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

October 27, 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


From HVAC Technician to Surgical Technologist

From HVAC Technician to Surgical Technologist

After graduating from the Cincinnati Campus and earning his credentials as a certified surgical technologist (CST) earlier this year, Kevin Ballard can’t imagine anywhere that he’d rather be working than at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.  “I work in the operating room with the surgeons and assist them,” Kevin explained. “The kids are sick, and once you’re done, you know that you’ve really helped that child for the rest of their lives.”

His new career with one of the top hospitals in the country is even more amazing to Kevin when he considers that just a few years ago he was working as an HVAC technician.

He had worked in the HVAC field for over 25 years when he decided the time had come to make a career change.  He earned his GED in December, 2011 then decided to continue his education in the medical field. After looking at a number of local colleges, he enrolled at American National University in February, 2012. “I’ve always wanted to learn more about the human body,” said Kevin.  “That’s why I got into the surgical technology program.”

Kevin was able to continue working in HVAC while attending night classes during the early stages of his program. Later, he was hired to work in sterile processing at Christ Hospital, where he gained experience in the field and worked on third shift as he participated in clinicals in area health care facilities during the day.
During his clinicals, Kevin was excited to progress in the OR from observing to assisting with surgeries. He feels that his externship with Dr. Jon Mendelsohn, at Advanced Cosmetics and Laser, was one of his greatest learning experiences. “He’s really a great teacher,” Kevin said of Dr. Mendelsohn.  “He will challenge you while he’s doing surgery, and he’ll ask you questions.”

Kevin continues to expand his knowledge of surgical technology as he assists with new procedures each day in the OR at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.  Looking back, he feels that his program at American National University has changed his life and that his new career has definitely been worth the sacrifices that he made. “For the past two years, I’ve had to put everything on hold, but when you look back at it you think ‘Wow!  It went pretty fast.’ I wasn’t going to stop until I got here,” he said proudly.

A-Kevin Ballard graduated from the Cincinnati Campus this year and earned credentials as a certified surgical technologist.

B-Kevin Ballard has transitioned from working as an HVAC technician into a career as a certified surgical technologist working in the OR at Cincinnati Children's Hospital after earning his associate's degree at American National University.


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

Dayton Campus Student Feels Purple Pride

Dayton Campus Student Feels Purple Pride

When Renee McKinney began searching for a college, American National University was her first stop, and she’s been an enthusiastic fixture at the Dayton Area Campus ever since.  Her love of the school started with the purple pen that she was given in admissions when she was completing her paperwork.  “Purple’s my favorite color.  That got me hooked right then and there, because purple is National’s color,” she said with purple pride.

 “I absolutely fell in love,” she recalled. “I completed all of my paperwork within the first two days and I cancelled my other two appointments.  I’ve been here ever since.”

She feels that much of her success in her office technology professional and business administration-accounting programs is due to her instructors, who make every effort to help her in any way they can.  “That’s what I love about this college, because the students are top priority,” she said. “They want their students to graduate and do well.  They go out of their way to be sure that their students get the help that they need.”

Renee feels proud to assist other students as a tutor at the campus and she often recommends American National University to others.  “I’m just happy at this college,” explained Renee.  “They work around you.  If I can do it, you can do it.”

Renee McKinney, a student in the business administration-accounting and office technology programs at the Dayton Area Campus, has plenty of purple pride.

Graduates and Students Connect With Employers During Fall Career Fair

Graduates and Students Connect With Employers During Fall Career Fair

Nashville Campus career center director Terri Davis-McCall recently hosted a successful fall career fair which gave students, graduates and the public an opportunity to meet employers face-to-face.
During the career fair, Caregivers by Wholecare, TrueBlue Hospitality, Metro Nashville Public Schools, Manpower, US Bank, Comdata, and several other local employers shared information about job openings with the career fair participants.

Graduate Wilene Simmons, who completed her pharmacy technician program at the campus earlier this year, took advantage of the opportunity to network with the employers.  She was excited to see Walgreens, the pharmacy in which she conducted her externship,, as one of the participants.  “I really enjoyed it,” said Wilene.  “I got exposure to almost everything.”

Carol Duckwiler, operations trainer for Walgreens, said that the company was actively looking for pharmacy technicians.  “We’re all about extraordinary customer care,” Mrs. Duckwiler said of the company’s focus on hiring those with excellent people skills.  She added that she was pleasantly surprised to meet a graduate who had completed an externship at one of her stores.  “That’s a step in…she knows the working of our pharmacy.”

Nashville Campus pharmacy technician program graduate is shown talking with Walgreens operations trainer Carol Duckwiler at the Fall Career Fair.

Guest Speaker Inspires Class

Guest Speaker Inspires Class

Jackie Smith’s Anatomy and Physiology class at the Princeton Campus was honored to have a guest speaker recently. This particular speaker was invited by her niece, Pauline Miller, who is a student in this class.  Pauline chose to complete a project for her class addressing the effects of stomach cancer, as her aunt, Myesha Miller went through the process of fighting this battle.

Mrs. Milller seemed to have a difficult time influencing her physicians to look into the terrible pain she was experiencing, as far as finding the cause.  It took nine months, and many emergency visits before she was sent to a specialist, who tested and diagnosed her problem.  Mrs. Miller mentioned that at one point she could not eat and “was living on prayer.”

She further related to us the experiences of going through surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.  All of the students seemed to be listening with interest as this real life experience was shared with the class.  Pauline mentioned that she was inspired by her aunt and learned that, “You cannot give up!”

Myesha Miller, (l), who is the aunt of Princeton Campus student Pauline Miller (r), recently spoke to her Anatomy and Physiology Class on her battle with cancer. 

Students Learn Valuable Interviewing Skills from Workshop

Students Learn Valuable Interviewing Skills from Workshop

An interview for a new job is both an exciting and terrifying opportunity.  It is a chance to impress a prospective employer with your skills and enthusiasm for a position, but it can also be a landmine of tricky and unexpected questions.  At a recent workshop on interviewing skills, Parkersburg Campus career center director  Maryann Sims presented practical information and hands-on practice to prepare her audience for a successful interviewing experience.

Both students from ANU and community members attended this workshop which covered a wide range of topics.  Maryann discussed the various types of interviews that the attendees might be invited to participate in.  She also presented information on how to prepare for the interview, such as dressing appropriately and how to follow up after the interview.

Towards the end of the workshop, the attendees broke up into groups to participate in a mock interview.  They discussed questions related to their greatest weaknesses and addressing work related problems.  ANU student Robin DeVan said, “It was really helpful to practice answering these questions before I went into a real interview.  I got an opportunity to practice how I would word the answers to some tricky questions.”

Maryann Simms, career center director at the Parkersburg Campus, recently presented a workshop on interviewing skills. 

Medical Office Recognized for Providing Multiple Externships and Employment

Medical Office Recognized for Providing Multiple Externships and Employment

Dr. David Zimmerman, Harrisonburg campus director, presented the Distinguished Community Employer Award plaque to the Augusta Health Center in Fishersville, Virginia.  Augusta Health is among the finest community hospitals in America, having recently been cited as one of the 100 most outstanding hospitals in the United States. The current Augusta Health facility opened in 1994 to continue a tradition of personalized care with small-town hospitality that began more than 50 years ago with predecessor hospitals in Staunton and Waynesboro, Virginia.  During the past year, Augusta Health has provided externship opportunities for ten of the campus’s phlebotomy students and two of its graduates are currently employed by Augusta Health

ANU is extremely proud of the fact that externships are an integral part of our medical programs and provide experiences that make our students “job ready” at the end of their academic programs. 

“We are always pleased to have ANU phlebotomy students here at Augusta Health,” said Stacy Ramsey, who serves on the Harrisonburg Campus’s medical advisory board.  “They are well-prepared for the clinical activities to which they are assigned and demonstrate an exceptional ‘work ethic’ as well.”

Pictured (l) to (r) are:  Dr. Fred Castell, Chief Medical Officer; Lisa Cline, Chief Operating Officer; Karen Clark, Vice President of Operations for Augusta Medical Group; Stacy Ramsey , Phlebotomy Supervisor; David Zimmerman, Harrisonburg campus director; Tami Radecke, Executive Director Augusta Health Foundation; Dr. George Jirak, President of Augusta Medical Group; and Dan O’Connor, VP of Human Resources.

Employer Visits Campus to Encourage Students

Employer Visits Campus to Encourage Students

Thirty students at the Bartlett Campus attended a session with three staff members from Aerotek recently.  The representatives were: Nadine Garrett, Recruiting Manager for the Scientific / Professional Division; Karena Walker, On Site Manager – with Aerotek at Accredo and Annie McKenzie, On-Premise Manager with Aerotek at Teleflex.

Aerotek is an operating company of Allegis Group® Inc., the largest recruiting and staffing company in the U.S. Allegis Group is comprised of a group of specialty service companies that provide niche staffing services throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. They have several divisions that they staff for in Memphis including professional services, scientific, engineering, automotive, and warehousing/distribution. They hire HIM grads as well as pharmacy tech, medical assistants, accounting and administrative grads.  The representatives talked about a wide range of topics including résumés and how important it is to be very detailed about your skills, interviewing and appropriate attire, the importance of being punctual, professional manners, maintaining a positive attitude and the emphasis of written language. 

The recruiters mentioned that they  ask the college to provide information regarding graduates’ attendance.  Their logic is that if a student had poor attendance in school it might be the same way when the grad begins working.  They also talked about being professional on Facebook pages.
Medical assisting student Latoiya Burton shared that she received some important and helpful information from the recruiters, and felt she would greatly enjoy working with them.

Aerotek is a previous recipient of the Distinguished Community Employer award by the Bartlett Campus because they have hired its students and graduates, attended job fairs, and given presentations such as this one. 

Pictured  (l) to (r): Annie McKenzie, On-Premise Manager with Aerotek at Teleflex, Nadine Garrett, Recruiting Manager for the Scientific / Professional Division, Karena Walker, On Site Manager – with Aerotek at Accredo and Sammie Hawkins, Career Center Director.

Students Participate in Association of Surgical Technologists State Assembly

Students Participate in Association of Surgical Technologists State Assembly

Students from the surgical technology program at the Florence Campus recently traveled to Louisville for the Association of Surgical Technologists’ (AST) 10th Annual Kentucky State Assembly. According to the National Board of Surgical Technologist and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA), there are 50,511 Certified Surgical Technologists (CST) in the nation and of those, approximately 1,075 are in Kentucky. 

The annual conference offers educational programs and networking opportunities. This year’s workshops included: TLIF (Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion), surgical site infections, NBSTSA certification, brain tumors, professionalism, career ladder, surgical time out procedures, and perception and how to get along with others.  Mock Medical, a company that provides training and educational surgical instrument kits to surgical technology programs, also had r hands-on demonstrations available for the Assembly’s participants.

Surgical technology student Cheryl Marksberry, said that the conference was an excellent experience. “Hearing from several surgeons lead to an eye opener for avenues to research for future endeavors,” Cheryl said. “Presentations given by future fellow surgical technologists were an excellent resource on what to expect in the OR.”

“Dr. Sun discussed the procedure to operate when a brain tumor is present,” said instructor Alice Spencer.  “This allowed students to further understand the importance of knowing medical terminology,” she explained.

Surgical technology students from the Florence Campus are shown at the AST Kentucky State Assembly that was recently held in Louisville.

Pikeville Campus Partners With Agencies and Employers for a Regional Mega Job Fair

Pikeville Campus Partners With Agencies and Employers for a Regional Mega Job Fair

The Pikeville Campus recently partnered with Big Sandy Area Community Action Program, Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Services, and the Kentucky Career Center to provide the area with a Regional Mega Job Fair.  Several employers were present to screen and interview potential employees, including Ryder, Walmart, Kentucky One Health, Pikeville Medical Center, Western Construction, and Servpro. 

American National University students were among those who had the opportunity to speak with hiring managers regarding open positions and make a good first impression. 

Allison Newsome, a student in the medical assisting program, was one of the students present at the event. Allison talked to several of the employers and was excited about the new opportunities that she was presented with at the fair. 

“More than 200 job seekers, along with 28 companies, attended the event,” said Erica Ash, WIA coordinator for the Big Sandy Area Community Action Program.  “I want to congratulate all the partners, including the Kentucky Career Center, EKCEP, Big Sandy Area Community Action Program and American National University for a successful event and for collaborating to bring employers and job seekers together.”

Pictured (l) to (r)-Pikeville Campus director of health care education Wilma Storey is shown with students Felica McCoy, Misty Blackburn, Allison Newsome, and Delma Stanley at the Mega Job Fair.

Son Joins Mother as a Student at National College

Son Joins Mother as a Student at National College

Tirelle Singleton recently enrolled in the business administration-accounting program at the Danville, Kentucky Campus thanks to encouragement from his mother, Velisa Singleton, a student in the medical assisting and medical billing and coding programs.

Velisa came to American National University after being laid off from her job working in a glass manufacturing factory.  “When the economy crashed in 2008, we all got laid off right before Christmas, but I found it as my opportunity to get out. I came to National and here I am about to graduate and go into the medical field,” said Velisa who is on track to graduate in February, 2015.

“Right after my 25th birthday is when I enrolled,” recalled Tirelle who added that he wasn’t ready for college right out of high school.  “It’s getting to the point where you have to have an education, and I figured I might as well go ahead and get that done now, and not have to worry about it later.”

Tirelle enrolled in the accounting program because he likes a challenge and has always been good with numbers.  Velisa is excited about the opportunities in the medical field that await her, and she feels good knowing she played a part in helping her son create a brighter future for himself.  “He’s a really smart kid.  I always told him, ‘A mind is a terrible thing to waste,’…so I’m glad he’s putting to use that brain that I gave him,” she said with a smile.  “[American National University is] giving me and him, and anybody who comes here, skills to do something else, something better.”

Velisa Singleton encouraged her son, Tirelle Singleton, to join her as part of the American National University family.

Veterans Discover the National College Advantage

Veterans Discover the National College Advantage

As the parents of three children, U.S. Army veterans Robert and Randi Short thought that it would be impossible to attend college at the same time.  But after Robert enrolled in the business administration-management program at the Richmond Campus, Randi discovered that each class met just once a week., She soon joined him as a American National University student when she enrolled in the business administration-accounting program.

In addition to working well with their family’s schedule, Randi and Robert found that they are comfortable with the class schedule at National because the classes are around four hours each in  in length which is similar to those that they took in the military . “We’re used to it,” said Robert. “We just recently got out of the military, so we’re used to the military ways.”  “I learn better that way,” added Randi.

Robert and Randi have also found the staff at the Richmond Campus is helpful and knowledgeable about their Post-9/11 G. I. Bill benefits, which allowed them to get started in their programs quickly.  Their experience with other schools was that it took several months to process the paperwork before classes began. 

In the future, Robert and Randi hope to work side-by-side in a business of their own, using the skills gained in their program at National.  “I’m going to open up a shop or a store of some type and my wife is going to do the books,” Robert explained with a smile.

U.S. Army veterans Randi and Robert Short enjoy the longer length of their classes at American National University which is similar to those that they found in the military.

Medical Students Learn How to Cope With Companion Fatigue

Medical Students Learn How to Cope With Companion Fatigue

Lynchburg Campus medical assisting and pharmacy techncician students from the classes of Jane Wright, instructor, and Sue Coleman, director of health care education, learned that careers in the healthcare field can be very stressful.  Mark Beck, mental health counselor with Centra Health, stated that 1 out of 3 healthcare workers leave within one year and more than fifty percent leave within two years due to stress related issues.   Although they are great careers because of the fact that there will always be people to take care of, the stress, or “Companion Fatigue”, can make you feel defeated if you don’t learn to cope with it from the start.  Mark says that “it can destroy you if you fight it head-on” and that “you must learn how to cope, not necessarily to conquer” these stresses in this demanding work environment.   With hospitals and healthcare systems in general working with low budgets, healthcare workers are expected to do more with less.  Basic “Seeds of Survival” need to be practiced each day in order to alleviate the daily stresses from a career in this field.  These stresses can wear you down and make it harder and harder for one to give what it takes to care for others.  Knowing when to stop this toxic flow and take time to rejuvenate takes a concentrated effort, but once you build this new habit it becomes easier.

Mark suggests using the letters from the word BASIC to help make it easier to remind you of what to do on a daily basis to help keep you in peak condition to care for others.
B – Body – Take care of your own.
A – Affect – Make sure you have an ample supply of positive emotions such as affection, happiness and excitement. 
S – Social – Stay connected to your friends and family. 
I – Intellect – Continue to learn to keep your mind strong. 
C – Cosmos – The Greek word for “the order of things” and learn the power of letting go. 

When you look at your body as a bucket – everyday things and people are pulling from this “bucket”.  When you create a reservoir of positivity for yourself by using all of your five senses daily – sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste – you can keep a level of positivity that helps you maintain your sanity. Build and maintain your ability to balance the scale.  By learning to be “Healthy Selfish”, being as good to yourself as you are to the others around you, coping with these stresses becomes easier. 

Darlene Tucker, medical assisting student at the Lynchburg Campus, summed it up by saying, “You see what you look for in life.  If you only look for negative then that’s what you are going to find.  If it’s positive you see, then you will find positive.  Take care of yourself.”

PHOTO-Pictured (l) to (r): Sue Coleman, director of health care education at the Lynchburg Campus; Mark Beck, mental health counselor with Centra Health; Jessica Thompson, medical assisting student, and Mark Johnson, pharmacy technician student.

Magic Happens When National Graduate Follows His Passion

Magic Happens When National Graduate Follows His Passion

Che Carr is proof-positive that following your life’s passion is a terrific way to find a career you truly love. While living in Maryland, Che was working in retail but his heart was pointing him toward a career in music and broadcasting.  “Honestly, I hated retail,” said Che.  “I had to work to pay the bills but my heart was just not in it.  I was lucky enough to get a part-time gig as a DJ at one of Maryland’s best radio stations and I knew I had to turn my passion for music and broadcasting into a career somehow.”

Che and his family moved to Lexington and he brought his passion for the music industry with him.  A friend of his mom worked at American National University and she told him that the Lexington Campus offered a program in radio and television broadcasting (RTB).  Che visited the campus, enrolled in June, 2011, and he finished his associate’s degree in June, 2013.  “I love American National University,” said Che.  “All of my instructors were awesome.  You won’t get lost in the shuffle at National.  The classes offer students a very personal learning experience – and the instructors are always here for you. If you want to learn a profession…you are attending the right college,” beamed Che.

Che’s dreams are backed by an intense determination to succeed in one of the most competitive industries in the nation. He has parlayed his knowledge into a career with Cumulus Radio, one of the largest radio companies in America, where he is working as a sound board operator.  He’s also co-managing an up-and-coming vocal group – After Romeo.  Many feel that After Romeo is on their way to success after their recent concert in Lexington was hugely successful.

Che’s future plans involve a permanent management position with the group, where he will be responsible for scheduling and booking events and handling public relations and social media, making sure that After Romeo’s path to stardom is well planned.  “I love the industry and working with After Romeo,” said Che. “My dream career has come true…thanks to American National University.”

Che Carr is a radio and television broadcasting graduate at the Lexington Campus who is managing an up-and-coming local vocal group.

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.