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January 20, 2014

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Graduate Gets Right to the Point at National College

Graduate Gets Right to the Point at National College

Alyssa Biltz came to American National University’s Akron Area Campus after spending two years at a nearby state college—a time she calls “pointless.”

“National was more student-oriented and wanted to see you succeed,” said Alyssa.  At her previous school, she received little personal attention and no one seemed to care about the individual student.  In contrast, American National University offered a family atmosphere with faculty and staff “to help you along with whatever you needed,” she added.

Interested in the medical field, Alyssa decided that pharmacy tech was the right program for her.  She credits her instructors, especially pharmacy technician program chair Frances Nicholson, with her academic success.  “She led me to push myself, to want to do better,” said Alyssa.  That hard work allowed Alyssa to pass her certification exam and earn the title of certified pharmacy technician.

It paid off for Alyssa with not one, but two job offers from pharmacies where she completed portions of her externship.  After working for CVS, she subsequently took a position with Klein’s Pharmacy.  “The people, they’re very outgoing and very family oriented,” Alyssa said of her workplace.  The busy pharmacy also keeps her on her toes, which she enjoys.

Ultimately, it was National’s same family atmosphere that led to her career success.  “I never studied so much in my life,” Alyssa explained.  “The people that I was with, my friends, and the teachers, made me want to do that.”

Graduate Alyssa Biltz is working as a certified pharmacy technician. 


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Relatives Enter Pharmacy Tech Program Together

Relatives Enter Pharmacy Tech Program Together

Brandy Armour and Rachel Cox have a few things in common.  They are both in the pharmacy tech program at the Bartlett Campus, and they are also related to each other – aunt and niece.  Brandy had seen a commercial on television about National College, researched the college online, and saw that it was for her.  Brandy said, “[Pharmacy] is a career I have wanted to do since high school.”

Rachel heard about National from her aunt, Brandy.  “I chose this program because I am very friendly and work well with others,” said Rachel.   “I love the medical field but I don’t like the ‘blood’ part of nursing.”  Both Brandy and Rachel plan to work in a hospital pharmacy when they graduate in April, 2015. 

Brandy was a stay-at-home mom with three children.  “My goals are to be working and on my own with my three children,” said Brandy.  “[National] is getting me prepared for the workforce and job ready.  I feel that I have made the right decision in choosing National because I am able to get a job in a career that I’ve wanted to do.”

What is the best thing about National College?  Rachel said, “I like that all my teachers are willing to help me with any questions I have.  All my teachers and classes make a positive impact on me.”  Brandy says the best thing is, “[National] fits my schedule and is “hands-on” in everything.”

Both Brandy and Rachel would recommend the college to those seeking new careers.  Rachel says, “It’s a way of bettering oneself.”

Niece Rachel Cox and Aunt Brandy Armour are preparing for a new career in pharmacy technology.

Twins Now Have College Education in Common

Twins Now Have College Education in Common

Twins Cortney and Kristen Frazier began attending the Stow Campus in September. Both are interested in the medical field, but Kristen will be focusing on surgical technology and Cortney on health information management.

Prior to enrolling at American National University, Cortney and Kristen were living with their grandmother and working part-time. They decided to go to college to better themselves and become better prepared for a career.

“The faculty and staff are incredible—especially Miss Deb (director of healthcare education Deb Tymchio),” said Kristen.

They both also really appreciate assistance from Selinda McCumbers in the admissions department and Karl Hegyi, career center director. “[They] make coming to class even more enjoyable,” said Cortney.  They both agreed that they would encourage others to go to college.   

Twins Cortney and Kristen Frazier were led to enroll at the Stow Campus.

Difference Maker - Administrative Assistant - Kelly Oehmke

Difference Maker - Administrative Assistant - Kelly Oehmke


Kelly Oehmke at the Charlottesville Campus


Administrative Assistant


ANU staff member since 2013


  • Obtained business and family conflict resolution certification from Lakewood College
  • Currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in organizational psychology through Florida Tech


“I try to extend myself to meet the needs of the students whenever possible. I greatly appreciate when an unexpected person goes far out of their way in order to impact my life in a small and positive way, and I strive to do the same for our students.

“I appreciate all the diverse paths of life that each student comes from. Many of the students that attend ANU are balancing commitments that require a lot of time, ranging from financial responsibilities to raising a family. Also, most of the students live in surrounding counties and travel a while in order to meet the demands of completing higher education and fulfill their commitment.

“By far the most rewarding part of my job is being able to learn from the staff and faculty every single day. We have a stellar and cooperative team. Each member of the faculty is extremely educated and enriched with life experiences that reveal success and adventure. They offer unique and intellectual insight that can be implemented into any life scenario. I feel extremely privileged to be working side by side with these individuals.”

Kelly Oehmke is an administrative assistant and Difference Maker at the Charlottesville Campus.



ANU Jump-Starts Career for Graduate

ANU Jump-Starts Career for Graduate

Katie Smith graduated with a diploma as a medical office specialist from the Martinsville Campus in November.  Before entering college, Katie was a stay-at-home mom and decided to enroll in college to pursue a career when her child was a little older.  Her goal while attending college was to find a position working in an office environment.  Even before graduation, Katie was searching the local area for job openings in the medical office field.  Recently, Katie was hired full-time at Lockman Associates Insurance, Incorporated in Martinsville, Virginia.

Katie believes the classes in the medical office specialist program were centered on career preparation.  The small class size offered at ANU was one of the items that appealed to Katie when deciding where to attend college.  The smaller classroom setting helped the instructions to give one-on-one if needed.  “American National University prepared me very well,” said Katie.   “I was not nervous at all about my knowledge."  Katie knew after the first term that she had made the right decision by enrolling at ANU.  Katie would especially like to thank her instructor, Elizabeth Stanley.   Elizabeth’s Environmental Science community service was an experience that she will never forget.  She learned a lot about the county and it made her feel better as a person along with looking at things differently.  She would also recommend the college to other students.  Katie said, “It was worth every minute, because the education enabled me to obtain employment and have the weekends off to spend time with my family”.

Graduate Katie Smith was recently hired by Lockman Associates Insurance, Incorported in Martinsville, Virginia.

Cardiology and Heart Disease Specialist Speaks to Medical Students

Cardiology and Heart Disease Specialist Speaks to Medical Students

Dr. T. Joseph Pond, a retired cardiologist and heart disease specialist, recently visited the Lynchburg Campus to educate students on medicinal practices during the days of Thomas Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson was a renaissance man who had knowledge in many areas.  He was the founder of the University of Virginia but he was not a fan of physicians at all.  He has been quoted as saying “healthcare was worse than that of total ignorance.”  Thus, Jefferson researched different ways to give and receive treatment.  The speech was titled “Jefferson Care,” playing off of today’s “Obama Care.”

Dr. Pond has spent an incredible amount of time researching and reading Thomas Jefferson’s notes and letters he exchanged with various doctors.   Dr. Pond spoke about some of the remedies and/or treatments for many different ailments of this time period.  Jefferson believed that a healthy diet could solve most everything.   His Monticello property included more than 80,000 square feet of garden space for herbs and produce for the sole purpose of creating a healthy diet.  Thomas Jefferson believed in five principles of good health: eat vegetables, limit red meat by using it as a condiment for vegetables, limit alcohol intake, exercise at least two hours daily, and do not use tobacco.  These tips were recommended then and still are today.  However, often physicians simply prescribe medications for ailments which could likely be solved naturally.

The students were very interested in the presentation and learning the various ways of administering health care during that time period. They all were intrigued by some of the medicines and treatments.  The students were very lucky to receive the medical history lesson and learned that research and innovation has greatly improved our knowledge of the medical field.  Callie Burton, medical assisting student said, “I thought the presentation was very interesting because I never really linked Thomas Jefferson to healthcare, gardening, and medicines as much as I did politics and what he did for our country.” 

Dr. Pond, a cardiology and heart disease specialist, speaks to medical students at the Lynchburg Campus.


Campus Sponsors Regional Career Fair

Campus Sponsors Regional Career Fair

The Roanoke Valley Campus was one of the sponsors of the Career, Lifestyle, & Financial Fitness Fair held at the Roanoke Civic Center on Thursday, January 16th. 

Seventy four organizations were represented offering opportunities for individuals in the Roanoke area. 

ANU student Ye In Kwon of South Korea attended because she was looking for internship or volunteer opportunities.  Other students of the Roanoke Valley Campus, Shaunita Edwards and Amberi Fink, decided to come to browse the various employers.  Both are second term business administration majors.  Shaunita said, “National is great for someone that needs one-on-one.  The teachers are outgoing.”  She added that she loves ANU and that a lot of it is because of the knowledge gained in class leads to happiness.

ANU had representatives present to talk with attendees about the various programs that were offered.  Several people expressed an interest in being adjunct instructors for the campus.  Kristal Bushong, career center director for the Roanoke Valley Campus, said:

“ANU has been a supporter of the annual Career, Lifestyle, & Financial Fitness Fair for several years.   This is a valuable commitment to our students and the employers that our campus serves in Roanoke and the New River Valley.  I was excited to see that so many of our students came prepared and well dressed for the event and presented themselves so well in a professional manner to showcase their individual talents.

(A)-Students Shaunita Edwards and Amberi Fink attended the Career, Lifestyle & Financial Fitness Fair sponsored by the Roanoke Valley Campus.

(B)-Kristal Bushong, career center director of the Roanoke Valley Campus is speaking with Ray Bare, a recruiter with Adecco Employment Services in Roanoke.

Graduate Took Advantage of Retraining Resources to Maximize Career Success

Graduate Took Advantage of Retraining Resources to Maximize Career Success

When Jennifer Pendergraft lost her job of ten years, she decided to use the resources available to her to turn the challenge of unemployment into an opportunity to train for a rewarding new career.  With funding through the Trade Adjustment Act (TAA), which provides training to those who lose their jobs when work is sent overseas, she earned her pharmacy technician diploma at the Danville, Kentucky Campus and she is working as a certified pharmacy technician in the Walmart Pharmacy. 

“When I lost my job, I thought there wasn’t any hope.  Because it went overseas, I was able to come back [to school] with the trade act,” she explained. “I didn’t have to pay anything to go back to school. That was a really big help.”

Although Jennifer was nervous about coming back to school after being out for so many years, she committed herself to her program, and maintained a 4.0 grade point average and perfect attendance in her classes.
I really enjoyed coming here to school. They prepared me for what it is like to be a pharmacy tech,” she said. “They helped get me certified. There was a certification class my last semester that really helped prepare me for [the certification test]. It gives you the knowledge that you need to do the job.”

In addition, she took advantage of several features of her program at National which were available to help maximize her career success, including an externship in a local pharmacy, certification in her field, and the services of the career center.

Jennifer is thrilled with the career transition that she has been able to make thanks to the TAA funding and her program at American National University.  She loves working as a trusted member of the pharmacy team that helps to keep her family, friends, and others in her community healthy.  “It’s really kind of exciting to help them out,” she said of the service that she provides.  “A lot of them really appreciate it whenever you can answer their questions and get them the medicines they need.”

Graduate Jennifer Pendergraft is a certified pharmacy technician in the Walmart Pharmacy in Danville, Kentucky.

Xerox and National College - Spotlight on a Long-Term Partner

Xerox and National College - Spotlight on a Long-Term Partner

The Lexington Campus hosted one of its regular ‘Community Spotlight’ events on Tuesday, January 7th with featured representatives from Xerox Business Services, LLC.  American National University’s affiliation with Xerox began six years ago when they joined us as a Partner in Education and this partnership continues to grow.  Xerox currently has two expanding Lexington locations and both have a growing need for qualified individuals in information technology, administration, call-center sales, and management.  In addition to these areas, their second location also has a medical division which provides positions for pharmacy technicians, medical call-center positions, medical insurance claims, and billing/coding positions.

Xerox Business Services recruiter Candi Hambrick has worked with the campus since the partnership with Xerox began six years ago.  Candi said, “Our relationship with American National University is a great one.  As our businesses expand…we need more and more qualified employees – and National’s graduates bring a lot of expertise to those positions.”

Lynne Pritchard recently joined the second Xerox location as Senior Recruiter/Talent Acquisition – HPP and had this to say about our graduates: “I’ve only been in this position with Xerox for six-months, but American National University is a life-saver for us – providing highly qualified employees for many of our positions.  We sincerely appreciate the opportunity to work with American National University,” said Lynne.

Candi Hambrick (l), Xerox Business Services Recruiter and Lynne Pritchard (r), Senior Recruiter/Talent Acquisition – HPP were featured representatives from Xerox Business Services, LLC.

Graduate Begins Triaging Patients on Her First Day of Work

Graduate Begins Triaging Patients on Her First Day of Work

Tera Smith, a graduate of the medical assisting program at the Pikeville Campus, came to American National University after being encouraged by her mother-in-law, Donna Smith, who is a graduate of National.  Tera said that she had always wanted to enter the medical field but with a growing family felt she would not be able to attend the classes.   When she heard that the college offered both day and evening classes, she felt she could not pass up the opportunity to attend.  

In November, Tera completed the medical assisting program.  She received a phone call for an interview the day after she sat for the medical assisting certification.  Tera recently started working at Dr. Charles Lowe’s office as a medical assistant.  “National has provided me with the skills and knowledge to be able to start triaging patients on the first day of work,” said Tera.  “I am confident of my abilities and education that I have obtained.” She admits, while being a bit nervous, she couldn’t be more excited about her new career.

Medical assisting graduate Tera Smith is excited about her new career.

Guest Speaker Provides a Lesson on Overcoming Adversity

Guest Speaker Provides a Lesson on Overcoming Adversity

Students, staff, and visitors at the Florence Campus received an inspiring lesson in overcoming adversity, and learned first-hand about the resiliency of the human spirit, when Werner Coppel, a speaker from the Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education, recently shared his personal experiences as a Holocaust survivor.

In his presentation, Mr. Coppel, who is 88 years old, described the horrendous conditions that he endured as a prisoner in the Auschwitz concentration camp. He also recounted his escape during a Death March when he instinctively ran into the woods and eventually made it behind Russian lines to freedom. Tragically, his mother, father, and brother were killed during the Holocaust.

Mr. Coppel came to the United States with his wife and baby in 1949, and settled in the Cincinnati area.  Although the tattoo that he received as an identification number at Auschwitz has faded with time and is no longer visible, the persecution that he experienced as a Jew living in Nazi Germany will impact his life forever. 

“I hoped that I had left hate and prejudice on the blood-soaked earth of Germany, but hate and prejudice is with us in this country,” said Mr. Coppel. “My goal at all times… is to stand up to hate and prejudice, even if it doesn’t affect you.”  He encouraged the audience to do the same.

Medical assisting student Kristen Robertson was glad that she had the opportunity to hear Mr. Coppel speak. “He is a very interesting man. He’s been through a lot, and he’s handled it very, very well,” she said. “I’m glad American National University was able to get him to talk to us about thatstrong period of time in history.”
Anissa Hersi, a medical assisting student who is a native of Somalia, also found Mr. Coppel’s visit very inspiring. “It was an amazing day,” said Anissa.  “It was emotional and he was really interesting.  I am glad [to have had the chance] to be with him today.”

Holocaust survivor, Werner Coppel, speaks to students, staff, and visitors at the Florence 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.