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November 17, 2014

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Cybersecurity Student Follows in His Father's Footsteps

Cybersecurity Student Follows in His Father's Footsteps

Benjamin Martin, a student in the cybersecurity program at the Princeton Campus, has been surrounded by computer technology his whole life, but as a young man he was determined to take a different direction in his career. “I grew up around computers because my dad was a federal agent and worked in the computer crimes division,” Benjamin recalled.  “I swore up and down that I wasn’t going to be a part of this line of work--that’s why I joined the Marine Corps. Through my MOS (Military Occupational Specialty), I had a new exposure to actually working in this environment, and I just got an itch for it.”

After leaving the military and being unable to find employment, Benjamin decided the time was right to take advantage of his Post-9/11 GI Bill educational benefits. He researched a number of local universities, but chose American National University due to the endorsement of his father, Sammy Martin, who now serves as the information technology department chair at the Princeton Campus, and due to a number of other valuable advantages that he found at ANU.

“Being submersed in this field previous to starting school here, as I was, the focus on not just computer science or cybersecurity but industry standards and certifications here has been a nice thing to see.” he said. “This field is all about certifications, because the technology is ever-changing, so you constantly have to be proving your knowledge.”

Benjamin also feels that ANU’s free lifetime refresher courses are very valuable. “What really appealed to me the most was the fact that you have to maintain your certifications and the alumni are able to come back and take courses again,” he explained. “That was a big drawing point, as far as being a truly long-term investment.”

A testament to his hard work in his program, Benjamin was recently hired by Celanese, a global manufacturing company, where he’s working as a process control IT technician.  While he continues to soak up all the knowledge that he can in class and in the field, Benjamin has a clear vision for his future. “I would love to be able to work in the corporate office of the Boston Red Sox,” he said with a smile. “A lot of people don’t think IT and sports [go together], but there’s a lot that happens on the corporate side of managing a team, and they need IT support, as well.”

A- Benjamin Martin feels that the emphasis on industry certifications and the availability of free lifetime refresher courses are valuable benefits of his cybersecurity program at ANU.

B- Cybersecurity student Benjamin Martin (left) is pictured with his father, Sammy Martin (right), a former federal agent who now serves as the information technology department chair at the Princeton Campus.

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Veteran Students, Graduates, and Faculty Recognized for Service to Country

Veteran Students, Graduates, and Faculty Recognized for Service to Country

The Stark County Campus recently paid tribute to military service men and women during a Veterans Day celebration. Members of the Stark County Color Guard presented the colors in the lobby of the school and led the staff, faculty, and students in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Veteran students Linette Pridgen, Ryann Pizzedaz, Ian Simmons, Karen Huff, and Ronald Beckley were on hand to join in the festivities. Also in attendance were American National University Stark County graduate Timothy Thompson and faculty member Richard Crislip, a veteran of the United States Air Force. All were recognized in a presentation about the importance of Veterans Day.

The campus also recognized relatives of staff members. Librarian Marianna Lijoi’s son, Kyle Antol, a U. S. Navy veteran was in attendance, and there were photos displayed of administrative assistant Su Marcoguiseppe’s two nephews, Colin and Christopher Hyatt, currently stationed in Okinawa, Japan and Oahu, Hawaii, respectively.

“It is important to be able to honor our veterans,” campus director Chris Capozzi said. “It needs to be more than just a one day thing, as we should show our gratitude daily to those who serve.”

Linette Pridgen, a U.S. Army Reserve veteran and pharmacy technician student, attended the Veterans Day recognition ceremony at the Stark County Campus.

Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital Has Hired ANU Graduates Since 2007

Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital Has Hired ANU Graduates Since 2007

Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital (CRMH) in Roanoke, Virginia has been awarded ANU’s Distinguished Community Employer award by the Danville Campus. “We are proud to have Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital as one of our clinical sites for our surgical technology program,” said Jennifer Turner, director of surgical technology at the Danville Campus. “There could not be a more deserving facility to receive this award.”

CRMH has accepted Danville Campus students as externs since 2007, and they have hired six of the campus’s surgical technology graduates in the past 9 months. The operating room offers a vast array of general and specialty cases that aid in helping students succeed in their surgical technology careers. 

Jennifer and career center director Rhonda Pass recently met with the unit managers of the operating room at CRMH, Lori Peggins and Wanda Jenkins, to present them with the Distinguished Community Employer award. “The students we’ve had from ANU are knowledgeable, open to feedback, and their performance and level of team work has been top notch,” said Ms. Jenkins.

Director of surgical technology Jennifer Turner (2nd from left) and career center director Rhonda Pass (far right) present the Distinguished Community Employer award to CRMH unit directors Lori Peggins (far left) and Wanda Jenkins (2nd from right).

Campus Pays Tribute to Military Service Men and Women

Campus Pays Tribute to Military Service Men and Women

The Bartlett Campus held morning and evening Veterans Day ceremonies to honor those men and women who have served their country. Staff Sergeant Brandon Lane, Recruiting and Retention NCO with the Tennessee National Guard, was the guest speaker for the morning celebration. He shared with the group about the history of Veterans Day, from its establishment as Armistice Day in 1919 on the first anniversary of the end of World War I, to becoming an annual observance in 1926, a national holiday in 1938, and developing into Veterans Day as we know it through legislation signed by President Eisenhower in 1954, celebrated on the 11th minute of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

SSG Lane also talked about his role as a recruiter with the National Guard and about his tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. He talked about the benefits of being in the National Guard, especially related to the GI Bill.

During the evening ceremony, campus director Larry Smith shared thoughts from a speech given by General Colin Powell in a 1989 Veterans Day event at Arlington National Cemetery:

The nation owes a great debt to its veterans, whose service to the nation spans every decade, every year, every day of our country's existence. Through untold courage and sacrifice, America's veterans have secured the liberty which the founding fathers sought to establish here in the new world. Whenever and where ever the nation has called - - in times of darkness and danger as well as in times of peace and prosperity – America’s veterans have been there. Veterans have proudly carried the torch of liberty for all to see.
(U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs;

A- (left to right) National College instructor Jayson Carter, Retired U.S. Air Force; graduate Teresa Hendrix, Retired U.S. Navy; guest speaker SSG Brandon Lane, Recruiting and Retention NCO – Tennessee National Guard; student La’Shana Ferrell, National Guard; and student Jessica Burchett, National Guard, participated in the morning Veterans Day ceremony at the Bartlett Campus.

B- Veterans were honored at the evening Veterans Day ceremony at the Bartlett Campus.

Joshua Keslar - Director of Health Care Education - Columbus

Joshua Keslar - Director of Health Care Education - Columbus


·         Joshua Keslar – Difference Maker at the Columbus Campus


·         Director of health care education
·         Instructor of various medical and general education courses, including Intro to Pharmacology, Advanced Pharmacy Calculations, Anatomy & Physiology, Calculations & Administering Medicine, and Medical Terminology


·         American National University faculty member since January
·         Has acquired more than 12 years of experience as a pharmacist


·         Graduated from Ohio Northern University with a Bachelor of Science degree in pharmacy
·         Gained experience in a retail pharmacy setting


“I’ve always had a desire to help people, whether through teaching or in the medical field. I debated heavily between the two [professions] and ultimately chose pharmacy as my means of helping others. I truly enjoyed helping my patients and educating them about their medications, but I’ve always wanted to be a teacher, ever since I was in high school. After spending 12 years as a pharmacist, I realized that I wanted to utilize my medical background to teach in the medical field.

“I love the diversity of the student body. We have students from all walks of life and all ages. I also truly admire our students’ desire to learn.

“I have had a couple of students exhibit big transformations. When I met them, they were very shy and unsure of themselves. By the end of their time at American National University, they were quite confident in their abilities as medical assistants. I always tell my students that I have 100% faith in them, and they should have 200% faith in themselves.”

Director of health care education Joshua Keslar is a Difference Maker at the Columbus Campus. He brings more than 12 years of experience as a pharmacist to the classroom.

U. S. Army Sergeant Leads Veterans Day Celebration

U. S. Army Sergeant Leads Veterans Day Celebration

The Martinsville Campus recently held Veterans Day observances for both day and evening students. During the daytime ceremony, campus director John Scott spoke about the importance of military training in developing young recruits and how their character can be shaped by the military experience.

The evening ceremony featured guest speaker Damian Wainwright, Sergeant First Class of the United States Army Recruiting Center. Sergeant Wainwright spoke on the career aspect of military service and the camaraderie of armed services personnel. He also discussed the support provided by veterans organizations to veterans after they leave military service. 

“Veterans Day allows everyone to think about the contributions made by American veterans to our nation and its security,” stated John.

Damian Wainwright, Sergeant First Class of the United States Army Recruiting Center spoke to students, faculty, and staff who attended the evening Veterans Day recognition ceremony at the Martinsville Campus.

Surgical Technologist Enjoying Fast Pace of OR After Being Hired By Her Clinical Site

Surgical Technologist Enjoying Fast Pace of OR After Being Hired By Her Clinical Site

Randi-Leray Childs loves the intensity of working as a certified surgical technologist in the operating room at Harrison Memorial Hospital (HMH), a regional health care facility located in Cynthiana, Kentucky. “For me, an exciting case is anything fast-paced,” she explained.

Steadfast, flexible, and devoted are just a few of the words that describe Randi-Leray’s commitment to her career—a career that she pursued during long hours of studying and clinical rotations while a student in the  surgical technology program at the Florence Campus. “As long as I can remember, I've been very interested in the human body and health care,” said Randi-Leray, who was first exposed to the OR while working as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). “Surgery seemed interesting and challenging, and the more I learned about it the more I knew that's exactly where I wanted to be.”

Randi-Leray began working in the OR at HMH as a student during her clinicals and was hired by HMH shortly after graduating. “I was here for clinicals, and I loved the staff and all of the surgeons,”Randi-Leray recalled. “ It was kind of like coming home.”

Traci Taylor, Chief Nursing Officer at HMH, worked closely with Randi-Leray during her clinicals, and said that she knew right away that she’d be an excellent addition to the OR team. “As a student, Randi would seek out any opportunity to scrub in those more complex cases,” Ms. Taylor said. “She continues to demonstrate that behavior as an employee. She is self-driven but has a relaxed demeanor at the same time.”

Ms. Taylor feels that a new surgical technologist like Randi-Leray can gain valuable experience working in the OR of a small regional hospital like HMH, where the motto is “Go where you know. Small town. Big medicine.” “I believe working in a small-town hospital makes employees more well-rounded,” she explained. “We don’t have a ‘special team’ for each necessary intervention. You learn to provide the care that patients need. As a result, your skills are continually being challenged and improved.”

Developing her skills at HMH is exactly what Randi-Leray plans to do. “In health care and surgery especially, you are forever a student,” she said. “It is a field that is constantly evolving and the best thing is just to become a sponge that soaks up all the knowledge possible; you can never be overeducated!”

A- Randi-LeRay Childs loves the fast pace of working as a surgical technologist in the OR at Harrison Memorial Hospital.

B-Traci Taylor (right), chief nursing officer at HMH, said that Randi-Leray (left) possesses a self-driven yet relaxed demeanor that makes her an excellent addition to the OR team.

Medical Assisting Student Develops Professionalism as a Federal Work Study

Medical Assisting Student Develops Professionalism as a Federal Work Study

Andrea Garrett came to the Lexington Campus and enrolled in the medical assisting program after working in child care for twelve years.  While she’s enjoying the challenging courses she’s taking in her program at American National University, she feels that she’s also learning a lot from her role as a federal work study student in the Lexington Campus’s career center.

“Ever since I've been working in the career center as a work study, I have learned so much about myself and what it takes to work in a professional office environment,” said Andrea, who assists career center director Cheryl Howell with creating documents using Microsoft Excel and Word. She also greets visitors to the career center and helps Cheryl keep the center running smoothly.

Andrea feels the skills that she’s developing will be a great asset when she begins working as a medical assistant, a field that often includes responsibilities in the front office, as well as in the clinical side of a practice. “Working in the front office will be much easier applying what I’ve learned here,” she explained. “I thank American National University and the people that work here for giving me this opportunity.”

Federal work study student Andrea Garrett (right) is pictured in the Lexington Campus career center with career center director Cheryl Howell (left).

Richmond Campus Holds Fall Health and Career Fair

Richmond Campus Holds Fall Health and Career Fair

Visitors to the Richmond Campus‘s fall health and career fair found an abundance of resources available to help them improve their lives through a new job or better health. A number of local employers and health organizations participated in the event, including Pearl Interactive Network, Xerox, the Madison County Emergency Management Agency, Maxam Family Dental, Richmond Family Chiropractic, Kentucky Circuit Court Clerks’ Trust for Life, Kentucky River Foothills, Baptist Health Richmond, and more.

Candace Ballinger, with Pearl Interactive Network, participated in the fair to spread the word that they are hiring customer service representatives for their call center located in Winchester, Kentucky. Ms. Ballinger said that the company’s call center representatives provide information regarding health coverage to customers of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Her employees have the opportunity to expand their knowledge of insurance and medical terminology. She feels that working in the call center offers students in the medical programs a great opportunity to gain experience while in school. 

Baptist Health Richmond shared both employment opportunities and wellness information at their two booths. Carolyn Hacker, chief dietician at Baptist Health, said that it is vital to educate the public about diabetes prevention. While talking with visitors at the fair, she stressed the importance of reading food labels and explained how to create a healthy, balanced plate of food. “Pre-diabetes has reached epidemic levels now, and looking at the area that we live in, those are the counties that have the high numbers of diabetes,” she explained.

Baptist Health Richmond's chief dietician, Carolyn Hacker (left), and dietetic intern Deborah Armbruster (right), participated in the fall health and career fair that was recently held at the Richmond Campus, where they shared information about creating a healthy, balanced plate and recognizing the amount of fat found in fast foods.

Sisters Train for Careers in Medical Assisting at the Danville, Kentucky Campus

Sisters Train for Careers in Medical Assisting at the Danville, Kentucky Campus

Although they have different visions for the paths they’d like their careers to follow, sisters Stephanie Lark, Lisa Marie Curtis, and Amber Dunagan all enrolled in the medical assisting program at the Danville, Kentucky Campus with the common goal of creating brighter futures for themselves and their families.

Stephanie was the first to enroll at American National University, followed by Lisa Marie a term later, and Amber a term after her. All three sisters stated it was the small class size and personal attention from instructors that brought them to the school. “The way that we learn here has made it easier to learn and to get our degree,” said Stephanie.

Stephanie, Lisa Marie, and Amber have all found that going to school with their sisters has definite advantages—especially when they need to call someone at midnight to ask a question about homework or when they need a ride to school.

After graduating, Stephanie would like to work in pediatrics and Amber hopes to work in hospice care. Lisa Marie has a unique goal, as she plans to use her medical assisting career to help finance her education to become a mortician.

Left to right:  Sisters Lisa Marie Curtis, Amber Dunagan, and Stephanie Lark are pictured at the Danville, Kentucky Campus, where they are all enrolled in the medical assisting program.

Online Video Gaming Friendship Leads to Nursing Career

Online Video Gaming Friendship Leads to Nursing Career

While students discover American National University through a variety of ways, it was a cross-country friendship that developed during online video gaming that led nursing student Charlie Meuth to the Pikeville Campus. Charlie was living in San Antonio, Texas when his video gaming friend, Cory Hamilton, offered him a place to live while he earned his degree in the Pikeville Campus nursing program.

“I’ve always wanted to do something medical, and I got tired of doing construction and physical labor. So, I finally said ‘Alright, I’m ready,” said Charlie.

Although there were a number of nursing programs in the area, Charlie chose American National University because he could get started in his program right away. “It didn’t have any prerequisites, and I just wanted to jump right in,” he recalled.

The opportunity to work directly with patients during clinical rotations at Pikeville Medical Center, one of the premier health care facilities in the nation, has been a great learning experience for Charlie. “We started clinicals three terms ago, and that’s my favorite part,” he explained. “People like me, and I like people.”

Charlie looks forward to the financial stability, as well as the personal fulfillment, that his upcoming career as a Registered Nurse will bring. “I still have a long way to go, but I feel pretty confident about it,” he said. ”My dream job would be working at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I want to work with kids who have cancer.”

A-San Antonio, Texas native Charlie Meuth came to the Pikeville Campus nursing program thanks to a friendship made through online video gaming.

B-Pikeville Campus nursing student Charlie Meuth is shown practicing tracheotomy care in the nursing lab with instructor Madge Hall.

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.