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March 10, 2014

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Graduate Finds Job through Networking with Instructor

Graduate Finds Job through Networking with Instructor

While many American National University and American National University students have discovered the valuable educational benefits of instructors who are professionals in their field, Dayton Area Campus graduate Renee Collins found that her instructor was also a valuable networking contact when she gave her a recommendation which helped her land a job as a registered medical assistant at Kettering Family Practice.

Renee had just finished her associate’s degree program when Kettering Family Practice contacted the Dayton Area Campus career center director to find qualified applicants for the medical assistant opening in their office. 

Renee submitted her résumé for consideration for the position, and instructor Angie Williams, who has worked at Kettering Family Practice for more than 18 years, was familiar with Renee’s work ethic and skills after having her in class.  “I didn’t know that she was applying here, but when I found out I put in a good word for her because I know her,” Angie recalled, adding that the office has hired several American National University graduates.

In her work at Kettering Family Practice, Renee stays busy in both the administrative and clinical side of the medical office.  “I love everything about my job,” she said, adding that she loves building relationships with her patients and her co-workers.

She feels that her program at National, which included an externship and the exam to become certified as a registered medical assistant, gave her the foundation that she needed to succeed in her career.  “I loved everything about it,” said Renee.  “They gave us the tools that we needed to feel prepared.”

Renee reflected on her past and said that as a single mom, there were times when she worried that she might not be able to juggle the responsibilities of family life and school.  Renee said, “It takes some time to find your groove and find out what you need to do, but it’s so worth it.”  She feels fortunate to now be working in a career where she can spend nights at home with her son.  “[My education] gave me the skills I needed to make my situation for my family better, and it was fun,” said Renee.  “I had a great time doing it.”

A-Dayton Area Campus graduate Renee Collins feels that she was well prepared at American National University for her many duties working in the administrative and clinical sides of Kettering Family Practice as a registered medical assistant.

B-American National University instructor Angie Williams (center) is shown with American National University graduates Renee Collins (r) and Nadine Govan (l) who are working with her at Kettering Family Practice.

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Health Information Management Student Receives Professional Credential

Health Information Management Student Receives Professional Credential

The Youngstown Campus recently recognized Summer Ylonen for achieving the registered health information technician credential (RHIT).  Summer will graduate soon with a degree in health information management (HIM), and is the first HIM graduate from the Youngstown Campus to sit for and successfully pass the AHIMA (American Health Information Management Association) Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) Exam.  The Youngstown Campus received the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) accreditation status in September 2013, which establishes and enforces the educational standards for HIM Programs.

Summer began taking classes at the Youngstown Campus in April, 2012. After working as a waitress for 15 years, she decided that she needed a career change.  Exploring her educational options and at the urging of her friend who was already a American National University student, she decided to enroll.  The Youngstown Campus had two things that she was looking for in the school she wanted to attend: it had the HIM program, and it was small and close to home.  While attending National, Summer was very active in many of our student campus programs and clubs; worked weeknights and weekends; maintained a family; and was a work study student.  She is also graduating with high honors.  Linda McKinney, HIM program director recommended, Summer for the OHIMA (Ohio Health Information Management Association) New Graduate Award for her exceptional work ethics and dedication to her studies.

Summer completed her professional practice experience/externship (PPE) at Valley Healthcare Northside Hospital, where she utilized the skills and the HIM computer software/systems experience learned in her core classes.  The PPE supervisor at Northside was very pleased with her work and recommended she submit her résumé for employment consideration.

Summer said, “The passion and experience of my instructors, have given me the confidence to prepare for my career in health information management.”

Linda McKinney, HIM program director and Paula Muir, lead HIM Instructor presented Summer with the RHIT credential pin.

Medical Students Hold Successful Health Fair for the Community

Medical Students Hold Successful Health Fair for the Community

The Danville, Virginia Campus recently held a community health fair, involving both medical assisting and surgical technology students. 

As members of the community arrived, they were greeted by surgical technology students Brittany Samuels and Leigh Anna Hackler, as well as Jennifer Turner, clinical coordinator, who welcomed and guided them to the medical lab.

Once in the lab, the “patients” signed in and rotated through several stations.  The medical assisting students had 4 different stations set up: blood pressure and heart rate, spirometry, blood glucose, and EKG.  Under the watchful eye of Mechelle Warren, director of health care education, the students were allowed to practice their skills as they prepared for next term’s externships.  The medical assistanting students who participated were: Shannon Plaster-Fuller, Temeka Green, Jasmine Upshur, Candice Shelton, Skylar Bates, Christina Manns, Sue Johnson, Gloria Smith, Holly Winstead, Melody Jackson, Octavia Graves, and Fred Johnson.  Shannon said, “I was able to apply real skills to real world scenarios.”

After going through the stations, the community members were welcome to watch a mock surgery performed by Kim Joyce, director of surgical technology, and students Candice Wasden, Ansirah Rasheed, and Mariah Wells.  They were able to come into the surgical lab, watch, and ask questions as the “surgery” was performed.

Mechelle and Kim thought the event was a success with more than 50 people attending.  The feedback from the community was so positive that the campus plans to begin holding the health fairs multiple times a year.

Temeka Green, medical assisting student, prepares to draw the blood of a community health fair attendee.

Urban Farmer Chooses to Utilize His GI Bill and Get His Business Degree

Urban Farmer Chooses to Utilize His GI Bill and Get His Business Degree

Every Wednesday & Saturday morning you will find Jeff Robey at the Lynchburg Community Market selling his fresh, locally grown produce.   While there, he enjoys meeting and greeting many people.  Jeff has a great deal of life experience and understands the importance of knowing how to conduct business on a handshake and producing a good product.  However, somewhere along the way he wanted to learn more about the business world through education and obtain a business degree. 

Jeff’s stepson told him about American National University.  Jeff also did his own research and found that the class schedule was beneficial to his lifestyle needs so he enrolled at the Lynchburg Campus.  He chose the business program because he already owns and operates his small produce business and wants to “grow”  that into something much larger over the next five to ten years. 

Jeff feels his education through ANU thus far has given him insights into the business world.  He hopes these insights can help him achieve his future goals of owning a 100 acre farm for youth camps and other non-profit events.  

Jeff feels that ANU’s classes are the right size and appreciates that the instructors are all from various fields of business and offer incredible life experiences that he can learn from.  Jeff especially enjoys Sally Ware’s business classes along with Brian Tripplet’s classes.  He feels they have the most to offer when it comes to education and today’s standards of the business world overall. 

Jeff is excited to be in school as an adult.  He feels it is never too late to get an education and better one’s life.  Additionally, being a veteran and using his GI Bill is an added plus to gaining educational experience and continuing to grow as a person, a business, and on a larger scale, the local community.

“Never say never” is the advice Jeff passes along to others who are thinking about going back to school or taking another risk in life.

Veteran and student Jeff Robey is enrolled in the business administration program with a goal of owning a 100 acre farm for youth camps and other non-profit events. 

Medical Assisting Student Is Hired During Externship

Medical Assisting Student Is Hired During Externship

When Jennifer Short began an externship with Baptist Health Advanced Orthopaedics as part of her medical assisting program at the Richmond Campus, she was nervous to be working side-by-side with seasoned medical professionals.  “They threw me right in, and by the second week I was pretty much on my own,” she recalled.

But over several weeks of working in the office, Jennifer had an opportunity to demonstrate her clinical skills and caring nature to the staff, and near the end of the externship she was offered a job with the practice as a registered medical assistant.  “I was so excited.  It made my day,” said Jennifer with a smile.  “I love the girls that work here and the doctor is awesome.”

A career in the medical field has always been a dream of Jennifer’s.  After being a stay-at-home mom for 18 years, she decided to go back to school to make that dream a reality.  “I wanted to do something that I’d enjoy, and I’ve always been interested in the medical field,” said Jennifer.  “I just like helping people and knowing that you make a difference in somebody’s life.”

A friend recommended that Jennifer visit American National University, and she said that she chose the college over several others in her area because of the small class size which allowed for one-on-one attention  from her instructors.  “Any question that you have, they are always there to answer it,” said Jennifer.  “It was a good experience and I miss it.”

The medical field seems to be a natural fit for Jennifer.  “I really love getting up and coming to work,” she said, adding that her patients often tell her that she makes their day better with her infectious smile.

She feels that her education at American National University has set her on the right course for a career that she can count on for many years to come.  “It gave me job stability,” Jennifer explained.  “Because the job that I chose, there’s always going to be a need for it.”

Scheduling and checking patients in are just a few of Jennifer Short’s duties in her work as a registered medical assistant at Baptist Health Advanced Orthopaedics.

Lee Wilmot – Instructor – Danville, KY

Lee Wilmot – Instructor – Danville, KY

Lee Wilmot—Difference Maker at the Danville, Kentucky Campus

• Instructor of general studies and business courses, including Biology, Ethics, Introduction to Business, Principles of Management, and Managing a Small Business
• Past recipient of American National University Instructor of the Year award
• U.S. Marine Corps Veteran

• American National University faculty member since 2005
• Previously taught in the public school system for 27 years and also served as a vocational coordinator and as a high school principal

Holds a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture science from Berea College, a Master of Science degree in vocational education from the University of Kentucky, and a Planned Sixth-Year education rank from the University of Kentucky

“I came to American National University because I was a retired public school instructor looking for part-time employment that would allow me to interact with students in a positive way to help them reach their career aspirations.
“My greatest reward as an instructor is to talk with a former student and find out that they have been successful and feeling that I have been a part of their journey.
“I feel that the greatest things about working at National are the faculty, staff, and students that I associate with and the positive intrinsic reward that I get when they succeed.”

Lee Wilmot is a former U.S. Marine who has been a American National University instructor since 2005. 

Neighbor Leads the Way to National College

Neighbor Leads the Way to National College

Sabrina Dietz came to American National University Pikeville Campus due to the encouragement of friend and neighbor, Victoria Tackett.  Victoria said she recommended American National University to Sabrina because of the atmosphere of the college.  “American National University is like a big family,” she said. “The staff and faculty give you the necessary tools to succeed.” 

Sabrina said that when she first walked in the front door, she knew she had chosen the right place to obtain her degree.  Sabrina grew up going to work with her mom, a hospice nurse, and always knew she would follow in her mom’s footsteps. 

Sabrina reports that she is so glad she chose National because the classes are individualized to her career path and the campus is close to her home. She is also able to car pool with Victoria which has made it more cost efficient.  Sabrina is so enthusiastic about her journey that she has persuaded her boyfriend to enter next term. 

Pikeville Campus student Victoria Tackett (l) recommended American National University to her friend and neighbor, Sabrina Dietz (r).

Campus Presents Distinguished Community Employer Award

Campus Presents Distinguished Community Employer Award

The Fort Wayne Campus recently presented Ollie’s Bargain Outlet with the Distinguished Community Employer award.  Ollie’s Bargain Outlet opened in Fort Wayne late last year and immediately hired graduate Lorrie Wittgenfeld.  

Lorrie completed the supervisory management specialist program and is working toward her business administration – management associate’s degree.  Her supervisor and the store manager at Ollie’s, Zack Shields, talked about Lorrie’s preparedness for her position.  Mr. Shields said, “Lorrie understood the opportunities and came to the job prepared.  She has a great attitude and hit the ground running.”  Zack also went on to say that he seeks employees with a positive attitude who have a willingness to grow and listen. 

Zack mentioned that a college degree on a résumé will get the applicant an interview, but a strong work ethic is also important.  Zack stated that a college education will put an applicant in line for a job and promotions more quickly than someone with no college experience.  The Fort Wayne Campus appreciates the affiliation with Ollie’s Bargain Outlet and their presence in the community. 

Dan Sattison of the Fort Wayne Campus with Zach Shields of Ollie’s Bargain Outlet in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Graduate Is Continuing His Education in the Network Administration Program

Graduate Is Continuing His Education in the Network Administration Program

Josh Mattingly, who just completed his associate’s degree program in information systems engineering (ISE), is continuing his education at the Lexington Campus in the new network administration bachelor’s degree program.

Josh said that he checked out several schools in his area that offered degrees in technology before choosing American National University.  “I got contacted by a few others, and National seemed to be the better fit,” he said, adding that program director Doug Camp was one reason that he chose National.  “Doug was a big draw because of all of the certifications he’s attained.  Just his level of focus on this program and his knowledge level was more than anything that I saw when I visited ITT Tech or Spencerian.”

He also felt it was important that many of his courses at National focused on obtaining certifications of his own. “I think it will be what sets me apart from ITT Tech and Spencerian graduates…”said Josh, who has obtained his Comp TIA A+ and Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certifications while at National.

According to Certification Salary Survey 2013, the average salary for a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist is nearly $80,000.  (

Josh likes the challenge that the field of information technology offers.  “I like IT because it’s always a challenge, no matter who brings you their computer, and no matter what situation you’re working on, you may have seen something similar, but it’s not the same,” said Josh. “The accelerated path has been very challenging…by the time I’m about to get bored, I’m on to something new.”

He hopes to find an entry level job in IT to gain experience while he’s in school. He’d ultimately like to work in network administration in a medium to large-sized company, or possibly for one of the hospitals in his area.  “I’m hoping that by continuing my education, I can achieve something greater than my associate’s [degree] would [have allowed] me, and I can use these two years while I’m working on my bachelor’s to have that entry level position that will get me propelled,” he said.

Lexington Campus ISE graduate Josh Mattingly is continuing his education in the network administration bachelor's degree 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.