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May 12, 2014

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Education Provides Graduate with a Life Purpose in Addition to a Professional Title

Education Provides Graduate with a Life Purpose in Addition to a Professional Title

Carla Schauer, a health information management (HIM) graduate from the Dayton Area Campus, loves the warm family atmosphere that she works in every day at Horizons Women’s Healthcare and Family Medicine.  ”It’s a family-owned business and they make everybody feel like they’re a member of the family.  You don’t get that at a lot of places,” said Carla who accepted the job at Horizons after receiving multiple job offers following her graduation from American National University.

Carla had been a stay-at-home Mom for 15 years when she decided it was time to return to school in order to find a career that she would enjoy.  She attended a local community college for a short time, but grew tired of waiting to get accepted into their program.  “I was on the waiting list—I call it the ‘dinosaur graveyard’—for forever,” she said. “I was taking water aerobics just to keep my student status.”

A friend suggested that she visit American National University.  “She kept saying ‘Try here,’ and I got right in,” she recalled. 

Carla chose to enroll in the health information management program at National because she wanted to work in the administrative side of the medical field.  “I like organization and I like the detective work of it, so when I started researching it, I figured that was the way to go,” she explained.

She was able to start classes right away, and she enjoyed the small class size that National offers.  “I had some really great instructors,” said Carla.  “The director of the program, Renee Smith, was fabulous.  She was very upfront about what to expect, and she’d bend over backwards to help you in any way that she could.”

After completing her program she successfully passed the certification exam to become a Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT), a valuable credential which verifies her level of knowledge and skill to her employer.

As she works each day in the office assisting with the release of medical records and information, certification of maternity and surgical benefits, and relaying correspondence to the physicians, she feels that she made the right choice in coming to National to jump start her new career.  “If you want to go back, call National.  It actually put me in a position to get in a better spot financially.  I’m not just someone’s wife and mother anymore.  I have a title.  I have a purpose,” said Carla with a smile.

Graduate Carla Schauer chose to enroll in the health information management program at National because she wanted to work in the administrative side of the medical field. 

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Apex Systems Hires National College Graduates

Apex Systems Hires National College Graduates

The Nashville Campus recently presented the Distinguished Community Employer Award to Apex Systems, Inc., Nashville branch for their continued support of the campus’ information systems program.

Apex Systems, Incorporated is an IT staffing firm with offices throughout the United States.  The company’s exceptional employees and focus on great service differentiates it from others in the industry.  Apex has strong core values of doing the right thing, making others better, finding a better way to get the job done and setting the professional standard.

Terri David McCall said, “Apex is a great resource for the Nashville Campus.”  Michael Winchester, site lead for the Nashville office said, “We have gained some great IT employees from National College and look forward to continuously working with the college.”

Pictured left to right: Terri J. Davis McCall, career center director, Michael Winchester, site lead for Apex Systems, Inc., Nashville branch, and Mark Liverman, campus director.

Doug Lewis-Instructor-Columbus

Doug Lewis-Instructor-Columbus

Doug Lewis—Difference Maker at the Columbus Campus

• Instructor of law, health information management, business, and medical assisting courses
• Also works as a clinical audiologist, attorney, business consultant, and musician

American National University faculty member since 2009

• Holds a Doctor of Audiology degree, along with a Ph.D., Juris Doctor degree, three master’s degrees, two bachelor’s degrees, and an associate degree, as well as numerous association certifications and registries
• Maintains professional licensure and practices in law, clinical audiology, insurance, securities analysis, and nursing home administration

“Many students come from challenging backgrounds and are appreciative of someone taking the time to help them. I am always willing to help others who put out the effort to succeed.

“I challenge my students by strongly encouraging their opinions, even if different than mine. However, I insist their opinions be supported by legitimate sources and facts. I also encourage them to secure those facts and formulate their opinions from them.

“The biggest transformation I’ve seen in my students is having the self-confidence after going through the program to be able to go out and acquire gainful employment and a career… something they believed was not in their capabilities prior to going through their program of study.”

Instructor Doug Lewis holds eight degrees, including a doctorate of Audiology and a JurisDoctor degree. 

Commencement Speaker Urges Graduates to Never Stop Learning

Commencement Speaker Urges Graduates to Never Stop Learning

The Martinsville Campus celebrated commencement on Friday, May 2nd as more than 80 graduates received their hard-earned diplomas and degrees at the 2014 ceremony that was held at Bassett High School.  Among the graduates were four distinguished award-winners: the Achievement Award, presented to a graduate who overcame obstacles to reach their academic goals was awarded to Samuel Cook; the E.M. Coulter Award, Joseph E. Hurn Award, and Mary P. McGurn Award, all presented for high academic achievement in particular fields of study, were awarded to Laura Renfroe, Albert Canty, and Katie Smith, respectively.

The Alumni Hall of Achievement Award was presented to Beverly Riddle, who enrolled in the data entry program at the Martinsville Campus in 1993.  She completed the diploma program by taking classes at night, while also being a single mom to four children and working full-time as an office manager during the day.  She is now the human resource manager for Virginia Mirror/Virginia Glass Products.  “Don’t give up—even though the starting point of your career might not be where you want to end up, you have to work your way up the ladder,” said Beverly.  “When one door closes, one door opens.”

The guest speaker at the commencement ceremony was Christopher Pope, office manager for the Virginia Employment Commission. He encouraged the graduates to put their education to good use by mentoring others, developing personally and professionally, becoming informed and active community members, improving the community, striving for the maximum potential, and most importantly, to never stop learning.

A-Beverly Riddle received the Alumni Hall of Achievement Award at the graduation ceremony.  Beverly completed the data entry program and is now the human resource manager for Virginia Mirror/Virginia Glass Products.

B-Christopher Pope delivered the commencement address.  Mr. Pope is the office manager for the Virginia Employment Commission.

C-The Martinsville Campus celebrated graduation on Friday, May 2nd.

One Student Begets Three Students

One Student Begets Three Students

Ron and Melanie Thorne are partners in homework, as well as in life.  The married couple decided that education was the key to a better life for their beautiful daughter, Scarlett.  Melanie began her program at the Princeton Campus first, and is working toward becoming a medical assistant.  Melanie said, “I love the small [class size], and the ability to have one on one assistance when needed from [an instructor].” 

Melanie told her husband, Ron that ANU would be a good place for him to attend, and he became especially interested when the cybersecurity program became available.

Melanie’s sister, Katy Belarz, is also attending ANU and is working toward a medical assisting degree.   Melanie and Katy have shared some classes and are able to carpool often.

Melanie credits her best friend, David Pennington, for encouraging her to attend the university as he had already enrolled and told Melanie that ANU would be a wonderful place for her to achieve her educational goals.

Students of the Princeton Campus, Melanie and Ron Thorne, partners in education and in life. 

Bristol Campus Recognizes Walgreens as Distinguished Community Employer

Bristol Campus Recognizes Walgreens as Distinguished Community Employer

The Bristol Campus recently recognized Walgreens on East Stone Drive in Kingsport, Tennessee as a Distinguished Community Employer.  The award is reserved for those employers who show exceptional support of career education.  Walgreens has consistently offered National College graduates interviews and pharmacy technician positions.  This particular location has provided many students with externship experiences during which Walgreens employees spend time helping and mentoring students in a hands-on setting in preparation for their careers.

“The feedback I have gotten from the students is positive and most pursue a career with Walgreens based on their externship experience,” said Dr. Jessica Phillips, pharmacy technology director at the Bristol Campus.  Pharmacists at Walgreens have said that they are pleased with National’s students’ knowledge of pharmacy skills.  

Dr. Jessica Phillips and Dr. Gretchen Nangle accept the Distinguished Community Employer award on behalf of Walgreens in Kingsport, TN. 

Richmond Campus Class of 2014 Celebrates Success

Richmond Campus Class of 2014 Celebrates Success

On Friday, May 2nd, graduates of the Richmond Campus celebrated their educational achievements during a graduation ceremony that was held at the First Baptist Church of Richmond.  The Richmond Campus faculty and staff, along with family and friends of the Class of 2014, shared their pride through cheers and tears as the graduates took the stage to receive their diplomas and awards.

Senator Jared Carpenter, who serves Senate District 34, delivered the commencement address.  He stressed the importance of education in finding a successful career. “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who are prepared today,” said Senator Carpenter. 

He said he felt that the graduates’ degrees from American National University prepared them well to enter the workforce.  “They give you degrees that get you ready for employment,” said Senator Carpenter.  “Some people in this building might get upset when I say a philosophy degree, in today’s job market, is not going to have you job ready.  But the fields you all have decided to go into, there is opportunity for that, to help you make a great wage and support yourself and your families.”

He also commended the many graduates who overcame obstacles to earn their degrees. “The ones who are willing to fight through adversity make sure that they’re going to make a difference, and I think that you all have done that.  You’ve done something that some people might not have thought you could do.  But because of your attitude, you’re able to sit here today with something that’s going to help you and your family and I applaud you for that.”

Senator Carpenter’s address was followed by an awards presentation.  Graduates who received recognition for high academic achievement included: Dawna Liska, a medical assisting graduate who was the recipient of the E. M. Coulter Award; Chelsea Holt, a student in the medical office assistant program, who received the Mary P. McGurn Award; and Michael Maness, a double major in business administration-management and business administration-accounting, received the Joseph P. Hurn Award.

Prudy Meadows, a graduate of the medical assisting program, was presented with the Achievement Award which is given to a graduate who, through extraordinary effort, overcame obstacles to reach their academic goals.  Prudy’s sons, Nathan Meadows and Erikke Meadows, also participated in the ceremony, Nathan earning his diploma in business administration, and Erikke earning an associate’s degree in medical assisting.

“I feel great.  I’m proud my sons graduated with me,” Prudy said following the ceremony.  “It’s going to mean better jobs, and I’m seriously considering coming back and continuing my education.”

Ashleigh Pugh, a medical assisting graduate, who is working as a registered medical assistant at Baptist Health Pulmonary Critical Care Associates in Lexington, Kentucky, received the Leadership Award.  “I’m super excited about it, because I’ve always tried really hard to be an example for everybody,” said Ashleigh.

Antonia Wells, a U.S. Army veteran who earned her associate’s degree in business administration-management at the Richmond Campus, then continued on to earn her bachelor’s degree at the Lexington Campus, was named to the American National University Alumni Hall of Achievement.  Antonia, who is working as the assistant to the associate director of patient care services at the Lexington VA Medical Center, said that she was very honored to be the recipient of the award.  “[American National University] gave me the structure and the formalized training and the knowledge that I needed to get where I am today,” said Antonia.  “The real-world knowledge of the instructors was a big help.”

You can read more about Antonia’s career here:

A-The Richmond Campus Class of 2014

B-In his commencement address, State Senator Jared Carpenter said that American National University graduates are well prepared to enter the workforce.

C-Prudy Meadows (center) and her sons Nathan Meadows (left) and Erikke Meadows (right) are shown with their diplomas after they graduated together from the American National University Richmond Campus.  Prudy was the recipient of the American National University Achievement Award which is given to a graduate who overcame obstacles to reach their academic goals.

D Joshua Brockman, a graduate of the medical assisting and pharmacy technician programs, is shown receiving his medical pin from director of health care education Paula Beth Ciolek.

Hospital Uses Clinical Education as Teaching and Recruitment Opportunities

Hospital Uses Clinical Education as Teaching and Recruitment Opportunities

In recognition of their outstanding support of employee education, Harrison Memorial Hospital (HMH) was recently named a Distinguished Community Employer by the Florence Campus.

HMH is one of the leading medical centers in the Northern Kentucky area.  They have proven to be an invaluable partner to the Florence Campus, serving as a clinical site for surgical technology students.

“For more than 100 years, HMH has always offered assistance in training students for clinical positions and sees it as a pivotal point to student learning,” said Sheila Currans, HMH chief executive officer. “HMH views clinical education as a way to teach, but also as a recruitment endeavor.”

“Being a clinical site for students is a great opportunity for HMH to display its high quality of care provided by our surgical staff at our state-of-the-art facility,” explained Traci Taylor, HMH outpatient/surgery manager.

American National University students are enhancing their skills to enter in the workforce and fill jobs that are in high demand in their local communities.  Support from area employers like HMH is crucial in helping students achieve their career goals. 

Students and staff from the Florence Campus are shown presenting the Distinguished Community award to members of the HMH staff. Pictured left to right: campus director Amy Brown, director of ancillary services Don Wynn, outpatient/surgery manager Traci Taylor, director of human resources Becky Jenkins, surgical technology program director Carolyn Nienaber, human resources administrative secretary Heather Ballinger, career center director Jeff Elmlinger, and surgical technology students Charlotte Vollmer and Angel Phillips.

Students Network with Potential Employers at Campus Career Fair

Students Network with Potential Employers at Campus Career Fair

Local employers recently filled the halls of the Danville, Kentucky Campus during the first career fair of the year.  Career fairs are just one of many ways that the American National University Career Center helps facilitate successful job searches for our graduates.

“Our career fairs allow our students and graduates the opportunity to network with employers that they may not have the chance to meet otherwise,” said career center director Felicia Luttrell, organizer of the event.  “It also allows them a chance for someone outside of campus to take a look at and give feedback on their résumés.”

Businesses who participated in the career fair included Inter-County Energy, PNC Bank, Heritage Hospice, and Lowes.  Business administration-accounting student Josh Parsons said that he felt that the career fair offered students a good opportunity to interact with potential employers.

Medical assisting student Mary Adams said, “I think that it’s a good idea to help people to see what is available, and a good way to break the ice in talking with future employers.”

Business administration-accounting student Josh Parsons networks with employers during the Danville Campus career fair.

Graduate Quickly Advances from Dishwasher to Billing Clerk

Graduate Quickly Advances from Dishwasher to Billing Clerk

Megan Rivard attended a “Ladies Night Out” event hosted by the Pikeville Medical Center one year ago.  At the event, Pikeville Campus admissions representatives distributed information on the degree programs offered at American National University.  She was encouraged by her cousin, Sylvia Damron-Strikeleather, who was a student at National, to go chat with them and get more information.  Megan said she saw the enjoyment in Sylvia’s expression when she talked about the college and her degree program and she wanted that same gratification.

Megan said she has always wanted to do something medical, but was not interested in the clinical side of the field.  When she had her initial interview with Laura Hall, admissions representative, she was introduced to medical billing and coding.  Additional research led her to realize that she had chosen the right field for her.   Megan explained that one of her hobbies is putting together puzzles and found the classes to be like her hobby which brings her great joy.  

Megan will graduate this month with a medical billing and coding diploma.  She had perfect attendance and maintained a 4.0 GPA.  She said that it is very surreal that it’s already over.  She believes she couldn’t have done it without the help of one of her teachers, Ronnie Webb, who really challenged her to do the best she could, and took the time to care about her progress.

Upon completion of her classes she was given a job lead from career center director Tiffani Ballard for Tran-Star Ambulance service, who had an opening for a billing clerk.  Within four days of completing her classes, she was offered the position and accepted the offer.   Megan’s supervisor asked her how her classes helped her on her first day of work, and she said that her work feels like a part of her normal routine.  She added that going from being a student to actually working in her field of study has been a smooth transition.  She now knows what success is because she went from working as a dishwasher part-time to working full-time as a billing clerk.   Megan could not be happier that she chose American National University to finally gain enjoyment and success. 

A-Megan Rivard, who will be graduating from the billing and coding program at the Pikeville Campus this month, is working as a biller at Trans-Star Ambulance service.

B-Megan Rivard is shown with Pikeville Campus instructor Ronnie Webb who supported and challenged her in her medical billing and coding program.

Student Appreciates Sincere Help and Support for her Education

Student Appreciates Sincere Help and Support for her Education

Alvina Byrd is a second term medical assisting student, but she has settled into college with great enthusiasm. Alvina chose the Lexington Campus because it was close and convenient, "But after I enrolled, I realized I was where everyone was focused on my success and that I would be doing this with a lot of sincere help and support," said Alvina.

"I was absolutely terrified at first!  I thought of every kindergarten excuse to keep from starting - but my admissions rep and my husband just kept encouraging me...and it has worked out wonderfully," explained Alvina.  "My husband and my son not only encourage me but they also help me study, and are proud of me!  I hope to be an inspiration to my son and my family.  You really can do this no matter how long you've been out of school!"

"My lifetime goal has been to earn a degree and to support and encourage my family to follow their dreams,” said Alvina.  "I'm delighted I chose American National University to make my dreams come true."

Alvina Byrd is a second term medical assisting student at the Lexington Campus. 

International Student Working on MBA to Enter the Fashion Industry

International Student Working on MBA to Enter the Fashion Industry

Ruiting “Tracy” Li, an international student from China, saw ANU on the education website there, spoke with Ron Smith, the director of international enrollment, and began taking classes at the Roanoke Valley Campus last April.  She chose the MBA program because she has always been interested in fashion and knows that managers are needed in that industry.

After graduating two terms from now, Tracy plans to complete an internship working with a small business or private owner in the fashion industry to find out if she truly likes it and to determine what the market is like.  She will also then decide if she wants to stay in the U.S. or return to China.  Members of her family still reside there but she also has family in Kingsport, Tennessee.  She would eventually like to own her own business.   

Reminiscing about the past year, Tracy said that Reem Osman, (formerly the ESL program coordinator at the Roanoke Valley Campus who now holds the same position at the Northern Virginia Center), picked her up from the airport and helped her become acclimated to Roanoke.  “Ron Smith and Dr. [Annette] Chamberlin helped me a lot,” said Tracy.  She appreciates the fact that Annette answers questions from her via email so quickly.  “Dr.  Chamberlin really encourages graduate students to learn by themselves,” said Tracy. 

Tracy feels that ANU has prepared her well for entering the workforce.  “It’s a small school, with small classes, and the [instructors] take care of each of us.”  Tracy said that ANU is a quiet school which makes it conducive for studying.  She said it also helps that everyone is so nice, she has good neighbors and has made good friends that she expects to keep for the rest of her life.  Tracy added, “Chinese is my native language.  English is a challenge but here, everyone speaks English which improves your language.”

Ruiting “Tracy” Li, an international student from China, with Ron Smith, the director of international enrollment. 

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.