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May 04, 2015

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Graduates Use ANU Education to Serve Community and Inspire Their Son

Graduates Use ANU Education to Serve Community and Inspire Their Son

When Eddie Maloney enrolled at American National University’s Roanoke Valley Campus in 1984, he probably had little notion that he would meet his future wife, Becky, in class and return thirty years later as the proprietor of a successful business to sell cups of delicious shaved ice to his son’s classmates, but so it transpired.

Inspired by his own love of shaved ice and building on the business administration-management degree he earned at ANU, Eddie recently established a local franchise of Kona Ice. Demonstrating excellent business acumen, the Maloney’s were careful to ensure that their product satisfied the nutritional requirements to qualify as a USDA Safe Snack, a designation which allows the Kona Ice truck to sell approved snacks in school settings—a huge market for sales – and to support local fundraising efforts.

At the invitation of campus director Ron Bradbury, the Maloney’s recently parked their tiki-themed Kona Ice truck at the Roanoke Valley Campus to treat students to a little pick-me-up during exam week. “Not only is Kona Ice refreshing, the Maloney’s serve their customers with joyful enthusiasm and bright, encouraging smiles,” said Ron. “The experience provided an enjoyable and appreciated break for exam-takers.”

In recognition of their career success and service to the community, Eddie and Becky Maloney were selected as the 2015 recipients of the Roanoke Valley Campus’s Alumni Hall of Achievement Award, the most distinguished award bestowed upon alumni. “Back then it was called National Business College, and I transferred from a local community college where I was taking a lot of classes that were not related to my business major,” explained Eddie. “[At ANU], the instructors were fantastic, obviously knowledgeable, and the classes were smaller. I finished my degree at ANU two years later.” 

Although his business degree has helped him build a successful career, he is much more appreciative of ANU for something else. “The best thing was meeting Becky here,” he shared. “I saw her and that was it! We were married a year and a half later. That was 28 years ago. Can you say I am excited about ANU? I have a great life!” 

The Maloney’s were formally recognized for this honor during the very same commencement exercises at which their son Justin received his degree from ANU. Like his parents, Justin is now a graduate of American National University, also with a degree in business administration-management. Whether or not he will one day sell Kona Ice to his own children in the ANU parking lot, remains to be seen.

A- Eddie (left) and Becky Maloney (right) were recognized with the Alumni Hall of Achievement Award at the same commencement ceremony where their son Justin (center) earned his degree.

B- Roanoke Valley Campus students line up for a refreshing exam week treat from the Kona Ice truck, owned by ANU graduates Eddie and Becky Maloney.

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Successful Graduate and Faculty Member Receives National Recognition

Successful Graduate and Faculty Member Receives National Recognition

Knoxville Campus instructor Robyn Gutherless, CPC (certified professional coder), graduated with honors from National College’s medical billing and coding program in 2008 and has not sat still since. In 2010, she joined the Oak Ridge chapter of the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). The following year, Robyn founded the Lenoir City, TN Chapter of AAPC. In 2014, her chapter went from eight members to 52 due to her very determined and diligent recruiting efforts.

Because of her achievements, Robyn was recently honored by the AAPC with their inaugural True Blue Award and an article in their national journal, Healthcare Business Monthly. On April 2, Robyn attended the AAPC’s national convention in Las Vegas as a special honoree. She was recognized in the organization’s promotional campaign entitled, “I Am AAPC,” on banners hanging in the venue. 

The True Blue Award recognizes all of Robyn’s hard work in recruiting members, preparing others for certification exams, assisting and advising other local chapters, playing a key role in raising chapter revenue, as well as being a role model in the local communities by helping others in need – all on her own time.

Student Lisa Sanderlin has been inspired by Robyn’s hard work. “Mrs. Gutherless has made it exciting and easy to want to achieve my degree in medical coding,” she shared. “Her real world experience brings the textbooks to life, and she always makes herself available to help us.”

“The tears of joy haven't stopped!” said Robyn of her national recognition in the coding community. “This is truly a great honor for a coder. I have worked very hard to be the best I can be, and it has already paid off with a great chapter and great students. I am so blessed beyond words!”  

A- Robyn Gutherless, CPC, was featured in the “I Am AAPC” campaign and recognized at the AAPC national convention in Las Vegas.

B- Coding instructor Robyn Gutherless (2nd from right) is an inspiration to her students, (left to right) Melony Russell, Stacey Swann-Clothier, Lisa Sanderlin, and Natocha Brandon.

Certification Opportunity and Work Study Experience Prepare Student for Upcoming Career

 Certification Opportunity and Work Study Experience Prepare Student for Upcoming Career

Jessica Richards enrolled in the medical assisting and medical billing and coding programs at the Richmond Campus shortly after her daughter was born. “I went to other universities before and I didn’t like them because they were so big,” Jessica recalled. “When I had [my daughter], I said, ‘I have to do something.’ I wanted her to look up to me.”

In her programs at American National University, Jessica enjoys the personal level of attention that she receives from her instructors. She also feels that the opportunity to sit for the registered medical assistant (RMA) certification exam as part of her program is a big plus. “The good thing about National is you take [the RMA test] before you graduate. A lot of places just let you go on and graduate and you don’t have that certification,” she explained. “That’s one of the big [reasons] why I chose National, because that’s included.”

In addition, as a participant in the federal work study program, Jessica is also gaining administrative experience working on loan to the Kentucky Career Center, where she checks clients in, provides referrals, assists clients by phone, and more. The partnership is a win-win for both Jessica, who’s getting great experience to add to her résumé, and the Kentucky Career Center, which has gained an extra set of hands. 

“I’m ready to get out there,” Jessica said of her upcoming career in the medical field. “I like being able to help people. [My degree] is going to give me [a lot of] opportunities that I’ve never had before.”  

Medical assisting student Jessica Richards is using her administrative skills and getting experience dealing with the public working as a federal work study student on loan to the Kentucky Career Center.

Local Chamber Event Provides Opportunity to Showcase Campus

Local Chamber Event Provides Opportunity to Showcase Campus

The Parkersburg Campus of American National University was host to the Mid-Ohio Valley Chamber of Commerce’s recent Business After Hours event. The Fat Tuesday themed celebration was enjoyed by more than 60 local business men and women in attendance. Chamber of Commerce members from across the Mid-Ohio Valley were able to tour the campus and learn about the various programs offered.

Local business woman Kristin Meeks, owner and operator of WV Social Media, was excited to see ANU host this event. “This is a wonderful opportunity for ANU to show off all that it has to offer to this area,” she said. “This university and its graduates are a real benefit to this community, and it is good to see so many people here to see what this school is all about.”

The campus staff also appreciated the opportunity to host this type of event. “It’s a big help in generating excitement for the campus in the local business community,” said career center director MaryAnn Sims. “We look forward to hosting such gatherings again in the future.”

PHOTO– Local Chamber of Commerce members Kristin Meeks (left) and Shannon Shaulis (right) enjoyed their time at the Business After Hours event sponsored by ANU.

Students Gain Valuable Interviewing Skills during Class Exercise

Students Gain Valuable Interviewing Skills during Class Exercise

Nerves were running high on April 14 in Michelle Carter’s Written Communications class at the Princeton Campus. Student took turns standing behind a podium and addressing their classmates, as well as a panel featuring campus director Denver Riffe, career center director Elaine Owens, and Michelle herself. The students were tasked with convincing the panel that they had the skills for the job they had previously selected, written a cover letter for, and created a résumé to match. This type of exercise is beneficial in building confidence, especially for panel job interviews, which can often be intimidating.

The students were scored on various presentation elements, including nonverbal expressions, eye contact, appropriate dress, verbal skills, audience engagement, speaking volume, and the ability to clearly and persuasively state what the job required and why they were the best candidate. 

Students were encouraging of their fellow classmates, and the panel of faculty and staff offered constructive criticism and tips for improvement. Michelle, who has a master’s degree and previous work experience in the human resources field and has extensive interviewing experience, repeatedly emphasized to the class that employers look for certain fundamental skills in potential employees. “Strong organizational skills, being a self-starter, having problem-solving skills, and having the ability to make good decisions are key,” she said. She encouraged the students to exhibit these qualities in their presentations. Elaine elaborated that students should strive to match their skills to the employment opportunity, while Denver advised them to be professional and understand the business with which they are interviewing.

Student Chris Martin found that the experience provided helpful tips he could use in his job search. “The feedback was great!” he exclaimed. “Going forward, I will not be as afraid when I go to an interview. This exercise will help me come across as more confident in future interviews.”

Students in the Written Communications class participated in an exercise where they took turns persuading classmates, faculty, and staff that they were ideal candidates for a particular job.

Medical Assisting Students Practice Skills While Helping Community

 Medical Assisting Students Practice Skills While Helping Community

Medical assisting students at the Harrisonburg Campus recently had an opportunity to practice what they’ve been learning in class when they volunteered their time and skills at the Bridgewater Retirement Center’s annual health fair. 

Students were on hand to provide free blood pressure and blood sugar checks to residents and guests at the event. 

“We love doing this event,” said director of health science education Christopher Weve. “It gives our students a chance to practice their skills and help out the community. It is also a great way for them to network with other health professionals and really see what services are available in our area.”

Graduate Julia Shifflett checks a community member’s blood pressure during Bridgewater Retirement Center’s annual health fair.

Volunteer Firefighter Parlays Passion for Helping Others into New Medical Career

Volunteer Firefighter Parlays Passion for Helping Others into New Medical Career

While working as a volunteer firefighter, Jessica Pike has had the opportunity to help save many lives providing first aid to victims while waiting for the rescue squad or a medevac helicopter to arrive. “I think quick on my feet. When you give me a chaotic situation, I’m the calm one of the whole bunch,” Jessica explained. “You’re there to help somebody at their lowest and when they need you the worst, and that’s why I do it.”

Jessica was often encouraged by her fire chief and other members of the fire department to find a career in the medical field. It wasn’t until she was laid off from yet another job in a local factory that she made the decision to do so, and she enrolled in the medical assisting program at American National University’s Danville, Kentucky Campus. “After three factories shut down, I got fed up, and National was my out,” she explained. “I came to National and [director of health care education] Stephanie Slone and [instructor] Jennifer Lyon saw something in me that nobody else saw.”

With encouragement and support from the staff and faculty at National, Jessica excelled in her program, earning a spot on the Dean’s List almost every term. Her hard work and knowledge was evident to the busy family clinic where she worked as an extern, and she was hired by the practice before graduating. “I work hard. I give it 110%,” Jessica said of her new career as a registered medical assistant (RMA). “It has boosted my confidence like you would never believe. It has really brought me to a new level in life.”

Volunteer firefighter Jessica Pike earned her degree in the medical assisting program at the Danville, Kentucky Campus after several factories where she previously worked shut down.

Multimedia Production Program Created in Response to Workforce Trends

Multimedia Production Program Created in Response to Workforce Trends

In response to the growing demand for social media managers, video conferencing specialists, and other multimedia production professionals in the workforce, the Lexington Campus recently rolled out a new multimedia production program which will replace the former radio and television broadcasting program.

“There are a lot of companies looking for people with experience in multimedia, whether it be video production, audio production, graphic design, or announcing; they all work together,” explained multimedia production program director Bill Gray. “That’s why we’re taking this step forward, to make sure our students have those job skills relevant in today’s job market.”

The program includes new classes such as Introduction to Social Media and Graphic Design, along with several classes which have been revised to give students a broader skill set.  

“Students got the idea when they heard ‘radio and television broadcasting program’ that they were going to be television personalities or they were going to be in front of the camera,” stated campus director Kim Thomasson. “For some, announcing is their forte, and they will continue to find the training they need in the multimedia production program. However, there are many other diverse jobs out there with different companies looking for professionals to manager their multimedia.”

“We’ve seen numerous job postings from medical facilities and other companies looking for social media managers. They are looking for individuals with a degree that are able to come in and manage their Facebook and upload videos to You Tube,” added Bill. “The multimedia production program is an exciting new program that is going to open up new opportunities for our students.”

Multimedia production program director Bill Gray is shown with students from the multimedia production program (formerly radio and television broadcasting program), which was recently created in response to workforce trends.

Volunteering Helps the Community and the Volunteer

Volunteering Helps the Community and the Volunteer

Volunteering doesn’t just help the community, it also helps the volunteer gain a feeling of self-worth, accomplishment, respect for those who are in need, and appreciation for what they themselves have. For students, it also prepares them to be more caring and understanding of the needs of the community, outside of their own circle.  

Lynchburg Campus students from instructor Jane Wright’s Pharmacy Practice class and director of health science education Sue Coleman's Medical Assisting Exam Success class recently came together to volunteer their time at the Daily Bread, a mission providing meals to the homeless and hungry in Lynchburg. Students stocked shelves, prepared place settings, and helped serve 120 community guests for lunch. 

Coinciding with ANU’s mission statement, this service activity provided the students with a better understanding of their responsibilities to their community by learning to become effective and contributing citizens. “It was a great experience!” stated medical assisting student Tracey Cash. “It made me feel good inside being able to serve others. You never know what people go through, but being able to put smiles on their faces gave me a great feeling of accomplishment.” 

“Seeing these students using the skills learned in the classroom while serving the community broadened their awareness and compassion for the needs beyond the medical field,” said Sue.  “The students enjoyed this service-oriented class project and have stated they want to go out and help the community more.”

Volunteering in the community also has another added benefit for students – employers often look at volunteering as experience when considering candidates for employment. It tells employers that the candidate will not only do their job, but will likely go above and beyond on job duties and be willing to assist others. Employees with a service mindset make great team members for successful organizations. Noting volunteer work on a résumé is always a good idea, and may even be a great conversation starter during an interview.

Students are also able to develop other skills, such as customer service, teamwork, communication, and even networking, through volunteer experiences. You never know if the community member serving beside you might be hiring for positions within their company or know someone who is.

(L to R) Student Tracey Cash, instructor  Jane Wright, student Kamika Wright, student Lovena Clark, student Amber Spears, director of health science education Sue Coleman, and student Mark Johnson participated in a community service project at the Daily Bread. 

Walgreens Provides On-Going Support to Pharmacy Technician Program

Walgreens Provides On-Going Support to Pharmacy Technician Program

On April 29, Florence Campus career center director Samantha Palmer and pharmacy technician instructor Karrie Perkins presented the American National University Distinguished Community Employer Award to the Walgreens Pharmacy in Union, Kentucky. The award was presented in recognition of the ongoing support that Walgreens provides to the campus’s pharmacy technician students and graduates.

Walgreens provides externships for pharmacy technician students, allowing them to obtain hands-on experience in the field. The externships also often lead to employment in one of Walgreens’ many area locations.

Pharmacist Kim Meyer said that she has found accepting externs from the pharmacy technician program at American National University to be beneficial to both the students and to Walgreens. “[Our most recent extern] was very professional, and she had a lot of drug knowledge from going through her classes,” said Ms. Meyer. “We like to teach them and to get some new employees, too.”

(Left to right) Career center director Samantha Palmer, pharmacist Kim Meyer, store manager Gary Brinkman, and pharmacy technician instructor Karrie Perkins participated in the presentation of the Distinguished Community Employer award to Walgreens in Union, Kentucky.

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.