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February 10, 2014

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Association Manager Strikes Career Success with Business Skills Gained at National

Association Manager Strikes Career Success with Business Skills Gained at National

Mary McClay first got hooked on bowling in 1969 when she was a sophomore in high school, and she has been involved in the sport ever since. “Bowling has always been a part of my life. I loved it the minute I started it,” she recalled.  But in her work as the manager of the Ohio USBC Women’s Bowling Association, Mary explained that it’s not all fun and games and “there’s more to this than going and throwing the ball down a lane.”

At the association office, Mary has a wide variety of duties—from coordinating tournaments and annual meetings, to developing marketing and promotional campaigns, and assisting local associations--and she is using the skills gained in her business administration-management, accounting, and office technology professional programs at the Dayton Area Campus to accomplish them all. 

While she has seen the great impact that her business classes have had on her work for the association, Mary wasn’t really thinking about going back to school when she bumped into fellow bowler and American National University instructor Wilbert Morris, who suggested that she should come to American National University to get the training that she needed to maximize her effectiveness on the job.

She was 54 at the time, and somewhat hesitant to return to school, thinking that many of the students would be half her age.  But once in class, she found that she fit right in, although as a professional working in the field, she often felt that she had a greater appreciation of the knowledge that was being shared than the younger students, because she was able to instantly apply it on the job.  “When I was in the classes, I’m thinking ‘OK, this can make my job a lot easier,’” she recalled of the classes which included accounting, Microsoft Office, marketing, and contract law. “I hope that when they get out and get into a job, they can really see the difference that it makes.”

While going to school and working full time at the association office was a challenge, Mary graduated with honors and was the recipient of the Joseph E. Hurn Award, which is presented for high academic achievement.  “I graduated with honors, but it shocked me.  They pushed me through, the instructors there, they’re behind you 110%,” she explained. 

"Who knew when I ran in to Mr. Morris?” Mary asked with a shrug, amazed at all she’s accomplished since that day.  She still turns to her instructors from the Dayton Area Campus whenever she has a question, and she feels confident knowing that free refresher courses are always available. “The support is probably the biggest thing that I took out of there,” she said. “It’s made a big difference in my life.”

Graduate Mary McClay is using her education received at the Dayton Area Campus every day.

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ANU Education is Preparing Student for His Pharmacy Career

ANU Education is Preparing Student for His Pharmacy Career

James Speake was a full-time student finishing up an associate’s degree at a community college when he decided to switch directions.  His ultimate career goal is to one day become a pharmacist, and he hopes to be able to work as a pharmacy technician and gain hands-on experience while attending pharmacy school.  Although the college he was attending offered a pharmacy technician program, James decided to research other options.  He began searching for pharmacy technician programs in the area and selected the Lynchburg Campus.  Of his decision to switch schools, James said, “The program at ANU was more appealing because the instructors have been working in the field for a long time and can give insight into what it’s really like to be on the job, problems you may face and how to overcome those, and the ins and outs of the pharmacy trade.”

James feels his ANU education is making him well-prepared for his journey to becoming a pharmacist.  “They teach everything, from the technical side- medications, dosages & calculations- but also how to deal with customers, which is very important,” he explains.  “You can have all the technical attributes but be lacking in customer care and customer satisfaction.”

He has been particularly pleased with the level of expertise available in the ANU faculty. “By coming here, you’re definitely going to get a quality education; you’re going to get an education from people who have been working in the field in that profession and have been doing it for a long time,” he says. “That, to me, is the most valuable asset of the school, is that they have put professors in the classrooms that have actually worked in that field professionally at a high level.”

He also appreciates that ANU offers externship opportunities for students, and he is looking forward to beginning his next term.  “I like that you get to have an externship, which gives you on-the-job training to be prepared when you go to find employment,” he says.  Upon graduating, James will be moving on to pursue a bachelor’s degree in biology/pre-pharmacy at West Virginia University, where he has already been accepted.  His ultimate educational goal is to obtain his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the West Virginia University School of Pharmacy.

“I’ve learned a tremendous amount,” James says of his ANU experience.  “It’s definitely been challenging, and that’s what I look for.  Challenge is part of making sure that you know what you’re doing when you’re on the job.”

Pharmacy technician department chair Jane Wright sees a bright future for James.  “He is the most goal-oriented student I’ve had,” she says. “He is very focused. He’s going to go far and this diploma program is just the jumping off point for him.  He’s got the drive and motivation, and it’s a wonderful thing to see.”

Pharmacy Technician student James Speake is pictured with program director Jane Wright. “Ms. Wright has influenced me in a positive way and has made me press forward even farther toward my dreams of becoming a pharmacist,” he says.

Students Participate in Job Fair and Blood Drive

Students Participate in Job Fair and Blood Drive

Bartlett Campus students were visited by companies at its latest job fair on Tuesday, January 28th.  Despite the cold temperatures outside, 22 students participated in the event.

Some of the companies represented at the job fair were Wells Fargo Bank, PharMEDium, Aerotek, Sam’s Club, Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, and Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs.  Wayne McMichael, of the Department of Labor & Workforce Development, and Bobby Shields of the Department of Veterans Affairs, shared job information relating to veterans. 

Jackie Wilson is a medical assisting student and veteran with the Army National Guard.  “The job fair helped me because it was a mixture of employers present, so I didn’t feel like it was for just one program that the school offers,” said Jackie.  “Everyone should go to the job fair even if you already have a current employer because you never know if there’s a better job waiting for you.”

“We always appreciate the employers taking time out of their busy schedules to spend time at the Bartlett Campus to talk with our students,” said Sammie Q. Hawkins, career center director.  Sammie was very pleased that one of the recent pharmacy tech grads was interviewed and hired by PharMEDium, the national leader in customized pharmacy sterile compounding for intravenous and epidural therapies.

In conjunction with the job fair, the local LifeBlood bloodmobile was present.   Ten students and staff donated blood.

A-Student DeSean Walton receives information from Aerotek Recruiters.

B-Student LaShaunta Wright speaks with Kevin Cruse, recruiter for PharMEDium.

Students are Making a Difference in the Community

Students are Making a Difference in the Community

Information technology students from the Parkersburg Campus are donating their time to the local Boys and Girls Club to bring some updated service to the children who gather there.  According to executive director Ben Shuman, the goal of the Boys and Girls Club of Parkersburg is to provide a safe, positive place for area children to gather after school, on the weekends, and over the summer.  The club provides services such as homework assistance, physical fitness, and character building activities for children ages six to eighteen. 

The center is currently working on upgrading their technology and doing some repair. That is where ANU’s students are stepping in to fill the void.  ANU’s students will be working with the club to install projectors, servers and Ethernet lines. They will also be dealing with server issues and performing basic computer repair and upgrades. This partnership promises to be a win/win situation for both the students and the club. Instructor Susan Stout explains, “The students are going to receive some practical experience using the skills they have learned in class, and the club will receive valuable assistance in providing services to the children they serve.” This group of ANU students will be working with the club for the remainder of this term and into the next one. “Hopefully this will become a long term partnership between the [university] and the Boys and Girls Club,” said Ms. Stout.  “We can both benefit from this situation, but the children that the club serves will be the real winners.”

IT students from the Parkersburg Campus are donating their time to the local Boys and Girls Club.

After He Serves His Country, Student Wants to Serve Others in the Medical Field

After He Serves His Country, Student Wants to Serve Others in the Medical Field

Marcus Florence is currently serving the country in the Army National Guard. He decided to get an education so he would be prepared for a new career when his service ends.  After a little research that led him to ANU’s Roanoke Valley Campus, he enrolled in the emergency medical technology – paramedic program.  The experience he has gained from two deployments in Iraq will no doubt help him in the emergency medical field.

With an extensive medical lab and mock medical scenarios that simulate real emergencies, Marcus enjoys the hands-on learning that takes place at ANU.  “The instructors are very knowledgeable,” he said as he explained the value of the mock emergencies that he has been a part of. 

In addition to his GI Bill, Marcus received tuition assistance from the university’s exclusive Blue Ribbon and Armed Services Recognition Grants.  He has not had any out-of-pocket tuition expenses.
After he finishes his education, Marcus hopes to work as a flight paramedic or a firefighter.

Marcus Florence (left) is pictured practicing a blood pressure check on fellow student Hailey Jeffries.

Company Hires Graduates, Students, and Allows Employee to Serve on the University Advisory Board

Company Hires Graduates, Students, and Allows Employee to Serve on the University Advisory Board

The Martinsville Campus of American National University presented a Distinguished Community Employer Award to the Blue Ridge Rehab Center on Thursday, January 30th.  The Distinguished Community Employer Award was developed by the university to recognize community employers who support ANU graduates and students through employment, internship opportunities, or tuition assistance.  John Scott, campus director, presented the award to Blue Ridge chief executive officer Christopher Oswald with other employees in attendance.

In his remarks, John cited the importance of the Blue Ridge facility in helping meet health care needs in Martinsville and Henry County.  He pointed out that health demand is growing rapidly, and that Blue Ridge has increased its number of employees to approximately 350 to meet patient needs.  The Rehabilitation Center has hired several ANU graduates and students during the past ten years in different capacities.  In addition, Blue Ridge provides a member on the university advisory board to help review academic program offerings and suggest improvements from an employer viewpoint.

Mr. Oswald thanked the school for the award, saying that Blue Ridge hopes to maintain a working relationship with the university.  He also thanked the staff at Blue Ridge for providing quality health care services to the patients and residents at the facility.

Pictured (l) to (r): Christopher W. Oswald,  Chief Executive Officer, Blue Ridge Village; John Scott, Campus Director of the Martinsville Campus; Annette Lawson, Career Center Director; and Tilisa Riddle, Marketing Director, Blue Ridge Village.

Graduate Turns Progressive Learning into Career Advancement

Graduate Turns Progressive Learning into Career Advancement

Rachel Abell has found a career with stability and growth potential working as a health information specialist with Conifer Health Solutions where she was hired after progressing through complementary programs at the Louisville Campus.  She earned diplomas in the pharmacy technician and medical billing and coding programs, then stepped up and carried those credits into an associate’s degree in health information technology, and stepped up once more as she continues her education in the health care management/information systems bachelor’s degree program.

As an active volunteer in her community, most recently serving as the president of her local little league, Rachel believes that if you want to see change occur, you take action, so it isn’t surprising that when she wanted a brighter future for herself and her son, she came to American National University to take the steps necessary to make her goal a reality.

“I don’t think that I had a life before National, because I was all over the place.  I was just a wanderer.  I didn’t have any goals.  There was no direction,” recalled Rachel.  “Once I had my child, everything changed.  It all had a meaning.  The very next step after my child was American National University.”

Rachel said that she found support and real-world knowledge through her instructors at the Louisville Campus, naming Judy McDonough and Elizabeth Head as two who were most influential on her career.  “She helped me study, anything that I ever needed…she was that person to talk to,” she said of Elizabeth.  “She is a wonderful woman.”

After conducting an externship during her program, Rachel worked closely with the campus career center director who connected her with the human resources department at Jewish Hospital where she now works under contract with Conifer. 

She feels that her employer offers plenty of room for advancement in her career.  “Conifer has opportunities all over the country,” she explained, adding that she feels that earning her bachelor’s degree, with a broader focus on technology, will bring her even more job security.  “Knowing how to operate the systems is one thing, but actually being able to put them together and set them up…there’s always going to be a demand for that.”

In addition, Rachel said that learning something new every day keeps her happy and fulfilled.  “I love to learn,” she said.  “I do it to make me smile, because if I’m not smiling, I can’t make anybody else smile.”

Graduate Rachel Abell is working as a health information specialist for Conifer Health Solutions and she has returned to the Louisville Campus to continue her education in the health care management/information systems program.

Pharmacy Provides Employment Opportunities

Pharmacy Provides Employment Opportunities

The Danville, Kentucky Campus recently recognized Walgreens as a Distinguished Community Employer due to their support of American National University students in providing externship and employment opportunities.
Dora Patrick, who is a pharmacy technician instructor at the Danville Campus and a Walgreens employee, accepted the plaque for Walgreens.  Dora is instrumental in assisting pharmacy tech students with externship placements.  Dora holds a bachelor’s degree from Morehead State University and a pharmacy technician diploma from American National University’s Pikeville Campus.

“Walgreens’ partnership with American National University has been a tremendous benefit for my students and pharmacy tech graduates. I am so proud of the hands-on experience that Walgreens has provided to the students--from that one-on-one customer interaction to helping them learn how the pharmacy roles have evolved over the past several years,” Dora said.  “Walgreens pharmacies have hired several of the graduates to help them get their career started in the pharmacy practice, which has been so wonderful. In this day and time, jobs are so hard to come by, and to see the value in our students, and offer them a position right out of school, assures us that we are doing everything we can to ensure their education is the best possible.”

Dora Patrick, pharmacy tech instructor and Walgreens employee, with Lee Bowling, campus director.

Tonya Thomas – Instructor - Richmond

Tonya Thomas – Instructor - Richmond

Tonya Thomas—Difference Maker at the Richmond Campus

• Instructor of medical assisting courses, including Anatomy & Physiology, Pharmacology, and Non-invasive   Clinical Procedures
• Certified Medical Assistant

• American National University faculty member since 2012
• Has been a medical assistant for 16 years
• Recipient of American National University Outstanding College Member award for the Richmond Campus in 2013

• Holds an associate’s degree in medical assisting from Eastern Kentucky University

“During the last 16 years, I have been a CMA, medical coordinator, and office manager. I feel that my experience has allowed me to focus my instruction on the day-to-day abilities and knowledge that today’s medical assisting students need.

“In addition to learning the material, I want my students to be able to respond appropriately to real-life situations they may encounter, so I like to put them in those situations in class.

“My greatest reward as an instructor is when I see my students excited about the knowledge they are gaining and their excitement and happiness in their jobs.

“I admire my students’ dedication and desire to be the best medical assistants they can be.”

Instructor Tonya Thomas has been a medical assistant for 16 years.  

A Purposeful Triple Play Leads to Career Success

A Purposeful Triple Play Leads to Career Success

To say that Starrkeshia Mayes enrolled at American National University with a plan is a complete understatement. “I decided to go to college for a career – and the only way to truly achieve my goals was to aim for as broad an education as possible.  I achieved those goals here at American National University.”

Starrkeshia had a career plan formulated which involved earning not one or two, but three credentials from American National University.  With focused determination, she earned her medical office specialist diploma in 2010, her pharmacy technician diploma in 2011, and is finishing her associate’s degree in medical assisting this month.  “I’ve always been drawn to the medical field.  I love helping people and I am very excited to be well-trained in a field where I will be working with patients every day!”

Her calculated triple-play has paid off quickly for Starrkeshia.  She chose Lexington’s Pain Treatment Center for her externship – and her education has led to a job offer with the practice.  Starrkeshia said,

I have loved my time at American National University.  They give you the training and experience you need to successfully compete in today’s job market.  The skills I learned in my three programs let me prove myself on my externship – and they have now offered me a terrific job!  I will be working in both administrative and clinical areas with a lot of direct patient care.  This is the perfect job for me.

Starrkeshia Mayes enrolled at the Lexington Campus with a goal of earning three medical credentials.

Medical Assisting Student Combines Managerial Experience and Class Projects

Medical Assisting Student Combines Managerial Experience and Class Projects

Medical assisting student Bobbie Bitter has been able to use the skills that she has acquired at the Florence Campus to enhance her current career and her goal of becoming a medical assistant.  Bobbie stated that taking classes at National has given her a “can-do” attitude that has resulted in her being promoted to assistant general manager at Bob Evans Restaurant and excelling in her written and oral communication skills.

Bobbie has been able to combine her experience as an assistant general manager in the restaurant business with her class projects. Bobbie recently delivered a presentation on food safety in which she outlined the steps to follow to ensure that food safety standards are being met.  She discussed the health risks of cross-contamination, and how restaurants can avoid having this occur.  By combining her restaurant experience, her medical knowledge, and her strong oral communication skills, Bobbie provided the students with important information for them as students and consumers.

Bobbie said, “Just being here at American National University makes my day better.”  I have never done anything in my life that has made me as proud as attending National.”

Medical assisting student Bobbie Bitter presented a speech on food safety to other students. 

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.