National Newsletter - biweekly updates from National's 30 communities in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, and Indiana.
National News

June 09, 2014

News from

National's Heritage

Schedule a Visit


Share this Newsletter

Social Connections

Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Facebook View our YouTube cannel


Medical Billing and Coding Externship Turns into Job Offer

Medical Billing and Coding Externship Turns into Job Offer

Inspired by caring health care professionals during a personal hardship, Jessica Pickel decided to change careers from working in a business office to working in health care.  “I wanted to be hands-on in a medical office with patient contact but also have the security of working a normal business hours schedule,” Jessica said as she explained what type of work she wanted to do.

Jessica already had a bachelor’s degree in business administration but in order to prepare for a career switch, she needed to specialize her education.  She enrolled in the medical billing and coding program at the Roanoke Valley Campus.  “ANU was small enough where I wouldn’t feel lost in big classes like I did at the other college I attended,” Jessica said of her decision to enroll.

In less than one year, she finished her program, passed the Medical Coding Certification exam, and got a job offer from Virginia Interventional Pain & Spine Center (VIPSC) which is where she worked as an extern.  “I got the job offer the last week of my externship,” said Jessica, with excitement about how quickly her goal was accomplished.

In her new job, she gets to do all the things she had wanted to do in the health care field including insurance authorizations and coding, and assisting patients before they see the doctor.  “I feel like I learn something every single day,” said Jessica.  “There’s a lot of room for advancement here and in the medical field in general.”

As she reflects back on her ANU education, she is grateful for the experience. “I really felt like I knew what my teachers were talking about,” Jessica explained.  “Most of them were in the medical field themselves at that time so that was helpful.”  Jessica is also responsible for filling extern positions for VIPSC, so she confidently looks to ANU for a steady supply of well-prepared students.

A-Graduate Jessica Pickel was hired by the Virginia Interventional Pain & Spine Center (VIPSC) after completing an externship there. 

B-Graduate Jessica Pickel finished the medical billing and coding program in less than one year at the Roanoke Valley Campus.

Our Communities - Article Quick Links

Campus Support Services

Fort Wayne, IN
Indianapolis, IN
South Bend, IN

Danville, KY
Florence, KY
Lexington, KY
Louisville, KY
Pikeville, KY
Richmond, KY

Akron Area, OH
Cleveland, OH
Cincinnati, OH
Columbus, OH
Dayton Area, OH
Stark County, OH
Youngstown, OH

Bartlett, TN
Bristol, TN
Knoxville, TN
Madison, TN
Memphis, TN
Nashville, TN

Charlottesville, VA
Danville, VA
Harrisonburg, VA
Lynchburg, VA
Manassas, VA
Martinsville, VA
Roanoke Valley, VA

West Virginia
Parkersburg, WV
Princeton, WV

Guest Speaker Outlines the Keys to Nutritional Health

Guest Speaker Outlines the Keys to Nutritional Health

Andi Bennett was recently a guest speaker in Patricia Sell’s Non-Invasive Medical Assisting class at the Princeton Campus.  Mrs. Bennett is a West Virginia University Families and Health extension agent and plays an active role in working with family unity and healthy nutritional habits.  Her presentation gave a complete picture of the types of foods and nutrients we need in order to fuel our bodies.  Along with physical models of the trans-fats and salt contained in popular fast food, she offered handouts with grocery lists and nutritional tips and habits for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  Her outlook helped the students and instructors understand that the types and portions of foods we eat daily, are choices to be made by each of us, and will eventually develop into habits which can lead to an optimum level of health and long lifespan.  Danielle Hart, who is completing the medical assisting program this term said, “Because I have young children, I appreciated when [Mrs. Bennett] said to eat less C.R.A.P. and eat more F.O.O.D.”  C.R.A.P. (carbonated drinks, refined sugars, artificial sweeteners & colors and processed foods) is not good for you but F.O.O.D (fruit & veggies, organic lean protein, omega 3 fatty acids, and drink water) will make you stronger.

Mrs. Bennett described how the Federal Government no longer uses the familiar old food Pyramid but uses “My Plate,” which is a new method of presenting dietary recommendations or daily allowances of fruit, vegetables, dairy, grains, and protein.  She explained that portion control is the key to nutritional health and had a hands-on demonstration of one method to aid in controlling portions.  Her presentation served as an introduction to the course unit on basic nutrition.

A-Andi Bennett is a WVU Families and Health extension agent who spoke to students at the Princeton Campus regarding nutrition. 

B-Andi Bennett explains “My Plate,” which is a new method of presenting dietary recommendations or daily allowances. 

Former Stay-at-Home Mom Finds a College Environment She Can Survive In

Former Stay-at-Home Mom Finds a College Environment She Can Survive In

A conversation with her mother inspired Catherine Moore-El to re-enter the workforce. She was a stay-at-home mom to her nine children with a little experience working part-time in property management, but she wanted a career in the medical field.

After a short stint at another college several years ago, Catherine enrolled in the Madison Campus pharmacy technician program based on a recommendation from a friend.  “This is a college that has an environment that I know I can survive in; that can sustain me as a student,” she said describing how she felt after her first interview with the campus’s admissions team.

On track to graduate this September, Catherine has excelled as a student.  She has already completed the first of two planned externships; she has a cumulative grade point average of 3.55; and she helps fellow students as a peer tutor.  “It’s a good program that has all the classes that really prepare you to go back into the workforce, but it also prepares you if you want to further your education,” Catherine said, hinting at the possibility of attending pharmacy school in the near future.  When she finishes her program later this year, she hopes to find a job working for a mail-order pharmacy.

Student Catherine Moore-El is nearing the end of the pharmacy technician program at the Madison Campus.  

Campus Blood Drive Provides Learning and Networking Opportunities

Campus Blood Drive Provides Learning and Networking Opportunities

Phlebotomy and medical assisting students recently had the opportunity to spend some time learning with employees of Virginia Blood Services by conducting a blood drive at the Harrisonburg Campus.  The students were able to ask questions and learn about careers in phlebotomy while also helping the community.  Many students donated blood, which will help residents in the surrounding Shenandoah Valley.  Dr. David Zimmerman, campus director, is one of the staff members who volunteered to give blood.  When asked how he felt about the event, Dr. Zimmerman said, “It is a privilege and an honor to help those in our community and to see so many of our students doing the same.  I am very proud of our students.” 

Virginia Blood Services Employee, Cheryl Yager and campus director Dr. David Zimmerman at the recent blood drive.

State Representative Encourages Students at Memorial Day Program

State Representative Encourages Students at Memorial Day Program

The Bristol Campus held a Memorial Day program on Thursday, May 29th.  David Roach, student activity council chair and Michael Stout, campus director welcomed students to the program and briefly spoke in honor of those who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country.  Guest speaker State Representative Timothy Hill spoke to students about what Memorial Day means to him.  “Each of us can think of a family member or knows a family that has been affected by war,” he said. 

Representative Hill advised students, “As you are aware of those who have lost family members in service, please try to support them.”  He also requested that students go out of their way to thank our service men and women.  During the program students honored America’s fallen heroes and sang "The Star Spangled Banner" and "America the Beautiful."

Representative Hill is a small business owner.  He has served on several committees including Business and Utilities, and the House Health Subcommittee.  He encouraged students to reach out to him and he emphasized that his position as representative relies heavily on feedback that he receives from his constituents.  “As always, it is an honor to serve as your representative in Nashville,” said Representative Hill.  “My goal is to serve in a manner that can make you proud and be responsive to your concerns.”  After his presentation, he spent time receiving questions from students. 

State Representative Timothy Hill is pictured in the Student Lounge at the Bristol Campus talking to students, faculty, and staff.

Campus Director Invited to a Round Table Discussion with Congressman

Campus Director Invited to a Round Table Discussion with Congressman

Lynchburg Campus director Bill Baker and ANU regional director of admissions Larry Steele were invited to a round table discussion with Congressman Robert Hurt.  The meeting was held in nearby Bedford, Virginia during the county’s annual job fair.   The emphasis was placed on issues affecting present day business and educational facilities. 

“My participation was based on gainful employment issues, and my attempt to make more local politicians aware of [ANU’s stance],” said Bill.  “Congressman Hurt is a huge advocate of ANU and said, 'I believe whole-heartedly in institutions like American National University that educate and train men and women for the needs of current day workforce.'"

“I was pleased to meet Congressman Hurt,” said Larry Steele, regional director of admissions.  “He asked how our name change and recognition was going.  In his remarks he stressed how important a trained workforce was to the economic development of Southside Virginia and he was pleased to see educational institutions represented.  I found him to be well informed and pleasant to visit with.”

Lynchburg Campus Director Bill Baker participated in a round table discussion with Congressman Robert Hurt. 

Medical Assisting Graduate Proves to Be Invaluable to Her Employer

Medical Assisting Graduate Proves to Be Invaluable to Her Employer

Tareana Butler graduated from the Youngstown Campus in February with an associate’s degree in medical assisting.  She is now the medical record clerk at Turning Point Counseling Services.  Turning Point Counseling helps to provide integrated behavioral health care and individualized treatment plans to the people and families of the Mahoning Valley in Ohio.

Tareana first arrived at Turning Point through a temporary employment agency for what was only supposed to be a 2-3 week assignment.  She was hired to organize all of the medical records on site and create a new system for filing them within regulations.  After three weeks, Turning Point decided to hire her as a full-time employee in February of this year.  “I love the nine to five work day,” explained Tareana. 

In her new position, Tareana currently handles about 4,500 open cases.  She elaborated on her duties and described the magnitude of the records she deals with.  “If it wasn’t for American National University, I would be lost in my own record department,” said Tareana.  While she works almost strictly in administrative areas, sometimes she is called upon to assist patients using her clinical knowledge as well.  As a medical assistant, the versatile skills she learned in training allow her to perform a wide range of duties in any medical environment.

Pam Recknor has been a nurse at Turning Point since 1985, and had nothing but great things to say about Tareana.  “It’s like she has always been here,” described Pam.  Ryan Bissett, admissions representative at the Youngstown Campus said, “We at American National University recognize the hard work and time Tareana has dedicated to her new career, and are glad to see her using her skills to improve the lives of those who live in her community.”

Graduate Tareana Butler (l)), and Pam Recknor, a nurse at Turning Point Counseling Services in Youngstown, Ohio (r).

Memphis and Bartlett Campus Graduates Join Together To Celebrate Achievements

Memphis and Bartlett Campus Graduates Join Together To Celebrate Achievements

On Friday, May 23rd, the moment that graduates of the Bartlett and Memphis Campuses had been working toward finally arrived, as they walked proudly across the stage to receive their diplomas during the 2014 graduation ceremony held at First Baptist Church-Broad.

Shelby County Commissioner Henri E. Brooks delivered an inspiring commencement address to a packed house of family and friends.  Commissioner Brooks told the graduates that they should be proud of their accomplishments, and that they should encourage themselves.  “It takes a great deal of faith in oneself to be successful,” she said.

She stressed the importance of being active in the community and giving back to others.  “That’s what helps us build our community, when we turn around and help the next one behind us achieve that level that we have achieved,” said Commissioner Brooks.

She also urged the graduates to continue their education.  “You started," said Commissioner Brooks.  “Don’t stop.  Knowledge is power.  Never stop.  Never give up.”

During the service, a number of graduates earned awards for outstanding academic achievement. Travis Myles, a business administration-accounting graduate from the Memphis Campus, who is the owner of Myles Professional Solutions, and Ashley Bobo, a Bartlett Campus information systems engineering graduate, who is working for Tate Computer Systems and Mobile Device Techs, each received the Alumni Hall of Achievement Award.

Leadership Awards were also presented to Terrence Glasgow, an information systems engineering graduate from the Bartlett Campus, and Karen Hillard, a business administration-management graduate from the Memphis Campus.  

Prior to the ceremony, Karen shared that she came to National College after working in a number of dead end jobs.  “I got tired of looking at my situation and my circumstances, and decided that I’m getting too old and it’s time to build a foundation for myself,” said Karen.

She’s now working as a floor manager at Precious Moments Banquet Hall and she’s continuing her education to earn a second degree in accounting to help her advance even further in her career. “When I first started classes, my self-esteem and my confidence was really low, but as I kept going to school and kept working on it, it [built] up,” said Karen. 

Martha Harris, a health information management graduate from the Bartlett Campus, shared many of the graduates’ sentiment about the evening.  “I’m ecstatic,” she said, adding that she came to National after relocating to the area with her husband. “I had heard about National in Kentucky, and that it was a terrific school, so when I saw that there was a National close by, of course I went to National.”

She was hired by Lakeside Behavioral Health shortly before she completed her program, and she said she’s glad that her husband gave her the encouragement that she needed to earn her degree. “My husband gave me a little push,” recalled Martha. “He said ‘You’ve always wanted this. This is your time.’”


Achievement Award-Tracy Williams, Shunta Herron
Leadership Award-Terrence Glasgow, Karen Hillard
E.M. Coulter Award-Sarah M. Braska, Alfred Watson
Mary P. McGurn Award-Jacquine Rankin, Pricilla Crutcher
Joseph E. Hurn Award-Tina Griggs, Erica Joyner
M.A Smythe Award-Terrence Glasgow, Terethia Mabone
Alumni Hall of Achievement Award-Ashley C. Bobo, Travis Myles

A- Martha Harris, a health information management graduate, had heard that National College was a terrific school when she lived in Kentucky, so she enrolled at the Bartlett Campus when she relocated to the area.

B-Bartlett Campus graduates (front to back) Courtney Clements, Diana Cooper, and Lettie Crosby paused for a photo prior to the commencement ceremony.

Ellen Hairston-Student Services Representative-Martinsville

Ellen Hairston-Student Services Representative-Martinsville

• Ellen Hairston—Difference Maker at the Martinsville Campus

• Student Services Representative

• ANU staff member for 25 years
• Three-time recipient of the Outstanding College Member of the Year award for the Martinsville Campus

• Earned an associate’s degree in business administration-management, a bachelor's degree in business administration, and an MBA from ANU

“I admire our students’ determination to complete their programs of study no matter what. I enjoy graduation and seeing students that I know have overcome obstacles-- health issues, family life situations, first time graduates in their family—smiling as they march across the stage.

“The best thing about being part of the ANU staff is the people you meet and the friends you get to work with every day. By doing our jobs efficiently, professionally, and in a timely manner, we can take some of the worry off of students so they can fully concentrate on their studies.”

“Ellen Hairston has always been cooperative with students in preparing their financial assistance packages and in answering student questions on scheduling and other Student Service inquiries,” said John Scott, campus director.  “Ellen has also shown strong leadership skills in regional training sessions for new staff members and Campus Directors.   I value her service to American National University.”

American National University Difference Maker, Ellen Hairston is pictured with student Freddie Daniels.

Supreme Court of Kentucky Justice Advises Graduates to Mind their Reputations, Manners, and Work Ethic to Find Success

Supreme Court of Kentucky Justice Advises Graduates to Mind their Reputations, Manners, and Work Ethic to Find Success

On Tuesday, May 27th, the educational achievements of graduates from the Florence Campus were celebrated during a commencement ceremony which was held at The Florentine Event Center.  After stoically entering the venue to the traditional chords of "Pomp and Circumstance," the graduates were urged by campus director Amy Brown to set aside the questions that they had about the future and to savor each moment of the important milestone in their lives.

Justice Michelle M. Keller, Supreme Court Justice for the 6th Appellate District, congratulated the graduates and said that she was honored to serve as their commencement speaker.  She began her address by quoting President Abraham Lincoln who said “I will study and get read, and perhaps my chance will come.”

“Abraham Lincoln’s chance certainly came, and you have studied, you are ready, and your chance will come,” she assured them. 

She applauded the graduates for earning their degrees while overcoming obstacles such as economic factors, health issues, and while serving their country. “I do know what you’ve been through,” said Justice Keller.  “My path has been similar in many ways, and tonight we can share the mutual satisfaction of having met those challenges and having conquered them.”

She advised the graduates to mind their reputations, their manners, and their work ethic in order to find success in their careers. “This may seem like the end of the journey, but it’s really the beginning of a new and exciting one,” said Justice Keller.  “You will be presented with numerous opportunities to leave your mark and make a difference.  You are the future, and you are the future at work, and the future waiting to happen.  I can’t wait to see what you all do next.”

Following Justice Keller’s address, a number of graduates received awards for outstanding academic achievement. The E. M. Coulter Award was given to Krista Bryl; the Mary P. McGurn Award to Courtney Good; the Joseph E. Hurn Award to Judith M. Carpenter; and the M.A. Smythe Award to Amanda Hamms. 

Kenneth Huff, a retired veteran of the U.S. Army, was the recipient of the Achievement Award, which is given to a graduate who overcame obstacles to achieve success in their studies.  Fatou Souare, a native of Senegal, who served as a federal work-study student at the campus, and was an active member of the Student Activities Committee, was presented with the Leadership Award.

Another highlight of the evening was the Alumni Hall of Achievement Award which was presented to Ben Horgan, a 2003 graduate of the business administration-management program, who works as a project manager for the City of Florence. Ben was featured in the January 14, 2014 issue of the National News:  Ben was featured in the January 14, 2014 issue of the National News:

Following the presentation of the awards, the graduates each proudly accepted their diplomas and medical students were pinned by their program director. 

In addition to the graduates of the Florence Campus who received their diplomas during the ceremony, Stephen Sally, who earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration-management through American National University Online also participated.  “I never missed a beat,” Stephen said of the transition from the associate’s degree program, which he completed at the Florence Campus, into the online program. “I want to get into the workforce and put [to use] all this knowledge that I have…”  Read more about Stephen's experience at American National University and ANU Online here:;s-Degree-Online-20120821-0542

Reina Lebron and her daughter Keishla Lebron, natives of the Virgin Islands, were excited to participate in the commencement ceremony together. Reina earned her degree in information systems engineering, and Keishla earned hers in the office technology program.  Keishla said that she came to National after hearing about the great experience that her mother had at the school.  “I feel very accomplished for this and very excited,” Keishla said.

A-Commencement speaker Supreme Court of Kentucky Justice Michelle M. Keller told the Florence Campus graduates that they are "the future waiting to happen" during her address.

B-Veterans graduates at each American National University Campus proudly wear red, white, and blue cords as part of their graduation regalia.  Shown left to right:  Florence Campus graduates Jerry Marshall, Stephen Sally and Kenneth Huff and student services representative Jason Stewart.


Graduate's Daughter Follows in Her Mother's Footsteps Almost 20 Years Later

Graduate's Daughter Follows in Her Mother's Footsteps Almost 20 Years Later

Karen Gordon, a 1995 graduate of the Danville, Kentucky Campus, watched proudly as her daughter, Clarissa Hill Powers, a medical assisting graduate, walked across the stage to accept her diploma during the campus’s recent commencement ceremony. “She was a young child when I came to National, so I think that encouraged her to go to National,” Karen said.

After graduating from the accounting and management information systems programs at American National University, Karen continued her education at another university, building on the credits that she earned at National. She eventually went on to earn her MBA, and worked in the field of accounting for many years before coming back to American National University as an instructor.

Karen feels proud that she’s set a good example for her three daughters and she’s watched as they each earned college degrees of their own.

“I’ve done this with two little kids,” Clarissa said proudly of earning her degree. “Just a better career to better take care of my children--that’s what I’m striving for.”

Graduate Clarissa Hill (right) is shown with her mother, Karen Gordon, (left) a 1995 graduate of the Danville, Kentucky Campus.


Lifelong Passion for Music Leads Student to National College

Lifelong Passion for Music Leads Student to National College

Anthony Calder is turning his love for music into his dream career. He is pursuing his associate’s degree in radio and television broadcasting at the Lexington Campus. “I have always had a love for music,” said Anthony.  “This is all I have ever wanted to do.  My training here at National is providing the tools I need to succeed in my dream career!” 

“There are a very limited number of training programs in this particular discipline in the region,” said Anthony.  “American National University offers a tremendous opportunity with their radio and television broadcasting degree.  I hopped onto the Internet, visited the website, and here I am.” 

When asked about American National University, Anthony stated, “I love the small, hands-on technical classes.  You are given a lot of guidance in many facets of your training.  The instructors are terrific and everyone has your future in mind as they help you learn your craft.”

“My dream job is to be a DJ for one of the big-gun stations,” said Anthony.  "You meet many of the music industry’s stars, meet many up-and-coming artists, and you are definitely working in a high-energy entertainment field.  I cannot wait!” 

Anthony Calder of the Lexington Campus is pursuing a degree in radio and television broadcasting. 

Veteran Student Gives Back To Other Soldiers in the VA Work Study Program

Veteran Student Gives Back To Other Soldiers in the VA Work Study Program

Business administration management student Melvin March, a retired veteran of the U.S. Army who is a student at the Richmond Campus, is working in the VA work-study program at the Kentucky Career Center.  In his work, he assists many retired veterans, like himself, with their job search.  “When they get out now, it’s hard for them to find a job,” he explained.

He works one-on-one with the veterans to help them update their résumés, and he sets up job interviews for them.  He also assisted veteran job seekers during the career fair that was recently held at the Richmond Campus.

Melvin retired from the military after 33 years of service to his country.  “I thought about what I wanted to do after that, and I decided that I should go to school, because I’d always wanted to get in business,” Melvin recalled.  In addition to the funding he’s receiving as a VA work-study student, he’s using his Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits and the Armed Service Recognition Grant, available exclusively at American National University, to help him cover the cost of his education.

Melvin said that his work with the veterans at the Kentucky Career Center is very rewarding.  “I love it,” he said.  “I’m giving back to the soldiers and giving back to the community.”

Melvin March, a business administration-management student at the Richmond Campus, is working at the Kentucky Career Center in the VA work-study 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.