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National News

April 07, 2014

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Medical Training Gives Graduate’s Career a Turn for the Better

Medical Training Gives Graduate’s Career a Turn for the Better

After losing two good jobs due to the downturn in the economy, Mary Parrett discovered that the college degree that she’d considered pursuing in the past had become a necessity.  “I found myself working in a convenience store at the age of 50, and I realized that’s not where I wanted to be in my life,” she recalled.  “All my life I had worked very physical jobs, but I knew that I had to make a change, so I decided to go back to school.”

After earning her associate’s degree in medical assisting at the Richmond Campus, Mary was hired to work as a registered medical assistant at Weigh Better Weight Loss Clinic where she enjoys helping her patients reach their weight loss goals. “It’s almost like a celebration every day when they come in here,” she explained. “We see patients that have struggled, and all of a sudden they drop this huge amount of weight.”

As part of her program at American National University, she was trained to work in both the administrative and the clinical sides of the practice, and all of these skills are put to use each day. “They have enabled me to use what I’ve learned,” she said.

Drawing blood is one of her favorite duties, and she also keeps patients’ records up-to-date in the office’s computer system.  While she is proficient with technology today, she knew little about using a computer before coming to National.  “It was so new to me,” she said of the computer software that she was taught to use during her program.  “All of my instructors were so willing to go that extra mile and help me.”

Mary continues to grow in her knowledge of the medical field as she works side-by-side with the nurse practitioner who operates the clinic and the other nurses on the staff. “I feel like a sponge here,” she said. “There’s so much knowledge and I can just absorb it all.”

She’s amazed at the change in direction that her career has taken, thanks to her education at National. “It was such a transformation for me….a complete 360 in my life,” Mary said. “I can see how far I’ve come, and I feel good about me now.”

Medical assisting graduate Mary Parrett performs both clinical and administrative tasks in her work as a registered medical assistant at Weigh Better Weight Loss Clinic.

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Students and the Public Sharpen their Job Search and Interviewing Skills

Students and the Public Sharpen their Job Search and Interviewing Skills

The Princeton Campus staff hosted a job and interview professional workshop on Thursday, March 13th.  Those who attended appreciated the expertise and leadership of Steve Ellison, veterans’ representative for WorkForce West Virginia.  Attendees came to learn about the newest methods for presenting résumés, cover letters, and how to improve interviewing skills. 

Participants learned that there are three types of résumés which can be used in presenting the skills one has experienced.  Cover letters with extreme decoration are not recommended and often references are not presented until after an interview.

Mr. Ellison recommended that students spend time using the Internet to search for job locations, but also reminded the students that walking into a company with a résumé in hand is still a good way to seek a job that fits the applicant and the company.  Students were also reminded that looking for a job is to be treated as a job in itself and will likely involve many hours.

Many questions were asked and many comments were made as the students were interested in finding out about the new job seeking skills. 

“I really enjoyed the workshop, said medical assisting student Rhonda Brimm.  “It was very informative and has helped me very much.  I learned how to write a résumé in the correct form, to dress for success when going to an interview, and to always contact the employer within a few days to inquire about where [I] stand.  I have learned all my skills from wonderful teachers at American National University and have had hands-on training.”

Steve Ellison, veterans’ representative for WorkForce West Virginia, recently led a job and interview workshop at the Princeton Campus.

New Ambassador Program is Successful

New Ambassador Program is Successful

The Lynchburg Campus began a student ambassador program last fall.  Ambassadors help other new and continuing students who have questions about computers, student portals, classes and locations and sometimes just serve as an ear for issues or concerns that arise from daily college life.  Ambassadors also help students order books, set up ANU email accounts, and attend term orientations to meet and greet new students as they enter college.  Additionally, the campus has a question and concern box where students can drop them in when they come to mind.  The ambassadors closely monitor the box and follow-up with the students.

As an ambassador, students have to meet certain guidelines or requirements such as having good attendance, a GPA of 2.5 or above, two references from campus instructors, and most importantly, a strong desire to help and assist others.  The students at the campus have found the Ambassador program to be very helpful and successful and the campus administration enjoys having the Ambassadors on campus to help when possible.  “My son told me I should have been a counselor since I have a natural ability to calm people,” said student and ambassador Alfreda Patterson.  “I love helping people through tough situations and just being there for them.  I enjoy being an ambassador for ANU.”

New student Tarnisha Hamlett (l),is helped by student and ambassador Alfreda Patterson (r).

Campus Offers Complimentary Computer Workshop

Campus Offers Complimentary Computer Workshop

On Friday, March 28th, the Martinsville Campus offered a free workshop which was open to the public titled “Fun with Computers.”  This event was designed as an outreach opportunity to assist the public by providing answers to individuals who are not regular computer users. 

Pamela Van Nutt, computer department chair and Pat Schofill, information systems engineering (ISE) chair, shared with the group the differences between a desktop, laptop, and tablet and how the internet can make your life easier.  They answered questions on the differences between the Windows operating systems, popular office software, and social networking systems such as Facebook.  After the workshop ended, the two instructors remained and spoke one-on-one with members of the group who had specific questions.  The event was well received and the participants left with a better understanding of not only computers and the internet, but what the Martinsville Campus can contribute to the community. 

Community member Louise Covington said that she had an older computer and wasn’t sure what she could do to improve its speed.  “The workshop gave me some great ideas and the one-on-one with the instructors answered a lot of my questions,” said Ms. Covington. 

Pamela Van Nutt, computer department chair at the Martinsville Campus, speaks to attendees of the recent “Fun with Computers” workshop. 

A Unique Birthday Celebration

A Unique Birthday Celebration

Roanoke Valley Campus MBA student Lenore Castillo spent the evening of her 72nd birthday in an unusual way – attending her Leadership Class.  Lenore is earning her graduate degree to be better prepared for her newest career opportunity, owning her own business.  In 1993, Lenore retired from the New York City Department of Social Services.  From 1971 -1993, she was employed as a principle administrative assistant at a very high level for the city.  After retiring, Lenore moved to Roanoke, and while she still considers Brooklyn, New York to be “home,” she now has a second home in the Star City. 

Lenore has boundless energy.  In addition to taking MBA classes in the evenings, she is also a minister at the Perfecting Unity Church in Roanoke.  She is a caring foster parent in the local social services system and volunteers to assist young children with many different projects.  Lenore has also started a new business recently; a tutoring service called the Educational Enhancement Academy located in Roanoke.
Lenore said, “I love these great minds that inspire me at ANU.  I know that I can call on anyone from the staff, to the teachers, and to other students for help at any time.”

Dr. Annette Chamberlin, MBA department chair said, “Lenore is truly an inspiration to her MBA peers and I hope her passion for life and her story will inspire you to greatness as well.”

MBA Student Lenore Castillo (center) celebrated her 72nd birthday by attending her Leadership Class at the Roanoke Valley Campus.

Kari Miller-Admissions Representative-Harrisonburg

Kari Miller-Admissions Representative-Harrisonburg Explore National's Online Program

Kari Miller—Difference Maker at the Harrisonburg Campus

Admissions Representative

• ANU staff member since 2011
• Recipient of Harrisonburg Campus Employee of the Term Award in 2012 and 2013

Holds Bachelor of Business Administration degree from ANU; currently pursuing a MBA through ANU Online

“As an admissions representative, I’m the first person that a student talks to here at ANU.  I feel that by building a relationship with each student, I’m better able to help them through the process. Some students are scared to death and don’t even know what program they’re interested in.  By getting to know them, I am able to help them figure out what program is best suited for their career goals.  Many times, so many of the students’ friends and family have told them that they can’t achieve their educational goals, but I am able to be their biggest cheerleader.  I really wanted a career in which I was making a difference, and I found that here at ANU.

“As a graduate of the bachelor’s program in business administration—management and a current student in the ANU online master’s degree program, I am able to use the education that I am gaining at ANU to help encourage potential and current students that it is possible to work full-time and continue their education.  I understand the struggles our students go through.

“The Harrisonburg Campus is truly a family.  The faculty and staff care about the success of the students.  ANU provides an atmosphere that is much different than any other university because we know our students on a personal basis; we know about their families and their struggles.  We do whatever is necessary in order to see our students succeed.”

Kari Miller, is an ANU graduate and returning student and is currently an admissions representative at the Harrisonburg Campus.

Graduate Receives Prestigious Award

Graduate Receives Prestigious Award

Samantha Burns graduated from the Lexington Campus with an associate’s degree in business administration–management in 2012.  She has been working for the Delta T. Corporation since she was a student and currently is the special projects-team leader.

Samantha’s dedication, perseverance, and devotion to her career recently earned her a commendation from The Senate of the Commonwealth of Kentucky which was a motion by Senator Alice Forgy Kerr. The award stated that Samantha graduated from American National University and earned an associate’s degree.  It also outlined the positions and duties that she has held at the Delta T. Corporation.  The award also states that she “has brought honor and pride to her family, school, and community by her achievements.”

“I absolutely love my job,” said Samantha.  It is fun, challenging, and is an awesome place to work.  The owner promotes a family approach to all our projects and we all share in the job duties and responsibilities.  He makes everyone in the company feel appreciated and like a family member.  American National University provided me with excellent instructors and a very similar family atmosphere and that training has helped me succeed in my career!  It has all fallen in place thanks to American National University.”

Read more about Samantha’s career here:  (

Kimberly Thomasson (l), campus director with graduate and award recipient Samantha Burns (r).

Director of Radiology Speaks to Students

Director of Radiology Speaks to Students

On Thursday, February 13th, John Mitchell, director of radiology for Rockcastle Regional Hospital and Respiratory Care Center, was the guest speaker for the medical assisting and medical billing and coding students in Dorine Liebengood’s Medical Terminology Class and Veronica Waddle’s Medical Insurance Class.

Mr. Mitchell talked about the importance of being accurate with the documentation and coding of patient care and billing.  He discussed the importance of the coding process for insurance purposes.  The students learned that not all doctors use the same medical term for certain procedures, and that even though they may call it something different the code is still the same.  He added that the number of codes is immensely increasing, and that with more codes employees must make sure everything is documented correctly.  If not, insurance companies may deny payments for services rendered.

Christy Muriuki, medical billing and coding student said, “Mr. Mitchell gave a thorough insight to what our jobs could be and how important it is to the process and the longevity of healthcare.”

John Mitchell, director of radiology for Rockcastle Regional Hospital and Respiratory Care Center, spoke to medical students at the Richmond Campus.

Student Strives Toward Medical Career After Leaving Factory

Student Strives Toward Medical Career After Leaving Factory

Patricia Leedy, a student in the pharmacy technician program at the Danville, Kentucky Campus, expected to spend her life working in a factory.  “I thought that I would probably follow in the footsteps of my parents,” she said.  “That didn’t work out, because it seemed like every factory that I was in, they were either downsizing, or shipping work out of state or to other countries.”

Several years after leaving the factory, she was working at Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center as a patient care tech when she decided to enroll in the pharmacy technician diploma program at American National University.  “Coming back to school was something that I always wanted to do,” said Patricia.  “I had to prove to everybody that I can do it.”  She added that she’s proud that she’s excelled in her classes while working full time and caring for her family.

As she nears the end of her program, Patricia is working in an externship at Ephraim McDowell where she’s learning a great deal about the pharmacy’s procedures.  She’s excited to get started in her new career where she’ll have employment opportunities available in a hospital or in a retail setting.

Thanks to a newfound sense of confidence, Patricia has also decided to continue her education and has re-enrolled at National to earn her associate’s degree in medical assisting.

Patricia Leedy is completing an externship at Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center as part of her pharmacy technician 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.