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October 06, 2014

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Project Manager Finds the Tools He Needs to Succeed at National

Project Manager Finds the Tools He Needs to Succeed at National

David Wilson came to the Dayton Area Campus after landing a job working as a project manager and estimator at Greater Dayton Construction Group. Although the position required a college degree, the company was impressed with David’s military service and his experience working as the regional manager of a chain of fitness clubs. “So when I got hired on I told them that I would be in school until I completed the degree that they require,” David recalled.

Using his Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits, David enrolled in the business administration-management program.  “I looked at a lot of different schools. American National University was the only school that worked with me on my schedule.  And they kept their promise,” he explained.

He also found that the campus’s staff was fantastic to work with, particularly when dealing with his VA benefits. “American National University certified my attendance every single [class], whereas with Sinclair [Community College] and some other schools, the student has to do that on their own. So I never had to make a phone call…I was always certified and payment always arrived at the school on time,” he said.

In his work at Greater Dayton Construction Group, David works with clients whose homes have been damaged by fire, flood, or other disasters.  He puts together estimates of what it will cost to repair the damages, procures approval from the insurance company, and then oversees the rebuild for the homeowner.

“The job that I’m in requires a person to be very analytical when you’re rebuilding a home,” David said.  “Through the courses that I took at American National University, a lot of the assignments and the projects that we had to do required us to be very analytical and put together research projects and papers.  Repetition over the last two years of doing that has definitely made a difference here.”

David plans to continue his education to earn his bachelor’s degree using the progressive learning path available through American National University Online, where his credits from American National University will transfer seamlessly.  “My short term goal is just to keep on learning,” he said.

U.S. Army veteran David Wilson enrolled at the Dayton Area Campus after being hired as a project manager and estimator at Greater Dayton Construction Group.

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Distinguished Community Employer Award Presented to Hill Chiropractic Center

Distinguished Community Employer Award Presented to Hill Chiropractic Center

The Martinsville Campus recently presented a Distinguished Community Employer Award to Dr. Matthew Hill of the Hill Chiropractic Center.  The Hill Chiropractic Center is a growing medical practice in the community and the business hired four Martinsville Campus graduates in the last year.   The Hill Chiropractic Center has also served as an externship site for medical assisting students at the Martinsville Campus.  Dr. Hill thanked admissions director Barbara Rakes for the award.  Graduate Regina Sykes commented that ANU offers students practical training for employment in the medical field.

Pictured at the Distinguished Community Employer presentation are: Hill Chiropractic Center office manager Regina Sykes, Dr. Matthew Hill, admissions director of the Martinsville Campus Barbara Rakes, and medical receptionist Sherika King. Both Regina and Sherika are ANU graduates.

Eye Care Associates Recognized as a Distinguished Community Employer

Eye Care Associates Recognized as a Distinguished Community Employer

The Youngstown Campus recently recognized Eye Care Associates as a Distinguished Community Employer.  Campus Director Mike Boyle had the proud honor of awarding the plaque to Karen Stillwagon, human resource supervisor, and Debby Souder, clinical supervisor.  Eye Care Associates has been a strong support to the Youngstown Campus and has hired many graduates from the surgical technology and medical assisting programs.  Ms. Stillwagon has been pleased with the American National University graduates that they have employed, saying that they are “well educated and are good employees.”  Eye Care Associates is a fully integrated regional eye care provider and has several locations.      

Campus Director Mike Boyle presents the Distinguished Community Employer plaque to Karen Stillwagon, human resource supervisor (left), and Debby Souder, clinical supervisor (right). 

Company Provides An Active Link Between Industry and Education

Company Provides An Active Link Between Industry and Education

A ten-story tall brick building just east of downtown Roanoke houses a software company with a global reach.  Meridium, Inc. works with companies around the world to help those companies manage and empower their assets using a wealth of modern technologies. Bejai Powell is a full-time IT administrator at Meridium and also serves as an instructor at the Roanoke Valley Campus, thus providing an active link between industry and education.

Through Powell’s connection, the company has invited ANU’s IT students to attend several relevant events including a .net event conducted by Amazon web services. 

Meridium and ANU enjoy a mutually-beneficial relationship; the company offers tangible support for education while American National University students are able to gain keen insight into their industry of choice.  In consideration of Meridium’s support for ANU, Campus Director Ron Bradbury was pleased to present Meridium, Inc. with the Distinguished Community Employer Award.

Ron Bradbury, Roanoke Valley campus director (right), presented the Distinguished Community Employer award to Eddie Amos, chief technology officer of Meridium in Roanoke (left), and Bejai Powell, IT administrator of Meridium (center).

Crystal Souder - Director of Admissions - Charlottesville

Crystal Souder - Director of Admissions - Charlottesville

• Crystal Souder – Difference Maker at the Charlottesville Campus

• Director of Admissions

• ANU staff member since 2008
• Recipient of ANU’s President’s Milestone Award for achievement in admissions, as well as several Outstanding Campus Member of the Year awards

• Received her associate’s degree in business administration-management from ANU
• Gained previous experience as the manager of three stores

“I am here to tell and show students that they can do it and encourage them the whole way. It sounds like a little thing, but sometimes it’s what makes the difference between them attending and graduating or not.

“Graduation is the most rewarding part of my career because not only do I get to see students that I’ve enrolled complete their dream, but I also get to see their families there to support and celebrate with them.”

“I have seen a lot of student transformations, but a couple of years ago there was a student who enrolled in the medical assisting program, who was also working and married with several children. She was very shy at first, but through her time at ANU she opened up, made a lot of friends and connections, handled her coursework and family responsibilities; she did it all. Now she has graduated and is working in her career and is able to spend more time with her family.

“The best thing about being an ANU staff member is having the opportunity to be part of something so big in people’s lives. Being on the front line in admissions has its moments, but the best is meeting so many people and connecting with them – making a difference. Student services, campus directors, instructors, academics, central processing, the president… we all get to be part of a great thing.”

Crystal Souder is the director of admissions at the Charlottesville Campus.  She has been employed there since 2008 and has won several prestigious awards from the campus. 

Campus Recognizes National Surgical Technology Week

Campus Recognizes National Surgical Technology Week

The surgical technology director at the Indianapolis Campus, Saundra Simms, celebrated National Surgical Technology week with students, faculty and the campus director, James Abraham.  James presented students of the program with a proclamation granted by Mayor Ballard of Indianapolis.  The Mayor’s proclamation recognized the work of surgical technologists and their profession.  Students also heard from a guest speaker and a current student, Ola Atobatele, who shared her experience coming to the United States from Nigeria.  She spoke primarily to the importance of education and praised American National University for many of her successes.  Ola said, “In my country, education is everything but it is not as easy to get it like here in the U.S.”

Pictured are students from the Indianapolis Campus recently celebrating National Surgical Technology Week.

Army Veteran Chooses National College to Enhance Her Work Experience

Army Veteran Chooses National College to Enhance Her Work Experience

Laura Gerrity, a student at the Nashville Campus, took an early retirement from the Army.  She served for just more than six years as a stenographer.  She had been working for the government and happened to live right around the corner from the campus.  She knew that she wanted to work with people and did not want to be confined to working in a cubicle so she found out about the medical assisting associate’s degree and decided to pursue it.  She was also able to use her veteran benefits.  She said that this, coupled with the “friendly people” at the campus, is the reason she chose National College. 

Laura chose the medical field because she had been a caregiver to her sister who passed away from cancer several years ago.  “Hospice was just wonderful,” said Laura, adding that she chose this career path to be able to help families.   Right now though, she is enjoying her medical assisting classes; particularly her Non-invasive Procedures class where she gets to perform lab works such as blood pressure, weight, and height checks, as well as throat cultures and EKG’s.  She said that she is looking forward to next term when she is able to take the Invasive Procedures class. 

Some words of wisdom that she has for current or future National students include:  “Keep up with your homework,” said Laura.  “Don’t get behind because once you do, it’s very hard to catch-up.  If you need help, ask because there is plenty of help out there…everyone is always willing to help…there [are] lots of tutors.”

Student and Army veteran Laura Gerrity is currently a medical assisting student at the Nashville Campus.  She may pursue a career in hospice.

Graduate Builds Successful Career on the Foundation of her Business Degree

Graduate Builds Successful Career on the Foundation of her Business Degree

After completing high school in a homeschool setting, Annastasia Jones was unsure what career field she would choose to study, but she was sure that she wasn’t interested in taking the many classes that weren’t relevant to her major that are required of freshmen at the local state universities. “I had just gotten out of high school and I was looking to further my education and pick what I wanted to do with my life,”Annastasia recalled.  “I was very career focused.  I just wanted to be able to find a college that would help me with that, and that’s exactly what National did.” 

Annastasia visited the Richmond Campus, where her admissions representative reviewed the programs available that would prepare her for a career in a high-demand field.  After careful consideration, she enrolled in the business administration-management program.  “They talked to me about the degrees that they offered and what jobs I could get with them.  That’s what helped me [decide] on getting my management degree,” Annastasia explained. “I liked the fact that I would have a broad range of what I could do with my degree, and what all I can utilize it with.”

After earning her associate’s degree at American National University in 2011, Annastasia was hired by FAB Steel, a structural and steel fabricating company, where she is working as a production assistant and safety coordinator. She has a variety of responsibilities in the company, including coordinating on-site safety inspections, holding safety meetings, and assisting with data entry and billing.  “Since I’ve been here, they’ve trained me to do a lot more things that I was able to base my degree on and build on,” she said.

In the future, Annastasia plans to continue her education and earn her bachelor’s degree.
“They helped me pick something that I could grow in..and [my degree is] giving me an opportunity to have a better life,” Annastasia said of her education at National. “They helped me expand my horizons and meet every goal that I had along the way.”

A-Annastasia Jones was career-focused and wanted to avoid the general education classes required at state universities when she enrolled at the Richmond Campus right out of high school.

B-Annastasai Jones was hired as a production assistant and safety coordinator at FAB Steel after earning her business administration-management degree at American National University.

Studying “Early and Often” is Key to Success on Certified Surgical Technology Exam

Studying “Early and Often” is Key to Success on Certified Surgical Technology Exam

Surgical technology students at the Florence Campus are committed to maintaining the campus’s successful pass rate for the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) certification exam and have sketched out a plan to meet regularly to study.  “Early and often (preparation) is almost always the formula for successful passage of a professional exam” said Amy Brown, the campus director.  “Most of us at some point in our career have had to take time far and beyond the classroom to study for this type of an exam, but it takes a special group of students to forge this path together.” 

The cohort structuring of the surgical technology program model affords students the chance to bond with one another early on in their academic careers and stay close as they propel towards graduation.  But in this case, graduation isn’t a guarantee for career success in the surgical technology field; to become a surgical technologist, graduates seek credentials through the Association of Surgical Technologists (AST).  Florence Campus surgical technology graduates have had great success in the past year, boasting a 100% passage on their first attempt at taking the CST exam.

“This accomplishment is theirs to own, but it is for the upcoming graduates to maintain that standard of excellence,” explained surgical technology director, Carolyn Nienaber.  “We feel that we provide them the curriculum, tools, facilities, and clinical experience, but the upcoming graduates have to work hard to mentally prepare for the endless combinations of questions that could be asked on this exam,” explained Carolyn.  “They are juggling clinical site hours, their families, and their other classes.  Studying in groups really helps!”

The students in the Surgical Technology I course started a study group to help each other with lab practice for competencies and upcoming tests. Surgical technology student, Rebecca Spurlock explained, “During the study group...thinking I had a firm grasp over the content, I realized I didn’t...and was glad to hear and learn about what the students in my class knew.”  While ultimately the goal of career success is the topmost on the minds of these upcoming graduates, they are also building lifelong friendship with others who share a common goal, all-the-while preparing for their futures as certified surgical technologists.

Surgical technology student Nicole Kannady is shown practicing her surgical scrub.

U. S. Marine Makes The Leap From Job To Career

U. S. Marine Makes The Leap From Job To Career

Jennifer Neisinger went straight into the U.S. Marines after graduating from high school and proudly served her country during her three-year stint.  “My military career was terrific.  I was an S-3 training clerk with tons of responsibilities.  I was actually sending source reports directly to the President of the United States on a regular basis.  After finishing my time in the Marine Corps, I returned home and began looking for work.  It didn’t take long to realize I was not going to get very far without a college degree,” said Jennifer.

Jennifer’s military experience prepared her to excel in her career but she needed her college degree to propel that career.  Jennifer reminisced, “I bounced from one miserable job to another.  I had no benefits and I had gone as far as my education would take me.  I took a long, difficult look at myself and my situation and realized I had to make major changes.  I was now a single mother and it was getting more difficult to support myself and my child.  College was the only way to go. ”

After a brief stint with another college, she made another change.  “Nobody knew anything about my military benefits – they could not answer the first question,” said Jennifer.  Your GI Bill is not unlimited so I quit that school immediately.  A friend suggested American National University – and what a difference it is.  Everyone was very knowledgeable about my military benefits and they understand how to apply them.  This goes a long way toward making veterans feel comfortable and secure they’ve chosen the right college.”

She will complete her last term in December and will graduate with her degree in medical assisting plus her medical coding and billing diploma as well.  “I’m finishing with great training in two careers and I’m ready,” said Jennifer.  “I love it here at National and my time has just flown by.” 

Jennifer Neisinger is a veteran of the U.S. Marines and will graduate from the Lexington Campus in December with two degrees.  

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.