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May 05, 2014

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Military Benefits Lead Former Marine to Follow His Real Passion

Military Benefits Lead Former Marine to Follow His Real Passion

Following nearly eight years of service in the U.S. Marine Corps, Daniel Noel was working as a diesel mechanic, while also staying active as a Reservist and volunteer EMT.  But he soon grew weary of working third shift on trucks night after night.  He loved the time he spent volunteering with the rescue squad and decided to pursue formal training and make a career of it.  After looking into the emergency medical technology – paramedic program at ANU, he discovered that with the military-friendly benefits, such as ANU’s exclusive Blue Ribbon Grant, and the smaller class sizes, it was the right fit for him.

Daniel completed the paramedic program at the Roanoke Valley Campus in November and will be walking across the stage to receive his associate’s degree this month.  He has been hired at Roanoke County Fire and EMS, where he now gets to do the work he loves every day.  “I enjoy helping people and giving back to the community,” Daniel explained.  “And after being a Marine and an EMT, I’ve discovered I also like the adrenaline rush.”

The classroom instruction combined with the hands-on nature of the program helped Daniel feel well-prepared for a career as a paramedic.  “With the requirements ANU has and the general knowledge base they give you and the way they teach, I felt very comfortable going into my field,” he says.

He particularly appreciated that many of his ANU instructors were also working paramedics, who were able to bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the classroom.  “All of the faculty and the paramedics who taught our classes were phenomenal,” Daniel emphatically stated.  “All the time and effort they put into it, and even the extra time outside of the classroom that they put in to help the class out, and me individually, is pretty much what got me through the program.”  He is also appreciative of the hands-on experience and encouragement gained through his externship with Salem Fire and EMS.

Daniel is looking forward to a long career as a paramedic and hopes to be a Lieutenant within the next five years.  He advises anyone considering enrolling in the paramedic program to take the leap.  “It’s tough and you have to put in a lot of long hours and time and effort,” he explained.  “But it’s definitely worth it in the end.”

A-Former Marine and diesel mechanic, Daniel Noel is now a paramedic with the Roanoke County Fire and EMS. 

B-Dan Noel and Kelly Waskewicz completed the EMT-Paramedic program at the Roanoke Valley Campus.


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Students Meet and Network with Employers

Students Meet and Network with Employers

The Lynchburg Campus held its spring career fair on Wednesday, April 30th.  There was a large turnout of students, graduates, and community members to meet with more than 20 employers on hand who were accepting résumés and applications.  Angelia Dickerson, an office technology professional student, was one of the first job-seekers to arrive to the event and was there hoping to find employment while she continues her education.  Angelia desires a position in an office setting or in a health care facility as she is also a certified nursing assistant (CNA), and a registered med-aid.

Angelia appreciates the convenience of the ANU career fairs. “This is the largest career fair I’ve seen since I’ve been going to school here,” said Angelia. “It’s very helpful to have employers come on campus that we get to meet and network with.”  Angelia left the career fair excited that she was able to schedule an interview for the following day with one of the employers that she met at the event.

The career fair also featured a workshop on “Social Capital – Your Greatest Asset” presented by lifestyle and business coach Rebecca Sturm-Clauser, and a door-prize drawing for employers and job-seekers.

Student Angelia Dickerson speaks with Mike Johnson of Horizon Behavioral Health at the Lynchburg Campus spring career fair.

Career Fair Proves that Upcoming Graduates are prepared for Employment

Career Fair Proves that Upcoming Graduates are prepared for Employment

Dressed professionally with résumés in hand, students from the Princeton Campus ventured to the WORKFORCE WV Career Fair on Wednesday, April 16th to greet employers and vie for job openings suited to their skills.  WORKFORCE WV sponsors the career fair and Steve Ellison, the veteran’s representative for WORKFORCE WV, coordinated the event and was on hand to welcome everyone and to assist with any needs.  Approximately 35 employers, agencies and numerous job seekers attended.  Among the employers were WV Department of Health and Human Resources (WVDHHR); First Community Bank; 21st Century Oncology; the VA Employment Commission; WVVA-TV; and WV Division of Corrections.

Students attending were upcoming graduates: medical assisting students Rhonda Brimm and Cody Wallace and business administration-management student Mary Jane Hall-Pritt.  Cody spoke with WVDHHR recruiter Edwin Bennett about employment opportunities that he would be able to apply for after graduation.  Cody said that he appreciated the opportunity to attend the career fair.  Carl Pennington, the residential program manager of the Southern Highlands Community Mental Health Center was so impressed with the medical certifications that Rhonda possessed; he set up a job interview with her for the following week.  Rhonda said she found several other opportunities as well.  Mary Jane said, “It [was] a good experience and anyone looking for a job would benefit”.

A-Medical assisting student Rhonda Brimm found several job opportunities as a result of the WORKFORCE WV career fair held recently. 

B - Business administration-management student Mary Jane Hall-Pritt thought that the career fair was very beneficial.

Graduate Promoted Before Finishing Entry Level Training

Graduate Promoted Before Finishing Entry Level Training

Mohamad Mojahed graduated from the Youngstown Campus in the fall of 2013 with an associate’s degree in information systems engineering.  Mohamad was hired at West Company in February of this year.  While training for an entry position at their company, West recognized the skills that Mohamad possessed.  Before finishing his entry level training, he was promoted to the next level of technical support.  Mohamad now works in the Offline Team Agent department as a subject matter expert for customer support.

The group is comprised of approximately 40 people who handle calls from transferred customers when their technical issues are too complicated for the general call staff.  They are part of a network of technical specialists who handle support for AT&T, dealing mostly with iPhone issues.

The interview process at West is a two part process where the employers evaluate a staff member and test their skills to determine if they are suitable to be a subject matter expert.  Kevin Harris, who conducts final interviews, explained that his part of the process involves the applicant giving feedback about the position, and instructs them to ask questions about the duties they will have.  “He asked all the right questions,” said Kevin.

Robert Johnson, information technology director at the Youngstown Campus, was glad to hear how well Mohamad fit into the position, and to see how much his employers appreciate his skills.  When asked how American National University prepared him for his career, Mohamad said, “American National University was like a job itself.”  He went on to explain how the professional attitude that National demanded from him made the transition to his field seamless.

This position is only the first step available for Mohamad in his career at West.  There are several promotions possible in his future with the company.

(l) to (r): Kevin Harris  of West Company; Graduate and new employee of West Company Mohamad Mojahed;  Robert Johnson IT director of the Youngstown Campus), and Alvin Mercer of West Company. 

The Best Compliment You Can Give Is a Referral

The Best Compliment You Can Give Is a Referral

Seven years ago Rachel Sweat completed her degree in surgical technology and returned to the Dayton Area Campus last fall to pursue a degree in health information management.  So far she has referred six people to the campus; a combination of friends and family members.  “I believe in the school and what American National University has to offer as far as support and understanding and the curriculum,” said Rachel regarding why she referred people to the campus.  “Anyone can be successful at American National University.”  She is a serious and devoted health information management student.  She has been facing some medical issues since the day before she returned to campus and said that Renee Smith, the director of health information management program, has been a “mentor and an angel to me.” 

The students with the most referrals recently got to throw a pie in the face of the staff or faculty member of their choice.  Rachel chose Derrick Parks, the director of health care education.  To date, the students have referred nearly 100 potential students to the campus!

Rachel Sweat has provided more Legacy Referrals to the Dayton Area Campus than any other student.

Student Explores Medical Field and Chooses Surgical Technology

Student Explores Medical Field and Chooses Surgical Technology

Cassandra Coles-Price has been trained as a geriatric nurse’s assistant, a medical secretary, a cardiac technologist, a neurodiagnostic technician and a sleep technician.  She was never certified for any of these positions, but as the laws changed it became a requirement for those who were “grandfathered-in” to either return to school or become certified.

A relative told her about the surgical technology associate’s degree program that was offered at the Danville, Virginia Campus.  She enrolled, and had the pleasure of beginning clinical training at Danville Regional Medical Center where she was able to work in Central Sterile Supply and Processing.   Cassandra said, “I learned how to prepare the instruments, trays, carts and other supplies prior to surgery and after surgery.”  The next couple of weeks, she observed the operating room which included cytology, general, ear, nose and throat cases.  Cassandra’s next clinical site was at Maria Parham Medical Center in Henderson, North Carolina.  “Each time I went, I learned something new,” said Cassandra.  “All of the staff there were friendly and eager to teach me.  I have just completed my clinical rotation at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital in Roanoke, Virginia.  My last clinical site will be at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  This is where I plan to learn all I can [in order to become] the best surgical technician that I can be. This clinical site will allow me to grow and to experience bigger and better cases. I am excited about what I will be able to gain from the experience at UNC.”  The UNC Medical Center is very large with approximately 30 operating rooms.

“The clinical sites [have] allowed me the experience to be able to go out and obtain a job in various settings,” said Cassandra.  “With this education, I have a vision of moving away, where I will have not only a job but a career as a surgical technician. I plan to begin putting in applications immediately.”  Cassandra is on track to graduate in July of this year. 

Student Cassandra Coles-Price is attending the Danville, VA Campus and is looking forward to becoming a surgical technician this summer. 

Graduate and Former Staff Member Looks Forward to New Adventure

Graduate and Former Staff Member Looks Forward to New Adventure

Angel Doss, a former administrative assistant at the Danville, Kentucky Campus, recently started a new chapter in her life, moving across the country to Phoenix, Arizona, where she’ll be working as an administrative assistant to the regional vice president of FBL Financial Group.

Angel earned her diploma in business administration-management from the college in 1992, and worked for many years as an executive assistant to her father, the owner of Eagle Drywall and Acoustics, before coming to work at American National University in 2005.

After working at the campus for a few months, she was inspired to return to class, and she earned associate’s degrees in the business administration-management and the administrative office professional programs.

She’s seen big changes in technology over the years, and her classes at National helped her to keep her computer skills up-to date. “When I was here in 1992, it was typewriters and floppy discs,” she said. “I love computers, and the classes definitely helped me learn a lot more about them.”

She’s also seen American National University evolve and grow, and she recalled that the campus has undergone extensive expansion and renovation during her time there.  Campus director Lee Bowling said that throughout her tenure and the growth of the campus, Angel has been a very valuable member of his team, organizing campus events such as the annual Easter Egg Hunt and collections for the local food pantry, among others.

“There will be many things I will miss about Angel,” he said. “Probably the biggest thing I’ll miss is the fact she is always early.  When I arrive at the campus in the mornings around 7:45 a.m., Angel is already here.  She has the campus open and ready for business.”

Lee said that Angel was also instrumental in helping him prepare for the campus’s accreditation visits. “Thanks to her organizational skills, both visits went extremely well,” said Lee.  “I hate to see her leave us, but I wish her nothing but good luck and happiness in her new life.”

While Angel is excited about the new adventure awaiting her and her son, she said that she’ll miss “the best boss in the world” and the staff and students at American National University.  “I’m going to miss National with everything in me, because this is like a second family,” she said. “It’s crazy how much I’ve learned here.  It’s been a real life-changing experience.”

Angel Doss, a former administrative assistant at the Danville, Kentucky Campus and a American National University graduate, has accepted a new position with FBL Financial Group in Phoenix, Arizona.

Spring Career Fair a Resounding Success

Spring Career Fair a Resounding Success

Jerry Marshall, who will be completing his business administration-management program at American National University this month, recently jump-started his job search when he networked with local employers and landed two job interviews during the Spring Career Fair that was held at the Florence Campus.

“I got some real positive feedback. I got two job interviews--one with Walgreens and one with Kellogg’s,” said Jerry, a U.S. Navy veteran who initially came to American National University through the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP). “I did a research project on Kellogg’s, so I’m prepared for that one, now I have to go and do some research on Walgreens.”

Thanks to beautiful spring weather, friendly and informative employers, and eager and well-prepared job seekers like Jerry, the career fair was a resounding success. More than  20 employers participated in the event including The Christ Hospital Health Network, Pomeroy, Walgreens, DHL Express, Kroger, Manpower, Allied Barton, Speedway, and Citi Bank.

Bobby Thornburg, Senior Manager of Talent Acquisition for DHL Express, said that he was looking to fill a variety of openings, from entry-level package handler jobs, to operations management positions. “I am looking for somebody that has a can-do attitude that’s willing to go above and beyond, and wants to grow a career starting at any level,” he said.

Fatou Souare, a business administration-management student from Senegal, said that she was near the end of her program and excited to begin her job search.  “I’m looking forward to having a new career.  I want to take my experience from here, and the knowledge I have from here, and I’m hoping that it will really help me advance my career.”

A-Jerry Marshall (l) a veteran who came to American National University using VRAP funding, is shown with Bobby Thornton, Senior Manager of Talent Acquisition for DHL Express, during the Florence Campus career fair.

B-Fatou Souare (r)  a native of Senegal, said that she was excited to begin her job search as she neared the end of her business-administration management program at American National University.

Employers Connect With Qualified Applicants during Campus Career Fair

Employers Connect With Qualified Applicants during Campus Career Fair

The Lexington Campus recently held a career fair that allowed American National University graduates and students to network with a wide-variety of area employers.  Representatives from Speedway, Xerox, the University of Kentucky STEPS program, People Plus, Home Instead, Clarion Hotel, Primerica, Allied Barton, Credit Solutions, and many more, were on hand at the event to talk one-on-one with students about employment opportunities with their companies.

Kim Lucas, director of training and compliance for Credit Solutions, said that she hired a American National University student following a previous career fair at the school. “They bring a lot of professional strength,” she said of the American National University graduates that her company employs. She had returned to find applicants to fill her current customer service, data analyst, and insurance billing job openings.

Sharnika Davis Jackson, a student in the medical office assistant program, was one of the students who met with Ms. Lucas.  She said that she planned to complete  an application with the company and that career center director Cheryl Howell would be assisting her in submitting her résumé to Credit Solutions. 

Sharnika said that she talked with all of the employers who participated in the career fair. “Everybody had some good opportunities, so it’s a good thing for the school to do,” she said.

Business administration management student Amber Conkwright (r) talks with Kim Lucas (l), director of training and compliance for Credit Solutions, during the career fair at the Lexington Campus.

VRAP Student Continues His Education in Network Administration Program

VRAP Student Continues His Education in Network Administration Program

Gary Creighton served in the U.S. Army from 1977 to 1982, completing two overseas assignments in Korea and Germany.  After leaving the military, his punctuality, dependability and professionalism helped him get his foot in the door of several companies, but he soon realized that he needed more to advance in his career.  “I worked a lot of odd jobs and survived, but I finally realized that getting an education will help me get that much further,” Gary explained.

He found the Louisville Campus of American National University after searching for a school that was approved for the Veteran’s Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP).  He feels that the small class size and supportive instructors are two of the best features of the college.  “The faculty—they don’t look down at you,” he said. “They accept you for who you are.  They expect you to do well, and they try to help you do well.”

After earning a diploma in systems and user support, he’s continuing his education in the network administration associate’s degree program.  “Computers are here to stay, and there are so many nuances, and so many things that change hour-by-hour,” said Gary.  “You have to be able to keep up with that.  You have to not only get that theory, but put that theory into practice.”

Gary is happy to be gaining hands-on experience serving as a work study student in the IT department with program director Terry Newby.  “I’ve already had an opportunity to do some help desk and user support operations here,” said Gary, who also helps provide inventory and maintenance for the school’s computer labs.

He is looking forward to getting started in his new career, and he feels proud to be serving as a role model for his 14-year-old son. “I’m kind of leading by example for him,” said Gary.

Veteran Gary Creighton earned a diploma in systems and user support from the Louisville Campus and is continuing his education in the network administration associate’s degree program. 


Company Believes in Hiring National College Graduates

Company Believes in Hiring National College Graduates

Allergy and Asthma Center of Appalachia was recently named a Distinguished Community Employer by the Pikeville Campus.  Office manager Heather Varney was presented with a plaque in recognition of the award by Pikeville Campus career center director Tiffani Ballard. 

The office is a longtime supporter of the students of American National University.  It’s staffed with medical assisting graduates from National, and hopes to add a few more in the coming months.

Heather reports she likes to hire local graduates from American National University because she knows they are qualified for the position, and she can always expect the best.   She stated that she really likes to work with the college because National always helps with résumé submissions and recruiting for the office.  She also said that the office believes that if you hire local people, it helps the local economy and the whole community. 

Tera Smith, a recent graduate who was hired by the Allergy and Asthma Center of Appalachia, said she is very grateful for the education she received while attending American National University. “National provided me with the skills and knowledge to be able to start triaging patients on the first day of work at Dr. Lowe’s office,” she said.

Pictured from left to right:  American National University graduate Tera Smith, office Manager Heather Varney and Dr. Charles Lowe.

Federal Work Study Student Assists Job Seekers at the Kentucky Career Center

Federal Work Study Student Assists Job Seekers at the Kentucky Career Center

After ten years of working in the food service industry, Jessica Green enrolled in the medical assisting program at the Richmond Campus, because she wanted to create a brighter future for her son.  “I knew that making minimum wage for the rest of my life wasn’t going to let me do the things that I want to do for him,” she recalled. “I’d always wanted to go to school, so when I had him that was my jump start to get going.”

To help fund her program at National, Jessica was selected to work as a federal work study student and was placed on loan at the Kentucky Career Center, a branch of the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training.  In her work at the center, she assists job seekers who visit the office with using the Focus/Career website to create their résumé and conduct their job search.

Jessica said that in addition to helping her earn some extra money while she’s attending school, her work at the Kentucky Career Center has taught her a lot about the technology used in the office and the services that it offers.  She’s also started creating her own résumé, which now includes the valuable experience that her work at the Kentucky Career Center is providing.

Medical assisting student Jessica Green is working as a federal work study at the Kentucky Career 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.