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

November 03, 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 Assisting Students Complete Vision and Hearing Screenings

Medical Assisting Students Complete Vision and Hearing Screenings

Medical assisting students at the Princeton Campus who have completed at least one clinical class spent many hours volunteering during the months of September and October.  Students have traveled to Richlands, Tazewell, and Bluefield, Virginia to complete vision and hearing screenings at ten different Tazewell County, Virginia elementary, middle, and high schools.

Patricia Sell, director of health care education, has arranged for students to assist with the screenings for the past three years.  When Christie Christian, nursing supervisor with Tazewell County Schools received news that ANU students would be coming again she said, “Thank you for offering your services to us!  We appreciate the help!”

After students completed screenings in Tazewell, Kay Maxfield, nursing supervisor said, “The girls were great, cooperative, and pleasant. Thanks so much!” 

“They were wonderful…very professional…interested and excited to learn something new…worked really well with the children,” said Sandy VanDyke, the nurse practitioner who coordinated the visit.  “I hope it was an educational experience for them as well.”

Students concur that it was very educational.  “I have thoroughly enjoyed going to the schools and doing the hearing and vision screenings,” said Jennifer Gibbons.  “Learning the new skills and being able to perform the tests well have increased my confidence.”

The schools each had different criteria for screenings at different ages.  Some completed screening for nearsightedness and farsightedness and some also added stereopsis (depth perception) to the list. They also completed pure tone audiometry and viewed a demonstration using acoustic reflectometry. 

Student Twila Belcher said, “It has been a pleasure working with fellow students at the hearing testing sites.” Student Leslie Perdue said, “It was a great experience.  It really helped me become more comfortable in becoming a med assistant.”

Pictured (l) to (r) are students Lakan Newman, Tiffany Carter, and Lorie Clifton, health assistant at Richlands Elementary School.

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

From Camo to Scrubs

From Camo to Scrubs

Jim Bare has come a long way since his Army days.  His interests in human anatomy and his desire “to further his education and obtain a well-paying job,” led him to enroll in the medical assisting program at the Bristol Campus.  Jim chose National College because of the career-focused curriculum. “They offered courses designed to my specific degree, with no fluff classes,” he said. The small class sizes and tutoring at no additional cost helped Jim to feel comfortable with his decision to go back to school.

A little more than one year later, after a lot of hard work and study, Jim earned his degree in medical assisting.  He also earned his phlebotomy certification, an important credential in the industry.  Throughout Jim’s time at National he was an active member of the student body.  He found time to assist with numerous committees and even set up his own externship at Johnson City Community Health Center, (JCCHC).  Jim’s work ethic and willingness to learn paved the road for National to sign a contract with JCCHC to take on two students for externships next term.  As a direct result of Jim’s dedication to his education and his externship, he was offered a position at JCCHC, which was recently named a Distinguished Community Employer by the Bristol Campus. 

Although Jim has graduated, he still gives back to National College.  Jim is often a guest speaker for classes and assists in new student orientation.  “I want to be a part of bringing new students into the school and to prove that it can be done.  You can be successful with the training received from National College.”

Pictured (l) to (r):  Bristol Campus instructor Trisha Mims, graduate Jim Bare, Janice Abernath, the nursing supervisor of Johnson City Community Health Center, and Sheri Jessee, the director of the health care education presenting the Distinguished Community Employer Award. 

Campus Hosts Successful Business Expo

Campus Hosts Successful Business Expo

The Danville, Virginia Campus recently hosted a local business expo on-campus. The event was an opportunity for local businesses and vendors to showcase their products to the community and ANU students. The event was open to the public and was well-attended.

“We had a good turnout at the event and it met our goals,” said Byron Rawlinson, business department chair. “The businesses were really excited to meet our students and vice-versa.”

Businesses participating in the event included AmeriStaff, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Lutheran Family Services, Peace Haven and others.

The business expo provided students with the opportunity to network with local businesses and employers. The business expo exemplifies ANU’s commitment to developing professional networks with local businesses both as a means to support local businesses and to develop career-focused graduates.

Two representatives with Peace Haven recently attended the business expo held on campus.

Graduate Is On Her Way Up the Health Information Management Career Ladder

Graduate Is On Her Way Up the Health Information Management Career Ladder

When Deanna Christie, a graduate of the Parkersburg Campus, decided that she wanted to go back to school, it was the health information management program that really appealed to her and made her decision easy.   “I wanted to be involved in healthcare and working in an office setting was exactly what I needed,” said Deanna.

Deanna had been a stay-at-home mom for a number of years.  As her sons became older, she wanted to do something for herself and her family, and go back to school to find a career that she could love.   After her family moved to Parkersburg from Michigan, she found ANU and the health information management program and knew it would be the right fit for her.

Deanna feels that ANU has certainly prepared her to enter the workforce.  She credits Deborah Kleeh, director of health information management, and Maryann Sims, career center director, for helping her feel workforce ready.  “I loved Debbie’s passion for what she was teaching and that was contagious,” said Deanna.  “Maryann helped me with interviewing and my résumé which definitely helped me land a job.  They both made sure that we got done what we needed to do in order to graduate and find a job.” 

The experience that Deanna most values is the externship she completed at Camden Clark Medical Center, Memorial Campus.  That gave her the working knowledge she needed to round out her education.  It also gave her some admirers who recommended she be hired when an appropriate position was found.  Deanna said, “I still don’t know who gave a letter of recommendation to human resources and they can’t tell me, but I really appreciate it and I know that’s how I got my current position.”

Deanna is currently a receptionist at the Camden Clark Primary Care center where she has a lot of responsibility related to her degree.  She schedules and registers patients, as well as answers a flood of phone calls.  She also handles the scanning of patient records and maintaining them electronically, setting up new accounts and putting together new patient packets.  

“Go now,” said Deanna when asked about her biggest piece of advice for anyone wanting to go back to school.  “You’re never too old and follow through.  Don’t give up when it gets hard!  Good things will come.”  With her foot in the door, she is looking forward to a long career in health information management, culminating in her own medical coding and billing business after she gets some experience.   For right now, she loves her co-workers and patients, plus the experience she is getting in her field.

Pictured are graduate Deanna Christie, Amanda Flanagan, office manager, and Brittany Barker, medical assistant with Camden Clark Medical Center, Memorial Campus in Parkersburg, West Virginia.

Cybersecurity Student Lands Job As A Result of Campus Career Fair

Cybersecurity Student Lands  Job As A Result of Campus Career Fair

Cybersecurity student Sh’Juann Vilo was recently hired as a tech lead working on the help desk at Asurion after connecting with the company during a career fair at the Nasvhille Campus. Asurion provides technical and help desk support for tablets, phones, and computer systems.

“I didn’t even expect to get a job the day that I came to that career fair,” Sh’Juann recalled. “I was just here to go to class and they happened to be here.  We happened to talk and a week later I was employed.”

Sh’Juann said that his position at Asurion is a great opportunity for him to gain valuable experience in his field.  “I work on the help desk and I’m in this wheel chair, so the job is an optimum job for someone like me [because] it would be hard for me to handle equipment,” he said. “That’s what I like about it so much.  I can still work in my field without having to hurt myself or do something that would be detrimental to me considering I have a spinal cord injury.”

Sh’Juann, who worked in the music industry for 20 years before coming to National College, feels that there is a great demand for cybersecurity professionals.  “People need to secure their information,” he explained.
He has earned his CompTIA A+, Security Pro, and Microsoft Server 2008 certifications while in his program at National and he plans to obtain three more valuable certifications before graduating. 

Sh'Juann Vilo recently was hired to work as a lead tech on the help desk at Asurion after connecting with the company during a career fair at the Nashville Campus.

Breast Cancer Awareness Event Includes Special Guests

Breast Cancer Awareness Event Includes Special Guests

In honor of October being Breast Cancer Awareness month, faculty, staff, and students gathered together recently to take part in an awareness event at the Lynchburg Campus.  There were a few special guests honored at the event: Liz Krebbs, 88, aunt of campus administrative assistant Liz Callaham; Betty Falwell, 66, sister of campus director Bill Baker; and Kathleen Lifsey, 23, guest speaker. All three ladies are breast cancer survivors.

Ms. Lifsey gave a presentation recounting the details of her experience of being diagnosed with breast cancer at just 20 years old.  She shared personal examples of how having cancer affected her physically, mentally, and emotionally.  Some of the medical details of Ms. Lifsey’s experience, from diagnosis to mastectomy, chemotherapy, and corrective surgery, were of particular interest to the medical students present.  Two years later, Ms. Lifsey is now cancer free and appreciative of opportunities to share her story of defeating breast cancer.

Medical assisting student Jessica Thompson was struck by Ms. Lifsey’s story.  “Her presentation was awesome; she really got in-depth about how it is to deal with cancer and to live with it—the whole struggle,” said Jessica.  “It was really an eye-opener.  It reminded me how important it is to be in tune with your own body and your own health.  Cancer can affect anybody.”

This sentiment was echoed by campus director Bill Baker, whose sister, Betty Falwell, herself a breast cancer survivor, was also in attendance at the event. “We wanted to have this presentation to show that breast cancer discriminates against no one,” said Bill. “It can affect anyone, at any age, and a cure must be found.”

A- Breast cancer survivors pictured (l) to (r): Kathleen Lifsey, Liz Krebbs, and Betty Falwell were the honored guests at the Breast Cancer Awareness event at the Lynchburg Campus.

B- The Lynchburg Campus faculty, staff, and students wore pink in support of Breast Cancer Awareness.

Medical Billing and Coding Grad Inspired To Transition into the Clinical Side of Health Care

Medical Billing and Coding Grad Inspired To Transition into the Clinical Side of Health Care

Kayla Blackburn, a graduate of the medical billing and coding program at the Pikeville Campus, is continuing her education in the nursing program at American National University after being inspired by the caring medical professionals that she works with at Trans-Star Ambulance, who make a difference in others’ lives every day.

Kayla first came to American National University shortly after giving birth to her son. “I knew after I had him that getting an education was crucial not only for my success, but for me to help him be successful, too,” she explained.

She enrolled in the medical billing and coding program because she wanted a career in the medical field, but felt that she was more suited to the administrative side of health care.

Since Kayla needed to work to support her family while she was in school, she feels that continuing her education would have been impossible without the night classes that she found at National.  The personal attention that she received from her instructors was also important to her success.  “They were all very caring, but they were also very knowledgeable about everything that they covered,” said Kayla.

After completing her program, she worked closely with the American National University Career Center to help her find employment. Career center director Tiffani Ballard notified her about the opening at Trans-Star.  “She asked if I wanted her to forward my résumé, and they ended up calling me right away for me to come in for the interview,” recalled Kayla.

Kayla enjoys working at Trans-Star, where she performs billing for Medicare accounts. “We stay very busy,” she said.  “We get some very exciting stories in the run sheets. After reading them, it made me see that I really do want to be hands-on [in the clinical side of health care].”

Now in the first term of her nursing program, Kayla is appreciative of the stability that her career at Trans-Star has brought her family, and she looks forward to her future career as a registered nurse.

A-Kayla Blackburn is working at Trans-Star Ambulance after completing her medical billing and coding program at the Pikeville Campus.

B-Kayla Blackburn, shown with her son, Memphis, decided to continue her education at American National University to help ensure success for them both.

Students Learn About Compounding Medications and How to “Garb Up”

Students Learn About Compounding Medications and How to “Garb Up”

Students in instructor Dora Patrick’s Pharmacy Practice class at the Danville, Kentucky Campus recently learned about compounding medications, using mortar and pestle, to grind tablets into a fine powder. They also learned how to “garb up” in order to be sterile from head to toe, such as when compounding sterile medicine for cancer patients, IV medications, nuclear medicines, and for some pediatric cases. 

During the class, the students learned that the process to “garb up” correctly is: wash hands first before putting on booties, hair net, and face mask; then, wash hands again, before putting on the gown; sterilize hands using spray foam; and then put on the sterile gloves.

Teresa Rice, a graduate of the medical assisting program, has returned to American National University to further her education in the pharmacy technician program.  She is taking classes at both the Richmond and Danville Campuses.   “I already knew the proper way to put on gloves because [I was taught that when learning to] draw blood,” Teresa said.

“Compounding was interesting.  In the near future, working in a hospital or nuclear compounding pharmacy, I will know the technique to ‘garb up’ the proper way,” added pharmacy technician student Sara Ebert.

Students Sara Ebert and Teresa Rice are shown at the Danville Campus practicing compounding medications in instructor Dora Patrick’s Pharmacy Practice class.

New Classroom Technology Leads to Advanced Assessment Options for Students

New Classroom Technology Leads to Advanced Assessment Options for Students

The Florence Campus is adjusting to the new facilities and resources made available to them after their recent move to 8095 Connector Drive earlier this fall.  The highlights of the new facility are without a doubt the enhanced information technology infrastructure and resources.  While every classroom is outfitted to meet the various needs of the programs offered at the college, the one resource in particular that the faculty are excited to utilize is the StarBoard interactive electronic whiteboard technology.

Seasoned pharmacy technology faculty member Karrie Perkins has taken the early lead in using this training tool partnering the StarBoard software with an online Wheel of Fortune module that assesses student knowledge of dosage and calculation concepts.  During any early Friday morning admissions tour, guests of the college are likely to hear, “Team two, you are bulldozing the competition.  Great job!” Students use their textbooks, graphs, and each other to test their knowledge of conversions to include drams, pounds, kilograms, fluid ounces, and minims.  What’s a minim?  Just ask Donna Galliher, a surgical technology student in the class; she will know.  “The [StarBoard] makes learning more interactive,” said Donna.  “Students gather around the technology and use the screen by touching it directly and selecting the answers.  Classmate Lindsay Jackson chimed in, “You can tell we like it, we’re all involved.” 

Metric conversion is one of the most challenging areas for medical students; the never-ending possibilities for conversions are an important part of medical assisting, surgical technology, and the pharmacy technician programs.  “Each of the career paths being served by this class and this technology must be well-versed in dosage and calculation techniques and have certification exams that possess a significant portion of the questions on these conversions,” said campus director Amy Brown.  “We feel strongly that intensifying our student engagement in the classroom through the use of technology will increase the chance of students’ success in their quest for career credentialing and professional success.”

A-The new Starboard technology at the Florence Campus allows students to participate in interactive learning.  Student Kristin Bowling is shown selecting an answer on the board as her class and instructor Karrie Perkins cheers her on.

B-Student Jessica Phillips (r) is shown selecting an answer during a Wheel of Fortune game in instructor Karrie Perkins’ (l) class.

William Gray - Radio and Television Department Chair - Lexington

William Gray - Radio and Television Department Chair - Lexington

• William Gray – Difference Maker at the Lexington Campus


• Radio and Television Broadcasting instructor and department chair


• American National University faculty member since 2005
• Has gained more than 15 years of experience in the radio and television broadcasting field
• Past recipient of American National University’s Instructor of the Year award for the Lexington Campus


• Holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications from Morehead State University
• Previously worked as chief video editor at WTVQ-TV
• Owner of Gray Horse Productions, a company producing event and corporate training videos


“I started teaching because I wanted to see students with the same passion for broadcasting that I have be able to use their skills in this creative field.  They are so passionate about school and their career, and they really want to succeed. Students will stay long after class is over to hone their skills.

“Almost every facet of what I did at a television station is incorporated into my classes, and we experience some of the same challenges in our studio.  We have equipment malfunctions, or someone that is an anchor that day may get sick or have other problems.  The students have to be creative and come up with ways that will solve unforeseen dilemmas.  These unexpected problems are like what they would experience in the workplace.

“I love finding out that my students have gone on to become a news director or a host for a radio program. It gives me a sense of pride for what I and American National University have done for these students.

“I had a student struggling with classes and working a job, and the two obligations collided a lot.  She rode the bus to and from class, and she spent any extra time she had studying and working hard in all of her classes.  In addition, when she was nearing the end of the program, she worked long hours at her externship.  Her hard work paid off. Today she is an audio engineer, and she loves her job.  Furthermore, her supervisors called to let me know that if this is the quality employee that we produce, then they would love to have more.”

William Gray is a Difference Maker at the Lexington Campus who has been employed there since 2005.  He has more than 15 years of experience in the radio and television broadcasting industry. 

Medical Assisting Student Gaining Valuable Experience at Assisted Living Facility

Medical Assisting Student Gaining Valuable Experience at Assisted Living Facility

Tracey Noe, a student in the medical assisting and medical billing and coding programs at the Richmond Campus, is gaining valuable experience in her field working as the receptionist at Arcadian Cove, an assisted living facility.

“I have a soft spot for seniors,” explained Tracey, who has a wide variety of duties, including administrative work, assisting with activities for the facility’s residents, and helping to coordinate events for the community.

Although she won’t graduate until early 2016, Tracey has already taken advantage of workshops offered by the career center at the Richmond Campus.  She feels that the skills that she gained in the workshops helped her land the job at Arcadian Cove.  “I’m a really shy person,” said Tracey.  “The workshops that they do help with interviewing skills, which helped me tremendously when I interviewed here.”

“She’s a self-motivator.  She has a lot of initiative and she’s a quick learner,” said. Chris Wright, Arcadian Cove administrator who hired Tracey.  “She’s very knowledgeable on how our computer systems work.  There’s not anything that I show her that she can’t do, so we’re really, really happy to have her.”

Tracey, who was a stay at home mom before coming to American National University, feels that her job at Arcadian Cove and her classes at National are preparing her well for the future.  “I feel better about myself already just going to school and knowing that I have done something to better myself,” said Tracey.  “[With a degree] you have more job offers; you have more opportunities; you have more advancement.”

A-Tracey Noe was hired as a receptionist at Arcadian Cove, an assisted living facility, after participating in a American National University Career Center workshop.


B-Aracadian Cove administrator Chris Wright (right) has been impressed with student Tracey Noe's skills and work ethic.

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.