hospital in Harrisonburg, the outstanding employer for the term to Megan Khamphavong, library assistant and student intern coordinator.  RMH has provided externship sites for ten medical assisting and phlebotomy students in the final term of their program in just one year.  Rockingham Memorial Hospital serves a seven-county area and each year, admits approximately 16,300 inpatients, nearly 192,000 outpatients, and delivers close to 1,700 babies annually.  Ms. Khamphavong said, “American National [University] medical students are among the best-prepared we host at our hospital.” 

Campus Director David Zimmerman (l) presents the Distinguished Community Employer award to Megan Khamphavong (r) of Rockingham Memorial Hospital in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Student Plans to Make a Difference in the Medical Field

Student Plans to Make a Difference in the Medical Field

Sara Nelson is a medical assisting student at the Princeton Campus who knows the career path that she wants to follow.  After attending Concord University for three years, she decided that she did not want to become a teacher.  After going through some medical trials herself, and dealing with her father’s medical crisis in the VA hospital, Sara said, “Compassion is often missing from the treatment.”  I want to supply the compassion and care to make a difference in the medical field.”  The more research and observation she made, she knew that she wanted to be the person to give what was missing to patients in a medical setting.  She tried a nursing program in another college, but their program was not a good fit.  She visited the Princeton Campus and found that the medical programs could provide what she needed. 

Sara now is not only a medical assisting student, but she assists our staff in the Work Study Program and is a dedicated asset.  She enjoys the small class size and the fact that staff and instructors know each student by name.  She said, “It seems to be a plus that instructors have worked in their teaching field, which gives them extra competency.”  She also likes the family atmosphere at the campus and feels blessed to be a student.  Mary Andrews, campus librarian, said, “The staff also feels blessed knowing that when she graduates, she wants to embody the compassion which should be shown in the medical field, and make changes for all that she comes in contact with and is able to help.” Sara plans to continue her education in the future to become a physician’s assistant. 

Medical assisting student Sara Nelson entered the medical field because she wants to provide the compassion and care to patients that are often the missing pieces in patients’ treatment.


Graduate Is Promoted and Pursues Higher Calling

Graduate Is Promoted and Pursues Higher Calling

When Ben Horgan came to the Florence Campus in 2002, he wanted to earn a degree in business administration-management to help him advance in his career with the City of Florence.  While he is proud that he has achieved that goal, earning several promotions which have brought him to his current position as project administrator for the city, he also found that his education at American National University allowed him to pursue a higher calling, as he earned his bachelor’s degree in religion and church ministries at Liberty University. 

“I was able to use American National University as a foundation, and I was able to carry that over to Liberty.  I’m very fortunate to have been able to do that,” said Ben who was able to transfer many of his credits from his program at National to help him complete his degree at Liberty.

He first visited National at the recommendation of his co-workers, Eric Hall and Josh Hunt, who are also graduates of National.  He found it to be a good fit because the flexible class schedule allowed him to continue to work full-time while going to school.

Ben struggled with his grades in high school, but at National he found that the staff and instructors were attentive to his needs, which helped him excel in his classes. “It wasn’t that you were just there to give American National University your tuition. They genuinely cared about who you were as a person and how they were going to help you achieve the goals that you had for your future.”

He also felt that is was very beneficial that his instructors were professionals from the field.  “The teachers were excellent. When they taught, it wasn’t just opening up a textbook,’ said Ben.  “It was saying, I’ve encountered this… here’s some ways that I’ve done it.  And you could see it in real-world circumstances, and that made it easier to apply, and easier to understand.”

Ben is still applying much of the knowledge that he gained in his classes at National to his work today as he creates budgets and manages the crews who work on the water and transportation projects that he oversees for the city.

He has also been accepted into the master’s program at Liberty Theological Seminary and plans to continue his education in the area of religious studies.  Whether striving toward his goal of pastoring a church, or growing in his career with city, he feels that everything happens for a reason, and one of the reasons that he was led to attend American National University is clear. “American National University taught me to not be afraid of challenging yourself,” said Ben.

Florence graduate Ben Horgan is employed as project administrator for the City of Florence.

Guest Speaker Addresses How to Combat Test Anxiety

Guest Speaker Addresses How to Combat Test Anxiety

On December 30th, Dr. Joan Miller, a child and family therapist, spoke to Peter Miller’s Prep Math class at the Richmond Campus on the subject of test anxiety. 

Dr. Miller explained how the brain works when it comes to anxiety. The amygdala is the part of the brain that is associated with fear. It makes up a part of the limbic system, a connection of areas of the brain that control emotion and our physical responses to it. When the amygdala is activated, it gives rise to a sensation of fear or feeling under threat, which produces the fight or flight response that enable us to run away or stand our ground and fight for survival. The physical feelings associated with this are trembling, dry mouth, ringing in the ears, tunnel vision and racing heart. This is how anxiety feels in the body.  Dr. Miller shared the following tips for preparing yourself to take a test:
 Be positive!! Give yourself a positive pep talk.
 Be prepared! Study
 Encourage yourself
 Skip problems you cannot answer do the ones you know first, then go back and do the ones you skipped
 Exercise regularly it raises your serotonin levels  “the happiness hormone”
 Get enough sleep, have a regular bedtime
 Eat well before the test—don’t eat a lot of sugar – eat protein.
 Drink plenty of WATER it helps with brain function.
 Take deep breaths - Inhale 5 seconds - Hold 5 seconds - Exhale 5 seconds.
Medical assisting and pharmacy student, Tracey Noe said, “I really appreciated Dr. Miller’s presentation. I struggle with both general anxiety and test anxiety. The tips that she gave us I believe will truly help me.”

(A)Dr. Joan Miller is a child and family therapist who addressed the subject of test anxiety.
(B)Dr. Joan Miller speaks to Mr. Miller’s Prep Math class at the Richmond Campus.


California...Here I Come With My National College Education!

California...Here I Come With My National College Education!

Orlando Guest will be graduating from the Lexington Campus in February with his associate’s degree in information systems engineering and his career goals will eventually take him to the Silicon Valley in Northern California.

Orlando’s passion for repairing and working with computers began when he was eight years old. “While everyone else was going to Conservation Camp…I was going to computer camps. My grandmother, who raised me, felt that computers were going to be a major part of our lives in the future and she bought my first computer around 1990. She also hired one of the technicians to teach me how to use it AND how to repair it. This kind act started a life-long love of computers for me…”

After his second term, Orlando had sufficient certifications to open his own business. He is now the proud owner of Central KY PC Repair.  He said, “My dream has always been to operate my own business – and to practice my career in Silicon Valley. With the help of American National University, I’m on my way. My training with American National University has taken my skill-set to another level. I will be pursuing my bachelor’s degree in the future. The cybersecurity program at National is definitely a possibility but California is calling my name!  Everyone at National has been terrific and they have provided me with the training my chosen profession demands and I’m confident I’m heading to California fully prepared!”

Student Orlando Guest already opened his own computer repair business and plans to take his skills to California.

Graduate Returns to Campus to Conduct Interviews

Graduate Returns to Campus to Conduct Interviews

Amanda Gracie, a graduate of the Louisville Campus who is working as team lead at JenCare Neighborhood Medical Center, recently returned to campus to conduct skills assessments in conjunction with on-site job interviews that were held by JenCare.  Amanda, who was first featured in the December 18, 2012 issue of the National News, began her career at JenCare working as a registered medical assistant. 

“Amanda quickly moved up from a medical assistant, to now team lead,” said Skye Verndon, director of staffing and development for JenCare. “It is a real testimony of what happens when you come aboard our company.  We continue to grow, and we like to promote from within.”

Gontran Moreno Landeros was one of the graduates who impressed Amanda with his skills as he took her blood pressure and other vital signs, and was hired by JenCare a short time later. 

Gontran developed an interest in the medical field after participating in a medical careers program in high school and he enrolled at National after graduating.   “It was close by my house, and it was affordable.  It benefitted me in a good way,” said Gontran, who is a native of Mexico.

Gontran felt that getting the chance to interview with JenCare on campus was a great opportunity for him.  Ms. Verdon and Amanda plan to return to the campus on a regular basis to hold additional on-site interviews.

Medical assisting graduate Gontran Moreno Landeros (r) is shown taking a blood pressure reading for Amanda Gracie (l), a graduate who returned to campus to conduct skills assessments as part of the interview process for JenCare Neighborhood Medical Centers, where she is working as a team lead medical assistant.

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.