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December 15, 2014

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Youngstown Graduate's Accomplishments Pave Way for Rewarding Career

 Youngstown Graduate's Accomplishments Pave Way for Rewarding Career

Tracy Ruby graduated from the medical assisting associate’s degree program at the Youngstown Campus just one month ago, but she is already making a name for herself in the medical assisting community. During her last term, Tracy received the Tri-County Medical Assistant Scholarship, a distinctive award presented to just two medical assisting students each year. The scholarship is awarded by the Tri-County Medical Assistants through the American Association of Medical Assisting (AAMA) to two deserving medical assisting students who attend school in the Ohio tri-county area of Mahoning, Trumbull, and Columbiana counties. 

Tracy is the third American National University student to receive this award. Nora Kreidler-Estes and Malista Santiago, both 2013 medical assisting graduates, were previously selected as recipients. 

The awards were presented to this year’s recipients at an event earlier this year, where they were congratulated by the AAMA for their success. “They had a ceremony for us and everything,” Tracy explained. “I was able to meet many of the local AAMA board members and made some great contacts!”

Youngstown Campus director of health care education Veronica Zurcher, who has been with Tracy every step of the way, accompanied her to the award ceremony. “My professors were my rock,” Tracy said. “When things were tough, they were always reliable and made sure I never quit. They showed me they cared and that it wasn’t just a job.” 

During her time as a medical assisting student, Tracy was a shining example for other students to follow. From helping as a peer tutor, to her work in the Student Activities Council, she demonstrated how hard work and education pay off.  “Tracy hit the ground running from day one and never looked back,” said Veronica. “She’s a wife and mother and worked a full-time job her entire time at American National University and still graduated with high honors; she was a great student!”

At the ceremony, Tracy was very willing to share how her training at American National University had prepared her for a career as a medical assistant and even found that her reputation as a good student had preceded her. “I was surprised to see how much they knew about me and my achievements through the faculty!” she exclaimed.

Youngstown Campus graduate Tracy Ruby (center), with support from director of health care education Veronica Zurcher (left), accepts the Tri-County Medical Assistant Scholarship from scholarship chair Helene Clay (right) 

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Bluefield Regional Recognized for Support of Career Education

 Bluefield Regional Recognized for Support of Career Education

For decades, Bluefield Regional Medical Center and its medical affiliates have been staunch supporters of graduates and externs from the Princeton Campus. Dozens of ANU graduates have been hired by the hospital and their affiliates in positions such as pharmacy technicians, billing clerks, medical assistants, office assistants, phlebotomists, registrars, and monitor technicians. Over the years, some graduates have even been promoted to office and department managers. 

Career center director Elaine Owens recently presented ANU’s Distinguished Community Employer award to Bluefield Regional Medical Center’s human resources manager, Laura Martin. Laura was pleased to receive the award, saying, “We are happy to have ANU students apply for our job openings and hope they will continue to do so as more openings become available.” She expressed interest in establishing an appointment with the director of health care education and others to discuss their specific needs for surgical technicians and to also obtain more information about programs that ANU offers.  

Human resources manager Laura Martin accepts the Distinguished Community Employer award on behalf of Bluefield Regional Medical Center.

Memorial Health System Employs Three ANU Graduates and Serves as Externship Site

Memorial Health System Employs Three ANU Graduates and Serves as Externship Site

The Parkersburg Campus recently presented the Distinguished Community Employer award to Memorial Health System in recognition of their continued support of career education. The Memorial Health System is a not-for-profit health system governed by a volunteer board of community members that are committed to providing comprehensive services that meet the needs of our region. They are comprised of a network of two hospitals, outpatient service sites, assisted and long-term care facilities, and a retirement community. Memorial Health System currently employs three ANU graduates. In addition, Memorial Health System supports the education of healthcare professionals by providing hands-on clinical and administrative experience to numerous ANU externs.  

“From our founding, our board has believed in growing our own, not just for ourselves but to benefit the community as a whole,” said Cynthia Carpenter, director of quality and educational services. “We have always supported education, and this is one of the key ways we can help within the community.”

The Parkersburg Campus is honored to be working with Memorial Health System in helping students and graduates to not only have a better future for themselves, but to contribute to a better future for their communities through education. Both organizations look forward to a long, beneficial relationship. 

(L to R) Memorial Health System employees Roseanne Brooks, education services assistant; Brooke Henderson, BSN, RN, CRRN; Cynthia L. Carpenter, director of quality and educational services; Angela Tucker, medical librarian; and Aimee Phillips, educational services specialist, accept the Distinguished Community Employer award.

Southern Pain Institute Named Distinguished Community Employer

Southern Pain Institute Named Distinguished Community Employer

The Nashville Campus recently presented the Distinguished Community Employer award to Southern Pain Institute for their continued support of the campus’s medical billing and coding and medical assisting programs. Southern Pain Institute is one of Nashville’s fastest growing pain care centers and has numerous locations throughout the Middle Tennessee area. 

They have provided externship opportunities for National College medical billing and coding students within the last year, and they have hired several medical assisting graduates. One of Southern Pain Institute’s newest employees is upcoming National College graduate Marcia Odigie-Jones, who was hired as a billing specialist at the Smyrna, Tennessee office following the completion of her externship.

With excitement, practice manager Lawanna Stewart accepted the Distinguished Community Employer award on behalf of Southern Pain Institute. Ms. Stewart stated, “National College has done a great job of preparing their students to work in the medical field, and I am happy to have an opportunity to partner with such a great school.”  

(L to R) Nashville campus director Mark Liverman, director of health care education John Wallace, Southern Pain Institute practice manager Lawanna Stewart, and upcoming graduate and newly hired Southern Pain Institute billing specialist Marcia Odigie-Jones, participate in the Distinguished Community Employer award presentation.

Cleveland Area Campus Hosts First Annual Community Health Fair

 Cleveland Area Campus Hosts First Annual Community Health Fair

The Cleveland Area Campus recently held its first community health fair. Twenty-two health and wellness partners from the community participated in the event, offering resource materials, free health and vision screenings, flu shots, and more.

Representatives from the Klineman Dental Group offered a unique game where attendees could win free teeth cleanings and oral exams. Another crowd favorite at the event was a demonstration by Shaolin Kung Fu Institute of how to defend oneself against an attacker.

The event was broadcast live on Radio One station 107.9 WBLZ. Their announcer and program manager, Sharonica Smedley, commented that she was glad to be part of the event and looked forward to coming back next year.

Many other community partners expressed interest in participating again next year, as well, and the Cleveland Area Campus already has plans underway to make this an annual community event.

Representatives from the Northern Ohio Academy of Pharmacy Education Foundation participated in the first annual community health fair at the Cleveland Area Campus.

Area High School Students Visit Lynchburg Campus

Area High School Students Visit Lynchburg Campus

Approximately twenty students and staff from Amherst County High School got to see a little of what college life is like when they recently visited the Lynchburg Campus. Touring the campus and talking with admissions representatives about the degree programs available gave them the opportunity to ask questions and start making plans for their futures. 

Amherst County school counselor Rene James was very excited about bringing her students to visit the campus. “It was particularly meaningful for students to learn that there are many options for additional education after high school,” she stated. “The staff did a wonderful job getting to know the students and helping to create a vision for their future.”   

While visiting the classrooms, the students could see the small class sizes at ANU, making the instructor-to-student ratio smaller for better classroom interaction. “It’s a nice college, making students feel at home and comfortable,” said one of the high school students. Current ANU medical assisting students Tabitha Meyers and Contessa Sancho also participated in the tour, demonstrating some of the equipment they work with, explaining the techniques they are learning in class, and answering questions. 

Along the tour, the students also saw the campus’s business partners wall, which displays the names of all the local employers the campus partners with in helping students find employment after graduation. “We were all very impressed with the business partner wall, and it was fun to hear students comment as they saw companies they were familiar with,” said Ms. James.

The tour ended with students enjoying snacks and chatting in the student center, their excitement and questions showing this was a successful visit. As Ms. James said, “Excitement is contagious! Thank you, ANU!”

Director of admissions Nancy Wilcox (center), along with ANU students Tabitha Meyers (L) and Contessa Sancho (R), speaks to a group of high school students visiting the campus.

Employers Find Potential Employees at Campus Career Fair

Employers Find Potential Employees at Campus Career Fair

A number of local employers, such as the Virginia Employment Commission, Carilion Health System, Bright Services, and SunTrust Bank, attended the career fair that was recently held at the Roanoke Valley Campus.  

The event proved to be successful for several of the employers who participated in the event, including Elizabeth Rooney, assistant branch manager of Bright Services, who was looking for qualified applicants for administrative assistant and industrial positions. It was the first time that she attended an American National University career fair. “It has been very good,” said Ms. Rooney.  “We have had a lot of people come through. We are having some good applicants come to the branch tomorrow [for interviews].”  

Kenny McInnis, a customer service representative for the Virginia Employment Commission and a former member of the campus advisory board, was also on hand to recruit employees. “I have hired at least 50 [externs] over the years from here,” he stated. Ed Blevins is the veterans representative for the VEC and has hired many veterans from the University in the past, as well.  

Jill Lusher, a recruiter for Carilion and a 2000 business administration-management graduate of the Roanoke Valley Campus, has also hired many of the campus’s students in the past and was at the career fair to fill medical assistant, medical office assistant, and other positions within the health care system. “American National University students are hardworking, dedicated, and excited,” she said.

Elizabeth Rooney, the assistant branch manager of Bright Services in Roanoke, set up interviews for multiple potential employees as a result of the career fair held at the Roanoke Valley Campus.   

Charlottesville Campus Welcomes Back ANU Graduate and Community Leader

Charlottesville Campus Welcomes Back ANU Graduate and Community Leader

The Charlottesville Campus recently welcomed back Lindell Chavis, an ANU graduate and now the Steps To Success director for the Monticello Area Community Action Agency (MACAA).  Lindell, a U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army veteran, was named to her current position with MACAA just after completing her associate’s degree in business administration– accounting at the Charlottesville Campus in 2011. She recently returned to the campus to lead a finance and credit restoration seminar for students.

As the current Steps To Success director, Lindell helps individuals and families build a pathway out of poverty by teaching financial management, asset building, and credit rehabilitation and by helping people secure and manage the resources necessary to overcome barriers to success.  A major focus of the program involves teaching low wage earning families how to manage limited resources, build assets, and avoid high interest non-bank loans.

“Had I not graduated from ANU at the time I did, I would not have become employed with MACAA,” she said. “I completed my degree in August 2011 and in the same month became employed with MACAA.  I am grateful to ANU for the knowledge and relationships I departed with.” 

As part of her position with MACAA, Lindell works with a team of instructors to train workers from different agencies across Virginia seeking to earn the Temple University Credential for Strengths-Based Family Workers. “In my wildest dreams, I never thought I would become an instructor or even want to be an instructor, but that is what I do, and I love it,” stated Lindell. “MACAA has given me the opportunity to use book knowledge I received from ANU combined with life‘s lessons.” 

The Charlottesville Campus will host MACAA’s Financial Education Training component in 2015, which will include instruction in debt management, preparing a budget, analyzing credit reports, recognizing predatory lending practices, understanding traditional banking, and building assets and saving for emergencies.

Charlottesville Campus business administration director Bill Alberts (L) and campus director John Donohue (R) welcome graduate Lindell Chavis (center) back to the campus. Both Bill and John were Lindell’s instructors while she was completing her degree at ANU.

Recent High School Graduate Flourishes in His Cybersecurity Program

 Recent High School Graduate Flourishes in His Cybersecurity Program

After graduating from high school in 2013 and completing his program with the Victory Project, a faith-based mentoring program for young men, Tyler Page enrolled in the cybersecurity program at the Dayton Area Campus. “I was looking at a lot of different colleges, and this one stuck out to me,” recalled Tyler. “It had something that would help me—a smaller environment, instead of a lot of distractions like in the bigger schools.”

Monnie Bush, founder and CEO of the Victory Project, accompanied Tyler during his first visit to the campus, and he’s seen him flourish as a American National University student. “He has nothing but positive things to say about his instructors,” Mr. Bush said of Tyler’s experience. “He talks about them, not as somebody looking down on him, but almost as a partner in his education.” 

Tyler is so dedicated to his program that he often makes the eighteen mile round trip journey to class by bike. “It’s a great place to be,” Tyler said of the Dayton Area Campus. “I just love it here.”

“He told me the other day he couldn’t believe [that he’s] halfway through [his program],” said Mr. Bush. “I think that’s something else that’s a benefit—it’s not going to be a long time to see his accomplishments; he’s seeing his accomplishments come to fruition before his eyes.”

Tyler Page, a cybersecurity student at the Dayton Area Campus, often makes the eighteen mile round trip journey to class by bike.  

National's Newest Nurses

National's Newest Nurses

The Pikeville Campus held a Pinning Ceremony for the Fall 2014 Nursing Class, recognizing the 10 newest nurses to graduate from the program, unique to the east Kentucky campus nestled in the heart of coal country.

While friends and family gathered in the sanctuary of Cornerstone Christian Church, the nursing class joined campus director Tammy Riley, nurse administrator Shirley Goff, and other nursing faculty on the stage.  Graduate Melissa Bentley provided the invocation and benediction, while graduate Hannah Ratliff entertained the gathering with her lovely singing voice.  But arguably the highlight of the evening was the class remembrance speech given by Zeke Karczewski.

The only male graduate in the class, Zeke “bravely” spoke of his classmates, recalling humorous anecdotes and memorable qualities of each.  He also related the trials and tribulations of nursing students, all of whom complete one of the toughest curricula at American National University.  “At American National University, they’re not giving out degrees,” remarked Zeke.  “You have to earn it…and once we earn it, then we have the right to test and possibly be called ‘registered nurse.’”

After each graduate came forward to be “pinned” as nursing graduates by their chosen family and friends, Shirley led them through the lighting of the lamp of knowledge and the recitation of the Nightingale Pledge:

I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug. I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession, and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling. With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.

Congratulations to all of the nursing graduates and best of luck in your new careers.

A- Graduates in the 2014 Nursing Class at the Pikeville Campus participate in the Pinning Ceremony. Front row (left to right) - Melissa Bentley, Tiffany Burke, Marla Cantrell, Teela Clay, and Brittany Coleman. 

Back row- Zeke Karczewski, Shantayia Kiser, Jacqueline Mollett, Amber Slone, and Hannah Ratliff.

B- Graduate Zeke Karczewski gives the class remembrance speech at the Nursing Pinning Ceremony.

Business Student Recognized for Entrepreneurial Spirit and Community Contributions

Business Student Recognized for Entrepreneurial Spirit and Community Contributions

To state that André Wilson is driven and committed to his career goals would be an understatement. He owns two of his own businesses and is also enrolled in the business administration– management program at the Lexington Campus. “Although I’m very busy with my businesses, I also realized I needed my degree to take me to an entirely new level,” stated André. 

Throughout his business career, André has endeavored to hire as many underprivileged individuals as possible – and has found the vast majority of them have been outstanding workers. “I’m helping folks establish or re-establish a work history,” he explained. “Many of them have no prior jobs – no résumé at all. It’s all about choices and changes for them.”

The old saying, ‘No good deed goes unseen’ is certainly true in André’s case. He recently received the ‘Employer of the Year’ award from the Kentucky Farmworkers Program for his outstanding efforts in employing those who have employment barriers. The Kentucky Farmworkers Program is an employment and training program under the auspices of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and the U.S. Department of Labor whose goal is to provide opportunities for individuals who otherwise may not find jobs. 

André was honored to receive the award. “I’ve spent the last 18 years employing folks who frequently would be termed ‘unemployable’ by most employers,” he stated. “Many of us have past issues with lack of education, lack of employable skills, and perhaps even criminal records, but everyone deserves a second chance to start a new life.”

Business administration – management student André Wilson received the Employer of the Year award from the Kentucky Farmworkers Program.

State Senator Shares Insights on U.S. Constitution

State Senator Shares Insights on U.S. Constitution

Students in Cheryl Heer’s Political Science class at the Florence Campus recently had the opportunity to hear State Senator John Schickel speak about the history of the U.S. Constitution and voting rights. Senator Schickel represents District 11 in the Kentucky Senate. 


Senator Schickel made it an interactive session, posing questions to the class about their knowledge of our Constitution pertaining to the three branches of government, the Bill of Rights, and the amendment process. After the question and answer period, Senator Schickel discussed the relevance of the Constitution in the 21st Century and how this document plays a major role in our everyday lives.


Before concluding his presentation, Senator Schickel spoke about the right to vote. He discussed the typically low voter turnout in our country’s elections and emphasized the importance of not only voting in all elections, but also the importance of being an educated voter who is familiar with the issues. Business administration-accounting major Randall Rogers commented, “It is so nice to know that our local senator cares about our education and is so knowledgeable about the Constitution.”


Kentucky State Senator John Schickel (center) visited Cheryl Heer’s Political Science class to talk about the U.S. Constitution. Students Donna Galliher (L) and Stephen Courts (R) appreciated the Senator’s visit to their class.

Mother Enrolls At National While Visiting the Campus with Her Daughter

Mother Enrolls At National While Visiting the Campus with Her Daughter

Brittany Miracle and her mother, Kimberly Miracle, are both preparing for careers as medical assistants at the Danville, Kentucky Campus. Brittany came to American National University after it was recommended to her by several friends. When Brittany enrolled, Kimberly came along to show her support, and after hearing about all that the school had to offer, Kimberly decided to enroll, as well.

“It’s something that I’ve always been interested in,” said Brittany of the medical field. Her favorite classes are anatomy and physiology and pharmacology. “The teachers that I have—Ms. Jennifer Lyon and Ms. Stephanie Slone—are awesome,” she shared. “Not only do they explain it in terms that everybody’s going to understand, they make the class upbeat and exciting.”

Kimberly looks forward to finding a stable career that will allow her to support her grandchildren who are in her care. “I need to take care of them and take care of my own household instead of depending on somebody else,” she explained.

“If I can get into a job, and enjoy my day, and help somebody, then I’m good,” added Brittany.

Kimberly Miracle (L) enrolled at American National University while visiting the Danville, Kentucky Campus with her daughter, Brittany Miracle (R).

Richmond Campus Holds Workshop on Goal Setting and Time Management

 Richmond Campus Holds Workshop on Goal Setting and Time Management

The Richmond Campus recently held a Goal Setting and Time Management workshop, featuring guest speaker Carla Walter, a Certified Professional Coach (CPC) and founder and managing partner of Leading Edge Focus. The workshop was attended by American National University students and graduates and by members of the Richmond community.

During the workshop, Carla shared practices highly productive people use to take control of their time and life to get things done in less time and achieve their goals faster.  

“Setting clear goals helps you determine how to invest your time; your time is your life,” explained Ms. Walter. “How you spend your time will determine whether (and how quickly) you will actually achieve your career and life goals, or just continue to dream about achieving them.  If you want to be an achiever and not just a dreamer, you must set clear goals and take control of how you invest your time.”

Certified Professional Coach Carla Walter presented a workshop on Goal Setting and Time Management at the Richmond Campus.

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.