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January 27, 2014

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Graduate's Training Helped Her Develop a New Passion for the Medical Field

Graduate's Training Helped Her Develop a New Passion for the Medical Field

“It’s more than just working, it’s more than taking care of people - it’s a passion,” said Princeton Campus graduate Rebekah Durr, describing how she feels about her new career as a registered and certified medical assistant for Bluefield Family Medicine.  Her education and her new passion for health care helped her pass both the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) and the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exams.

Rebekah graduated from the medical assisting program in the spring of 2013.  Since she transferred credits from another local college, she was able to finish the degree program in about a year.

“I was so happy when I came here,” Rebekah said of ANU while comparing her experience to the other college.  She liked that her ANU instructors were always available to help her understand the course materials.  “If you need to practice injections, you can go in the campus’s lab and do it; or if you need to practice blood draws, you can go in there and do it.”

As an extern for Bluefield Family Medicine, Rebekah provided so much valuable support to the clinical and office staff that they created a position for her.  She said she walked into her externship knowing exactly what to do.  “There was never a moment that I stopped and said, ‘What do I do?’…because my instructors prepared me and sent me on my way,” said Rebekah.

Because of her training, Rebekah can support many areas of the medical office. “I’m the floater and the ‘do you need anything’ girl,” explained Rebekah of her position, which includes filling in for the nurses if they are out of the office; checking patients in and escorting them to the exam room; doing blood pressure checks; and obtaining insurance referrals and prior authorizations.

“I do everything that nobody else has time to do,” explained Rebekah. “I love my job!”

As for her future, Rebekah plans to continue her education and earn as many credentials in the medical field as possible.

(A)- Rebekah Durr is pictured with her son at the 2013 Princeton Graduation ceremony.

(B)-Rebekah Durr said that as a medical assistant for Bluefield Family Medicine, she loves her new job.

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More Than 100 Job Seekers Attend Campus Career Fair

More Than 100 Job Seekers Attend Campus Career Fair

Students and members of the public took advantage of the career fair held on January 16th at the Lynchburg Campus.  Fifteen employers were on site to interview students and take résumés.  Among those employers were Dawson Ford Garbee & Company Realtors, Stella & Dot, Bedford Memorial Hospital, Team Nurse, STARTEK, Downtown Networking Association, Adams & Garth Staffing, and the Blue Ridge Re-Entry Council. 

More than 100 job seekers comprised of the campus’s students and the public attended the free event. 

"Having Bedford Memorial Hospital-Carilion on campus opened another door with job opportunities for my passion which is in renal services (dialysis),” said student Angel Cunningham.  “I was able to go online after speaking with Christy Lucy and complete an application in that field.  I'm really looking for a medical assistant job or something to work my way up and to enhance my career.”

"At least two ANU students are really excited about learning more about the company and how they can launch a career with Stella & Dot," said Liesel Lancaster, Stella & Dot senior stylist.

(A) Pictured (l) to (r) are: Christy Lucy of Bedford Memorial Hospital/Carilion and student Angel Cunningham, Liesel Lancaster of Stella & Dot Accessories & student Jasmine Waller

(B)-Pictured (l) to (r):  Christy Miller of StarTek, Venecia Pollard of Team Nurse, Hannah Watson of Adams and Garth Staffing, Christy Lucy of Bedford Memorial Hospital, Liesel Lancaster of Stella & Dot (Home Based Business).  Jennifer Price, student (center).


Veteran’s Information and Career Fair Held on Campus

Veteran’s Information and Career Fair Held on Campus

On Thursday, January 16th, the Akron Area Campus held an information and career fair for veterans.  Many area employers attended, including Kent Credit Union, Speedway convenience stores, Lowe’s, GE Capital, and Starbucks.

The event was held to honor and help veterans find employment opportunities and gain information regarding benefits they may be entitled to.  The veterans fair was supported by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services which was also present to offer help and support. 

Monica Goins of Dollar Bank said, “This event was effective in reaching so many people for many different opportunities.”  Gail Philips of GE Capital said, “[We] met a lot of great people at American National University, and many potential candidates.“

“I think job fairs are incredible,” said current student Carla Cline.  “You get to meet and interact with people you might not be able to under normal circumstances.”  Student Cori Martter said, “There were a lot of good resources and opportunities available.  It was definitely worth my time.”  Army veteran and current student, Dave Lyon said, “It was really helpful.  It was great to see so many opportunities available to everyone.” 

(A)-Terry Lemmon of Speedway convenience stores (r), speaks with student Christine Ramsey. 

(B)-Representatives from GE Capital, Colleen Owen (l), and Gail Phillips (r).

Tour of the University of Notre Dame’s Cancer Research Facility

Tour of the University of Notre Dame’s Cancer Research Facility

Toni Page-Mayberry, adjunct medical instructor at the South Bend Campus, is a full-time tissue bank coordinator with the Harper Cancer Research Institute (HCRI) at the University of Notre Dame (UND).  Early on a cold windy non-football Saturday morning, Toni gave the medical assisting and medical billing and coding students a special tour of the campus’s facility and laboratory.  It was fascinating to see the magnitude of scientific equipment provided to the researchers, faculty, and students from the University of Notre Dame and Indiana University of South Bend who are working in conjunction with the local medical community in a variety of areas. 

Two medical billing and coding program students, Stefanie Freeman and Sheila Waters,  were most impressed with how informative the tour was and how extremely passionate Toni is about her work.  Stefanie said, “I learned many interesting facts about microbiology,” and Sheila said, “I have not yet had Ms. Mayberry as an instructor, but I hope to have her for class because she is amazing.” 

HCRI is a non-profit organization with investigators who are dedicated to conducting innovative and integrative research that confronts the complex challenges of cancer.  Their programmatic structure fosters multi-disciplinary cancer research by promoting interactions among research groups with distinct expertise and by training young scientists to work across scientific fields. Clinical partnerships provide key translational insight and strengthen the mission of discovery. 

The students’ exposure to this environment was definitely eye opening to them and continued to feed their thirst for knowledge in their chosen careers.

Pictured (l) to (r): Toni Page-Mayberry,instructor; Sheila Waters, student, Stefanie Freeman, student; Sharia Howell, student; Latoya Bradshaw, student; Christina Thomas, MAA student; Brenda Smith, student;  Robyn Stachowiak, instructor; and Mary Mathews, career center director.

Campus Participates in Active Shooter Drill

Campus Participates in Active Shooter Drill

Imagine you are sitting in the waiting room of your doctor’s office when a gunman comes barging in and begins shooting.  Or you are visiting a loved one in the hospital when gun fire breaks out along one of the hallways on the floor you are currently on.  For many of us, this is a reality we only see in Hollywood movies, but students from ANU’s paramedic and medical assisting programs, got to experience it. 

ANU students and faculty of the Roanoke Valley Campus participated in the LewisGale Medical Center mock active shooter drill on December 11th.  The drill was conducted in conjunction with the City of Salem Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team and the Salem City Fire and EMS practice drill.  All participants simulated wounded or dead victims that SWAT would encounter as they entered the building and began their sweep to find the active shooter hiding among those in the building.  Drills such as these are used to determine how law enforcement, fire and EMS, and even hospital administrators/staff would respond and act if such an incident was to occur inside the hospital.

All victims were considered suspects until it was determined who the active shooter was and that he or she was in custody.  Once that was complete, SWAT team members began triaging victims.  Karen Harris, an EMT student, participated in the drill and had this to say about the experience: “I felt the active shooter drill was interesting, although, I feel the officers went by how the wounds looked and didn’t assess properly causing more loss of life.  I had a good time and it was a great learning experience for me.” 

Anthony Harbour, EMT Instructor, participated and had this to say:

“It was an interesting event as it was designed as an emergency preparedness event for the facility; however, it provided the students from ANU with an opportunity to learn about how EMS, fire and law enforcement personnel approach a mass casualty incident.  It was a well-organized event and the moulaged injuries were realistic.  I observed some of the triage process conducted by Salem Fire and EMS as part of the event.  Overall, I felt the event was a success for all involved as there was something to learn for all participants.  I am grateful for the opportunity to participate and for my EMT-120 students to have the opportunity to participate in the event.”

Amanda Akers, a paramedic student, participated in the event and unfortunately was a casualty suffering a gunshot wound to the head.   As she lay “deceased” behind a desk, the clinical coordinator for the paramedic program, Lisa Harbert, sat up against a wall across from Amanda suffering from a gunshot wound to the chest.  Lisa enjoyed the experience but said it was not realistic enough in regards to the fact that the wounded victims were not allowed to move and could not reach out to the officers for assistance.  At one point she was trapped between the gunfire exchanged between the SWAT team and the active shooter and she felt in real life she would have moved from the location.

Overall, those who participated enjoyed the experience and for many it was their first time being part of a large training exercise.

Pictured are participants of the Active Shooter Drill at the Roanoke Valley Campus.

Cincinnati Campus Hosts Health Services Association Meeting

Cincinnati Campus Hosts Health Services Association Meeting

The Cincinnati Campus recently hosted a meeting of the Ohio River Valley Chapter of the National Association of Health Services Executives.  The association works to promote the advancement of black professionals in health care administration through education, mentorship and collaboration. 

Yonathan Kebede, with Premier Health Partners of Dayton, Ohio, was the featured speaker of the evening.  His presentation outlined the process of becoming board certified in health care management and a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Campus director Gary McGee welcomed the group and applauded them for the difficult work that they do in meeting their patients’ needs, as well as the regulatory demands of the government.  “It’s a very dynamic and changing industry…I’m just in awe and impressed with what you’re doing,” said Gary.

The group has included students from the campus in some meetings, and they are considering starting a student chapter at the school.  “Someday we want to see some of our students accelerate through their career so that they might join, and eventually be healthcare executives like yourselves,” Gary added.

“I get to meet a lot of professionals,” said Blair Sharp, a business administration-management student who attended the meeting and added that he enjoys networking with the group.  Blair will be conducting an externship with the organization in which he will assist with maintaining the group’s website.

Yonathan Kebede (pictured) was the featured speaker at the Cincinnati Campus who spoke about the process of becoming board certified in health care management.

Difference Maker – Librarian - Kimberly Hitt

Difference Maker – Librarian - Kimberly Hitt

Kimberly Hitt—Difference Maker at the Parkersburg Campus


• ANU staff member since the campus opened in 2011
• Recipient of 2012 Outstanding College Member of the Year award for the Parkersburg Campus

Previously worked as a public school librarian

“As a lifelong lover of books and reading, becoming a librarian was an obvious career choice for me.  As a former public school librarian and as a homeschooling mom, I have learned to help students break down a task into manageable pieces.  That is a big help as I assist our students in doing research and writing papers.  What seems like an insurmountable task becomes much less daunting when it is broken down into bite-sized pieces.

“I admire the fact that many of our students have returned to school after a long break in their education in order to better themselves and their families.  Many of them work long hours at a job and then come to challenging classes so they can build a better life and prepare for a new career.  That takes a great deal of determination and courage and I admire our students for that.

“One student in particular comes to mind when I think of a transformation.  This student would come into the library to work on homework on the computers and was just totally overwhelmed by it all.  The computer work was confusing.  The classes were challenging.  For a while, I wasn’t sure if she was going to stick it out.  But she did stick with it. Her confidence grew. Her whole countenance changed and now she is a truly successful student who helps other students when they are frustrated and overwhelmed.  I smile every time I see her, because she is an example of why we do what we do.

“The best part of being a part of the ANU staff is seeing students learn, grow and move on into successful careers.  The pride I see on our students’ faces and on the faces of their families at graduation is a testimony to the hard work that our staff and faculty put into our jobs.”

Librarian Kimberly Hitt is pictured helping student Beverly Edwards.

Graduate Helps Veterans Transition into Civilian Life

Graduate Helps Veterans Transition into Civilian Life

As a military wife and mother, Nadine Johnson developed a passion for helping veterans maximize their career success as they transition into civilian life.  After a long and successful career working for Humana, Nadine herself recently made a dramatic career change where she’s sharing that passion working in the job of her dreams as a counselor for the Fort Knox Army Career and Alumni Program (ACAP).

Nadine first began working at Humana when she was a student in the health information technology (now health information management) program at the Louisville Campus. She enrolled in the program because she felt that it was a new and exciting field, and that it would give her the opportunity to build a career working in the administrative side of health care.  

After graduating from American National University with her associate’s degree in 2001, and becoming certified as a registered health information technologist, Nadine earned a number of promotions at Humana. “I just continued my career from there, and still continued my education, as well.  I just kept moving up,” recalled Nadine, who went on to earn her bachelor’s degree and MBA.

While working at Humana, she was eventually promoted into management where she discovered that she loved to help others develop their potential, “especially if they’re struggling on what they want to do with their life,” she said. “I just loved seeing people being promoted, and using the knowledge and grabbing that skill set that they know that they have, weak or strong, and turning it into something new.”

In her new job, she enjoys assisting soldiers with their transition into civilian life..  “God opened up the door so I’m going to leap in there,” she said of the opportunity to work for ACAP. “It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do, especially with the veterans.”

She plans to begin a second master’s program in counseling in the spring, and she also hopes to earn her PhD, and to eventually teach.  She feels that her degree from American National University was a stepping stone to all that she’s accomplished.  “It just opened me up for a whole lot of other opportunities,” she said. “Once I got my associate’s, I just continued on and kept on moving.”

Graduate Nadine Johnson has found her dream job working as a counselor for the Fort Knox Army Career and Alumni Program.

Dedication, Hard Work, and Determination Is a Winning Formula for a New Career

Dedication, Hard Work, and Determination Is a Winning Formula for a New Career

When Lakeisha Higgins enrolled in the medical assisting program at the Lexington Campus in 2012, she knew she had taken on a real challenge.  As a single mother who was also working full-time, Lakeisha knew she was going to have to become a master at juggling work, home, and school duties.  “I was tired of dead-end jobs.  I wanted a career…and the only way to get that career was to go to college.  I knew it would never get any easier, so I jumped in and didn’t look back.”

“I loved my time at American National University,” said Lakeisha.  “The flexible schedule allowed me to work and attend classes.  The teachers were wonderful – always there to help and motivate me.  My training paved the way for my new life and career.”

Lakeisha completed an externship with Colorectal Surgical and Gastroenterology Associates in Lexington and said this about her experience:

“I had never pictured myself in an internal-medicine career…but I absolutely loved it from the very first day.  The doctors and staff were terrific, the pace was fast, and no two days were ever the same.  As my externship was coming to a close, they actually offered me a full-time job – which I eagerly accepted. I work in administration, medical records, assist during surgical procedures, and my favorite part of all is working one-on-one with our patients. I absolutely love my job and my training at American National University made this possible!”

Lakeisha Higgins was hired full-time after completing her externship at Colorectal Surgical and Gastroenterology Associates in Lexington, KY.

Student Gains Confidence and Experience during Externship

Student Gains Confidence and Experience during Externship

When  Johnathan Hardin, a student at the Danville, Kentucky Campus, completes his pharmacy technician program in February, he will begin his job search with confidence after completing an externship with Walgreens Pharmacy.

The 8-week externship, which is a part of every pharmacy technician student’s program at American National University, gave Johnathan the opportunity to work side-by-side with professionals in the field, filling prescriptions and caring for the pharmacy’s customers.

Johnathan became interested in becoming a pharmacy technician after he helped care for and provide medications to his grandfather when he was ill.  He found National through an internet search and applied online.  “I liked it because it was a small school.  Classes were smaller, and it was [more budget-friendly] than other places that I looked at,” he said.

Johnathan said that during the externship he has enjoyed meeting his customers, getting to know his co-workers, and learning more about how medications are dispensed.  “I think it will give me a pretty big advantage, said Johnathan.  “I already got my foot in the door, and now I know how to do all of that,” he said of the experience.  “I think that will help me just that much more with finding a job.”

Soon-to-be graduate Johnathan Hardin is conducting an 8-week externship with Walgreens Pharmacy.

Nursing Program Graduate Plans to Continue Education

Nursing Program Graduate Plans to Continue Education

Jessica Pinion is a graduate of the Pikeville Campus’ nursing program.  She had been working as a customer service representative at Walmart for seven years when she decided to further her education.  Jessica started the nursing program because of the night class schedule.  She said that the program was very rigorous and time consuming.  Although the program consumed her life, it was very exciting.  Jessica had to sacrifice time with her children during the two years, but she and her family knew it was well worth the opportunity.  Jessica was hired at Pikeville Medical Center after passing the national exam and becoming a registered nurse with the Kentucky Board of Nursing.  Jessica believes that the instructors of the program really prepared her for her career, and she feels that she is very prepared for any circumstance or emergency that she may encounter in the hospital.  She said that she cannot imagine getting her nursing degree anywhere else.  She plans on pursuing her bachelor’s degree this fall and plans to continue her education to obtain her Master’s degree in Nursing.   Jessica said, “Anyone thinking about entering the nursing program at American National University should know that it is hard work and requires sacrifice, but do not give up because there is a reason it is so hard.  It really will help you when you start your career.”

Graduate Jessica Pinion is a registered nurse who was hired by Pikeville Medical Center. 

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.