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February 09, 2015

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Working Mother of Three Finds National College Family Just Right

Working Mother of Three Finds National College Family Just Right

Megan Barkis was a working mom with two young boys and a daughter “on the way” when she enrolled in the surgical technology program at the Akron Area campus. Even though she had a job, she knew she wanted more to be able to better support her growing family.

She had previously tried a local state university, but found it did not suit her at all. Some of her classes, in particular, were too big and impersonal. “You can’t talk to the instructors, [you’re in] this big auditorium, they talk over a speaker,” said Megan. “It just definitely wasn’t for me.”

By contrast, the individual attention she received at National made her feel right at home. “I love that it’s almost like a family here,” said Megan. Whether it was during the enrollment process, orientation, or in the classroom, she felt welcome and very much at home. “Every time I came to the school, Selinda [McCumbers, director of admissions] immediately found me, introduced me to everyone, made me feel really comfortable,” Megan said. “All the classmates are really close and you do get to know everybody,” she added. “That definitely made it easy to adjust.”

Megan chose the surgical technology program because she liked the hands-on nature of the curriculum and the variety of options it could provide. She also liked the fact that she could get into the field and begin working in about two years. “They start your externship earlier,” said Megan. “It really opens doors; you can get in there and see exactly what you would like to do.”

Now just past the halfway mark of her program, Megan is comfortable that she made the right decision. “Especially here at American National University I feel that there’s such a good team of people that can really help you and make the transition to coming here really easy.”

A- Megan Barkis is pursuing the surgical technology program at the Akron Area Campus.

B- Megan chose the surgical technology program because she liked the hands-on nature of the curriculum.

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Workshop Participants Learn Key Factors to Stand out from the Crowd

Workshop Participants Learn Key Factors to Stand out from the Crowd

The Roanoke Valley Campus recently held a résumé workshop open to students, graduates, and the public. The goal of the workshop was to offer a better understanding of the key components of constructing a résumé, as well as to help individuals searching for employment ensure that their résumé stands out in the crowd. 

“You are a product; therefore you need to sell yourself to the potential employer,” said career center director Kristal Bushong, who led the workshop. Participants were able to see a variety of résumé examples and learn how to tailor them to particular job opportunities. 

Community member Barbara Phifer, whose membership in a service sorority provides her the opportunity to mentor youth on continuing education and career readiness, attended the workshop and found the résumé advice beneficial. “I came to refresh what I know about résumés and learn any new information that I can pass along to students I mentor,” she shared. 

Workshop participants learn valuable tips for constructing a stand-out résumé. 

Munif Pediatrics Recognized for Support of ANU Externs and Graduates

Munif Pediatrics Recognized for Support of ANU Externs and Graduates

The Princeton Campus recently presented ANU’s Distinguished Community Employer Award to Dr. Shahid Munif Khokar, M.D. of Munif Pediatrics in Bluefield, Virginia. Director of health care education Pat Sell and career center director Elaine Owens delivered the award to Dr. Munif and his office manager, Denise Akers. 

For more than seven years, Dr. Munif’s office has been supporting ANU’s career training by providing medical assisting externship opportunities, as well as employment opportunities for graduates in multiple areas of the health care field. “I am very well pleased with the ANU graduates we currently have employed; we all get along very well,” said Denise. “If I have an opening, ANU is the first place I think of to call.” 

Of office manager Denise Akers, who is herself an ANU graduate, Dr. Munif said, “I am very pleased with her. She keeps the office running and takes care of everything.” Dr. Munif currently employs four ANU graduates: two medical assistants, a medical office specialist, and a medical billing and coding graduate.

(L to R) Office manager and ANU graduate Denise Akers and Dr. Shahid Munif Khokar, M.D. accept the Distinguished Community Employer Award for Munif Pediatrics from director of health care education Pat Sell.

Political Science Class Visits Ohio Statehouse

 Political Science Class Visits Ohio Statehouse

Political anthropologist and Columbus Campus instructor William Dauer recently took the students in his political science class on a tour of the Ohio Statehouse, located in downtown Columbus. This is where Ohio’s state legislature meets and where the governor’s office is located. The students had the opportunity to see the House chambers, the Senate Chambers, the governor’s office, as well as the press area. The students also had the chance to study some of the exhibits and learn about some important figures in Ohio history.  

Lisa Gbollie and Handful Gueh both found the trip enjoyable and educational, as neither had ever been to the Ohio Statehouse before. They appreciated being able to see where their elected officials work and pass laws, and overall they found the tour to be an excellent opportunity to see how government works on the state level. 

A- (L to R) Mamasonah Gbollie, instructor Bill Dauer, and Handful Gueh participated in a class trip to the Ohio Statehouse.  

B- (L to R) Mamasonah Gbollie and Bill Dauer study one of the exhibits at the Statehouse.

Students Learn of New Local Job Opportunities

Students Learn of New Local Job Opportunities

The Martinsville Campus recently held a mini campus career fair featuring recruiter Nancy Kennett from Spartan Staffing. The career fair allowed students to learn about opportunities with a manufacturing company set to expand soon, which will create 200 local jobs once construction is completed.

“It’s a great chance for students to learn about and apply for new jobs coming to the area through Spartan Staffing,” said career center director Sheree Spencer of the event. “Career fairs are important to students and graduates because of the personal interaction involved, and students can get their questions answered quickly.”

(L to R) Spartan Staffing recruiter Nancy Kennett speaks with student Cynthia Martin about new employment opportunities coming to the area.

Campus Career Fair Offers Students Networking Opportunity

Campus Career Fair Offers Students Networking Opportunity

A dozen employers recently gathered at the Lynchburg Campus for a career fair to speak with job-seekers, interview applicants on-the-spot, and, in some cases, make job offers to qualified candidates. Recruiters from a variety of fields, including health care, banking, accounting, and management, participated in this successful event, which saw students, graduates, and community members forming a line outside before the event even started. 

Upcoming graduate Daesha Thompson attended the career fair to find a place of employment where she could utilize her medical office specialist diploma. “It allows you to network and get your name out there to make a good first impression,” she said of the event.

Network administration student Daniel Paterson, also found the campus career fair to be a helpful resource. “It’s an excellent opportunity for students to get introduced to employers within their field,” he said of the event. “It’s difficult for students who are just learning their field— who are getting the education but maybe don’t have the experience yet – so it’s a good opportunity to get some experience or find an externship.”

The campus is planning to have another career fair for students, graduates, and community members in the spring.

Student Daniel Paterson (right) speaks with an employer about available job opportunities.

Julie Franklin – Instructor – ANU Online

 Julie Franklin – Instructor – ANU Online Explore National's Online Program


Julie Franklin – Difference Maker for ANU Online


Instructor of English and writing courses for ANU Online

Instructional technology trainer for a public school division’s staff development department


ANU faculty member since 2012

Has been in the education field for 25 years, including 12 years as a teacher, 3 years as a media specialist, and more than 10 years as an instructional technology trainer

Recently received the Virginia Society of Technology in Education’s 1st Place Student Technology Integration Challenge Award for helping a group of 5th grade students create a mobile app designed to help parents stay engaged with their children and their school


Holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Virginia Tech and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Averett University

Received her library science endorsement from the University of Idaho and her Virginia real estate license from Moseley-Flint School of Real Estate


“I love teaching higher education level students and helping them achieve their career goals. They embrace new challenges with vigor, resolve, and positive mindsets. I am truly proud of each and every one of them.

“I challenge my students by integrating 21st century skills into the fundamentals of course curricula. I provide opportunities for their use of higher order thinking that often result in new perspectives. I engage them in collaborative projects requiring communication as they gather information, share ideas, and solve problems. I expose them to new technologies often allowing them to choose the best medium for the task, and I allow them to create and publish their own information using a variety of venues. 

On helping a group of 5th graders create an award winning mobile app for their school – “This was a dream they wouldn’t let anyone tell them was unattainable, and they were determined to be the youngest students in the United States to create a mobile app for their school. With my guidance, they achieved their dream.”

ANU Online instructor and Difference Maker Julie Franklin recently received the VSTE Student Technology Integration Challenge Award.

Graduate Advances in her Medical Career

Graduate Advances in her Medical Career

Althea Lear was recently promoted to office coordinator of two Saint Joseph Primary Care Associates offices after graduating from the Danville, Kentucky Campus  in 2012 and earning her credentials as a registered medical assistant (RMA).


Althea first came to American National University looking for training that would bring her job stability after she was laid off from a medical records auditing company. “Being a single parent, I had to start making some money some way, and I knew that this was the best time to [return to school],”she recalled.  


At National, Althea enjoyed the family-like atmosphere and the hands-on classroom experience. As part of her medical assisting program, she also participated in an externship at the Boyle County Health Department where she became a part of the medical team, taking patients histories and vitals, and assisting in the front office with computer work. “That gave me a lot of experience and took the nervousness out,” she stated.


As graduation neared, Althea began working with the campus’s career center director to refine her resume, conduct mock interviews, and begin her job search. “She let me know the job openings that were available close by.  Being a single parent, I didn’t want to travel too far,” Althea explained.  “She said, ‘Just give me the word and we’ll get started.’  We did, and probably two weeks later I had my job.”


After working in the offices of Primary Care Associates for several years, Althea now supervises the other medical assistants and works with technology, scheduling, and inventory in the offices. She also works in the clinical side of the practice, which provides both primary and work place care in which she conducts drug screenings and physicals, and treats work-related injuries. “If I hadn’t received the training at National, I don’t think I’d be doing this,” Althea said with a smile. “They helped me get my job.”


A- Althea Lear has been promoted to office coordinator of two Saint Joseph Primary Care Associates offices after earning her degree in medical assisting at the Danville, Kentucky Campus in 2012.


B- Althea supervises the medical assisting staff and also works in the clinical side of the busy practice.

Lexington Family Works as a Team to Achieve their Goals

Lexington Family Works as a Team to Achieve their Goals

Lexington Campus student Sierra Domingo is proving how excellent teamwork and time-management skills are allowing her to raise a family while attending college full-time. Sierra and her husband, Braulio, are sharing the duties of raising their 1-year old daughter and 2-month old son so she can complete her medical assisting degree. 

“My husband is completely supportive of my attending college full-time and has arranged his schedule so he can care for our children while I attend my classes,” she explained. “We are doing this together – taking turns with the children and our other responsibilities. I want to be a good role model for my children – proving anything is possible if you try.” 

Sierra’s first career aspiration in high school was to become a veterinarian, but she learned the training would be longer than she had hoped. After looking into various other medical career options, she chose medical assisting and began researching colleges online. “I chose National, and it’s been a great choice for my college education,” said Sierra. “Everyone here at National has been so helpful and supportive - everyone is cheering me on as I go through my training. I love my clinical classes. The hands-on training is terrific.”

Sierra doesn’t plan to stop learning after obtaining her medical assisting degree. “I want to pursue additional training - possibly surgical technology as a second degree,” she explained. “I want to work in pediatrics. Helping families keep their children healthy and happy would be an exciting career!”

Medical assisting student Sierra Domingo and her husband have worked out a schedule that allows them to raise their two children together while she attends classes full-time.

Class Project Sheds Light on Veterans’ Struggles

Class Project Sheds Light on Veterans’ Struggles

Francis Rillo, a student in the medical assisting program at the Florence Campus, chose to do a project on “The Struggles of American Soldiers” for her ethics class. She focused her research on soldiers and their struggles with PTSD, suicide, and traumatic brain injury. During her presentation, Francis described the ordeals they face in a combat role, as well as their struggles when they come home and have to resume their civilian lives.

Francis also took the opportunity to interview veteran Jason Stewart, student services representative and director of veterans affairs for the Florence Campus, as part of her class project. Jason was able to give Francis a better understanding of how PTSD affects soldiers in their everyday lives and how it never truly goes away. 

During the in-class presentation, Jason and Francis provided statistics on PTSD, homelessness, suicide, and divorce to demonstrate the sacrifices members of our military make to protect our security and democratic way of life. These powerful statistics had a profound impact on the students, and many commented that they have a new appreciation for the dedication, commitment, and sacrifice of our military service men and women.

Medical assisting student Francis Rillo (right) interviewed veteran Jason Stewart for her class project on “The Struggles of American Soldiers.”

Employers Share Information on Career Opportunities and Valuable Programs

Employers Share Information on Career Opportunities and Valuable Programs

Representatives from several area employers recently visited the Louisville Campus to talk with students about opportunities that can benefit them both while in school and after graduation.

Human resources representatives from LG&E shared career opportunities, as well as information about internships. LG&E offers internships in a variety of areas, including human resources, accounting, and information technology which allow students to work part-time as they gain professional experience in their field of study.  

Recruiters from UPS discussed their company’s Earn & Learn Program, which provides up to $5,250 annually for tuition and books to students who are employed by the UPS Air or Ground Operations in Louisville. American National University students who participate in the Earn & Learn Program may also qualify for the exclusive American National University Business Partnership Grant, a unique program which matches tuition assistance from employers.

Danielle Brown, a student in the business administration program, said that she felt that the information about the programs and job openings presented by the employers was very beneficial.  “This just brightens our opportunities,” Danielle said.

Tok Chhetri (right), a student in the business administration-accounting program, speaks with recruiters from UPS during their visit to the Louisville 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.