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March 30, 2015

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Business Student Earns Promotion before Graduating

 Business Student Earns Promotion before Graduating

American National University aims to provide students with a chance to enrich their lives. Upcoming business administration-management graduate Priscilla Cawthorne was able to do just that when she enrolled at the Columbus Campus, and she is already seeing the benefits that higher education can provide.

Before enrolling at National, Priscilla was working as an agency clerk at the Westerville License Agency, helping community residents with their driver’s license and license plate renewal needs. She wanted to continue her education in order to improve her opportunities for advancement in the organization and realized she needed to pursue higher education to get there. Priscilla was also motivated to further her career for the sake of herself and her young daughter, for whom she wants to set a good example. 

The small class sizes and flexible schedules at American National University fit what Priscilla was looking for as a working mother, and she appreciates that it is always easy to find help when needed. “I have found the faculty and staff to be very dedicated to what they do,” she said. “It is clear to me that they want students to succeed.” 

Since enrolling at American National University, Priscilla has been promoted to a management position at the agency, where her duties have expanded to include overseeing staff members, scheduling, and managing customer service performance, among other responsibilities. She has been able to directly apply the management concepts she has learned in class to her new managerial role, such as utilizing information from her law classes to help her boss sort out legal issues, as well as understanding how to create a positive work environment by being positive with employees and reinforcing them. 

“I find the things I have learned at American National University to be very valuable,” Priscilla stated. “American National University has gone the distance with me.”

A- Student Priscilla Cawthorne enrolled in the business administration-management program to advance in her career and was promoted to manager before graduating.

B- Priscilla found the small class sizes and flexible schedules at American National University to be a perfect fit for her life as a working mother.

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Mom Pursues Own College Dreams after Putting Kids through College

Mom Pursues Own College Dreams after Putting Kids through College

Paula Willoughby has always had a compassionate side and genuinely cares for people in need, and when her sister had a stroke, Paula felt a strong pull toward a career in the health care field. Ultimately, it was being laid off from her job that gave her the final push she needed to attend college for the first time and pursue her career goals.

After paying for her son’s education, Paula explained, “it was time for me to earn my degree.” As a medical assisting student at American National University's Cincinnati Campus, Paula has excelled in her academic achievements and has reached numerous personal goals, such as becoming an honors student and making the Dean’s List for multiple terms. Making the Dean’s List was important to Paula because her son was on his school’s Dean’s List several times, and her daughter was on the Dean’s List throughout her college years, as well. “I was proud of my children’s accomplishments, and I wanted them to be proud of my accomplishments too,” she shared. 

In addition to her academic achievements, Paula has volunteered her time at campus and community health fairs to strengthen her skills while also giving back to the community. Paula is happy with her choice to enroll at the Cincinnati Campus and is excited for her future as a medical assistant. “I am reinventing myself from a laborer to a health care professional,” she declared.  

Paula Willoughby was delighted to make the Dean’s List, following in the footsteps of her children’s academic achievements.

Medical Students Encouraged to Set Example for Patients

Medical Students Encouraged to Set Example for Patients

Recently, representatives from Sanford Health came to National College in Knoxville to address the health care students regarding nutrition. Certified profile coach Donna Taylor and registered dietician Kelly Ihen provided an overview of Sanford Health products and services, including Profile by Sanford, a comprehensive weight management program designed by Sanford Health physicians and scientists focusing on nutritional classes, meal replacements, psychological evaluation and support, and exercise options. 

Ms. Taylor stressed the importance for health care professionals to practice good nutrition decisions and maintain a healthy appearance for their work environment. “It is important to project to your patients a healthy lifestyle so that they understand the importance of good choices and follow your example,” she explained.

Upcoming medical assisting graduate Crystal Muncey appreciated the speakers’ valuable advice. “This was a very informative presentation. At first I was just thinking of some of my family members who could use [these resources] to lose weight; then I realized that it is a part of our professional appearance,” she said. “Obesity is such a big problem and causes so many other problems. I can’t exactly tell someone to lose weight if I’m overweight. Good things to keep in mind!”

Certified profile coach Donna Taylor (left) and registered dietician Kelly Ihen (right) speak to medical students about the importance of practicing good nutrition decisions.

Dawn Babcock – Administrative Assistant/Receptionist – Fort Wayne

Dawn Babcock – Administrative Assistant/Receptionist – Fort Wayne


Dawn Babcock –Difference Maker at the Fort Wayne Campus


Administrative Assistant/Receptionist


American National University staff member since 2014

Recipient of the Fort Wayne Campus’s 2014 Mary P. McGurn Award, presented for high academic achievement 


Holds an associate’s degree in computer information systems and an associate’s degree in accounting and business finance; received a medical office specialist diploma from American National University


“I’m the first person that the students see. I help the students out wherever I can, whether it be helping order their books for the term or setting up their online portal access.

“I admire American National University students’ determination to go after what they set their minds to. Even when circumstances seem against them, they still keep going and don’t give up.

“We had one particular student who struggled with balancing her classes and family issues. In her final term, things got very overwhelming for her and she was thinking of quitting, but we talked to her and she pulled through and graduated. My greatest reward is seeing students achieve the ultimate goal of graduation.”

Administrative assistant/receptionist Dawn Babcock is a Difference Maker at the Fort Wayne Campus.

Bristol Campus Showcases Opportunities Available after Graduation

Bristol Campus Showcases Opportunities Available after Graduation

The Bristol Campus held a career fair and health expo on Monday, March 23 with twenty-four businesses and organizations participating. “It was a beautiful day, and lots of people attended and took advantage of the opportunity to network with local businesses,” said career center director Rodney Freeman. “Several of the companies were even conducting immediate interviews at the event.” Representatives from a variety of industries were on hand to speak with students, graduates, and community members seeking clerical, management, financial, and health care positions, among others. 

National College student Megan Powers, a single mom of three children ranging from age ten months to four years old, attended the event in search of career opportunities in the health care field. She enrolled in the medical assisting program at the Bristol Campus when she realized that she would need to continue her education to be able to better support her family. “You can’t do that with a minimum wage job,” said Megan. “You need an education.” After graduation, her first choice would be to work in an OB/GYN office, having become interested in that specialization after going through three pregnancies herself.   

One of the organizations Megan spoke with at the career fair was Holston Medical Group, one of the largest multi-specialty providers within southeast Tennessee. Assistant nurse manager Sherrie Quillen was there hiring for medical assisting, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, and front office positions in the organization. “We hire a lot of medical assistants from National College,” said Ms. Quillen. “Quite a few of them are team leads, which means that they are the office liaison between the nurses in their facility, myself, and the nurses in our offices. They do a wonderful job!” 

A- Graduate Tabetha Miller is pictured with Cheryl Snapp of Express Personnel at the Bristol Campus’s career fair and health expo.

B- Sherrie Quillen, assistant nurse manager with Holston Medical Group, speaks with medical assisting student Megan Powers. 

CNA Trains in Medical Assisting Program to Advance in Her Career

CNA Trains in Medical Assisting Program to Advance in Her Career

After working as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) for over eight years, Marie McWherter  enrolled in the medical assisting program at the Nashville Campus to become more knowledgeable about the medical field and increase her income potential.

Marie loves working in health care because it gives her the opportunity to help others. “[I like] seeing their smiling faces, whether it be geriatrics or pediatrics,” she explained.

She’s enjoying the hands-on experience that she’s getting in her classes at National College, and she’s particularly looking forward to taking the invasive clinical procedures class, where she’ll learn to give injections and draw blood.  

Marie feels that there will be many opportunities to advance in her career once she earns her degree and becomes certified as a registered medical assistant. “There are many jobs you can get through [a medical assisting degree], whether phlebotomy, or administrative work, or clinical work,” Marie said.

After working as a CNA for eight years, Marie McWherter is earning a degree in the medical assisting program at the Nashville Campus to help her advance in her medical career.

Graduate Returns to Campus to Share Her Experiences with Current Students

Graduate Returns to Campus to Share Her Experiences with Current Students

Louisville Campus graduate Rhonda Miller recently returned to American National University to speak to several business classes about her career working as a purchasing agent for one of the largest cabinet manufacturers in North America.

She began working at the company as a shipping clerk and was promoted to her current position after earning her degree in the office technology professional program. In her work, Rhonda relies heavily on the computer skills that she acquired at National. “I’m working with two computerized systems,” she explained. “You need to know the terms; you need to know the format of how things are done. I got my basis here [at National], and I was able to utilize that and make the two mesh and work.”

Rhonda feels grateful to have found stable employment after being laid off from her job as a welder. She knew that education was the key to advancing in her career, and she chose National over other schools in the area because of its small class size, convenient location, and affordability. “[I found the program that] I was most interested in at the best price and affordability was at American National University,” she recalled.

Throughout her program at National, Rhonda demonstrated the same commitment to excellence that she exhibits on the job today. “My boss was impressed with my grades; I graduated with high honors, and it showed,” she shared. 

She feels that many of her instructors, like Aquila Johnson and Luis Alicea-Batlle, also went above and beyond to see to it that she succeeded. “She was so phenomenal,” Rhonda recalled of Aquila, who instructed her Accounting I class. “She has the patience of a saint. She encouraged me and told me, ‘You’re going to get it,’ and all of a sudden, after the third or fourth class, it clicked.”

Rhonda is also a small business owner and still consults with Luis today regarding her plans for expansion. “I’m looking to write a new business plan and go to the small business administration. I would never have taken those steps if I hadn’t had [his] class,” she stated. “If I wouldn’t have had this degree, I don’t think I would have had the opportunity to do what I’m doing now. I would have been limited,” she added.  “It’s very true—the more you know, the more doors open.”

A- Rhonda Miller (center) is shown receiving a certificate of appreciation from two of her favorite instructors, Aquila Johnson (left) and Luis Alicea-Batlle (right), after she spoke to their classes at the Louisville Campus.

B- Rhonda has been promoted from shipping clerk to purchasing agent thanks to her commitment to excellence and the technology skills that she gained in her program at the Louisville Campus.

Sisters Share Common Goal

Sisters Share Common Goal

Sisters Gabrielle Adams and Adrieanna Adams are providing support and encouragement to one another as they work toward earning their degrees at the Danville, Kentucky Campus. Adrieanna is a student in the medical assisting program and Gabrielle is pursuing a degree in business administration-management.

While Gabrielle and Adrieanna don’t have any classes together, they are each enjoying the personal attention that they receive from their instructors. “They’re real approachable; you’re not nervous when you’re around them,” said Adrieanna.

Gabrielle feels especially grateful for instructors David Layton and Jo Ann Wilmot. “I can come to them, and they give me advice,” she explained. “I’m very thankful for both of them.” 

Although Gabrielle and Adrieanna have very different goals for their careers, they are both continuing their educations to create better lives for their families and to be role models for their children. “I want to make my children proud. I’m not coming to school for me, I’m coming to make their lives better,” said Gabrielle.

“I hope that they see that I accomplished something in my life and they can accomplish it also,” added Adrieanna.

Sisters Adrieanna Adams (left) and Gabrielle Adams (right) are continuing their educations at American National University to help better their children's lives.

A Life-Long Dream Come True, With More to Come

A Life-Long Dream Come True, With More to Come

Combining a life-long interest in the medical field with inspiration provided by her sister, who is a registered nurse, Elizabeth Jones has successfully completed her program at the Lexington Campus and will graduate in May with her associate’s degree in medical assisting. She is now looking to further her education so she can add to her training and skill set. “Everyone here at National has been terrific!” she exclaimed. “I have developed a support system here – folks who are always there to help and guide me.”

Elizabeth can thank her family for providing the inspiration, as well as the opportunity, to pursue a career in health care. “My niece was enrolled in National’s medical assisting program and always spoke very highly of her instructors and her training,” explained Elizabeth of how she first heard about American National University. “She brought me to a ‘Bring-a-Friend-to-School’ event at the campus; I attended a class with her – and the rest is history! Coming to that event was a life-changing decision – one I’m glad I made!” 

While Elizabeth is looking at her options for employment in the medical field following graduation, she is also considering immediately enrolling next term to continue her education. “I took care of my ailing mother as she battled cancer; my goal is to work in oncology – and the more I learn, the better I can serve them,” she shared. “I truly feel oncology is my ‘calling’ – I want to continue my education so I can provide the very best for my patients; I simply need to do this to help everyone who needs such extensive care and compassion.”

Medical assisting student Elizabeth Jones hopes to use her knowledge and training to help oncology patients.

Richmond Campus Hosts Financial & Relationship Peace Workshop

Richmond Campus Hosts Financial & Relationship Peace Workshop

Medical assisting student Amy Minyard and her husband, Randy Minyard, are developing money management and communications skills that will benefit them for a lifetime as participants in the six week Financial & Relationship Peace: Foundational Skills workshop being held at the Richmond Campus. The series is sponsored by Kentucky River Foothills Development Council, Inc. through funding from a grant by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families. 

The six week workshop uses the Foundations in Personal Finance curriculum developed by author and talk show host Dave Ramsey to help participants develop a savings plan, create a budget, and increase their awareness of the dangers of debt. The relationship strategies that are also covered go hand-in-hand with money management, as studies show that conflicts over money are the number one reason for divorce in America. “We participated to be able to deal with our budget better and to get organized,” explained Amy. “The marital part has been helpful, as well.”

Amy and Randy are already putting techniques that they’ve learned during the workshop to use, such as taking a “time-out” during disagreements. “We have to take the time to separate and call the time-out, and then come back and talk about the situation, and come up with a solution,” she explained. “That has actually helped our marriage greatly.”

For information on future classes, contact Phyllis Fuchs at Foothills at (859) 624-2046, ext. 303, or at   

A- Randy and Amy Minyard received information on money management and communications skills in the Financial and Relationship Peace: Foundational Skills workshop series at the Richmond Campus.

B- Amy spoke with facilitator Phyllis Fuchs during a recent workshop session.

Student Inspires Her Sister to Enroll in Medical Assisting Program

Student Inspires Her Sister to Enroll in Medical Assisting Program

When Amber Kelly, a student in the medical assisting program at the Pikeville Campus, saw that her sister, Brandi Ratliff, had stalled in her progress at a local university, she suggested that she join her as a student at American National University. “I [told her] ‘You need to come here. You’ll find out that it’s better; it’s like a family,” Amber recalled.

The family-like atmosphere at National, which has allowed Amber to form close bonds with her instructors and classmates, is just one of the reasons that she has felt compelled to recommend the school to others. The valuable insight and experience from her instructors, who are professionals in the field, has also greatly enhanced her education. “[We’ve heard] story upon story. They can go out in the field and bring that it in here and help us gain from that information,” she explained.

Amber also loves the hands-on experience that she’s receiving, both in the classroom and working side-by-side with the medical team in her externship at the Leonard Lawson Cancer Center. “It gets more real every day,” she said. “That’s when all the lectures and all the book work that you’ve done make sense.”

After joining her sister as a student in the medical assisting program, Brandi is just beginning her own American National University journey. “She’s been my support team through this whole situation,” Brandi said of her sister’s encouragement as they each strive to make better lives for their families. “We’ve kind of been each other’s rock.”

Student Amber Kelly (left) encouraged her sister Brandi Ratliff (right) to join her in the medical assisting program at the Pikeville Campus.

Native of Colombia Turns to ANU to Improve English Skills and Learn Business

Native of Colombia Turns to ANU to Improve English Skills and Learn Business

John Marulanda is a student at the Roanoke Valley Campus who hails from Bogota, Colombia. He lived there all of his life until moving to Seattle, Washington in 2009. He was working there as an automotive technician and decided that he wanted to learn English to improve his career opportunities. He had friends who were attending another university in Virginia but knew that they were not happy with their choice, so he turned to the internet to find an institution in the same area that would better serve his needs. He saw a listing for American National University’s English as a Second Language (ESL) program and decided to make the move to Virginia, where he could be closer to his friends and attend the Roanoke Valley Campus.  


When John began the ESL program last summer, he was a level-3 English student. Through hard work and determination, he quickly advanced to level-6 and has now graduated from the ESL program and enrolled in the business administration course of study at the campus. He also reached another important milestone in his life, having become a U.S. citizen.  


John’s favorite thing about the Roanoke Valley Campus has been the instructors, particularly ESL instructor Elizabeth Johnson. “She is professional, she knows a lot, and she likes to teach international students,” said John. “She is passionate about it.” He added that the personal contact is what surprised him more than anything about the campus. He knew that he could come to anyone on the ESL staff – even after class – and they would be available and willing to help.  


Another aspect of John’s ESL education that made a positive impact on him was the cultural trips that he was able to participate in. ESL program coordinator Shereen Al Madhon is responsible for planning the trips to various cities that allow the students to immerse themselves in the American culture and improve their English skills even more. Due to his love of history, John’s favorite trip was to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where the students were able to visit a Civil War museum and the Gettysburg Battlefield. 


John excelled in his ESL program and is now enjoying the opportunity to use his improved English skills to further his educational goals in the business administration-management degree program. “There are a lot of opportunities,” John said regarding his American experience. “You can open a business here.” He plans to do just that. Once he completes his business degree, he hopes to open his own automobile service company. 


A- John Marulanda is a former ESL student and is now studying business administration with the goal of opening his own automobile service company.  


B- John (far right) participated in an ESL cultural immersion trip to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

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.