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May 18, 2015

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Business and Accounting Graduate Uses Education to Earn Two Promotions

Business and Accounting Graduate Uses Education to Earn Two Promotions

In an amazing tour de force, Lexington Campus graduate Formeka Ross earned her degree with a double major in business administration-management and accounting while raising twin boys and working full time – but her accomplishments don’t end there.

She was hired by Traxx Shell while still a student at American National University, where her dedication to her job and her business know-how enabled Formeka to earn two promotions, from customer service representative to assistant manager, then to store manager in just a year and a half.

“Now that I have to keep up with inventory and balancing money, basically everything I’ve learned so far [in class], I’m using on a daily basis,” Formeka said. “Because of [my degree], I was interviewed for the assistant manager’s position, and now [I’ve been promoted] to manager three months later.”

While Formeka is happy to have realized her goal of earning a college degree and finding her niche in the business world, the journey hasn’t always been an easy one. “I had been enrolled at ANU previously – but finding out I was the soon-to-be mother of twins temporarily side-tracked my college plans,” she explained.

She credits her admissions representative, Earlane Cox, with helping her to stay determined and focused when she returned to ANU to complete her program. “I told Earlane, ‘I’m hoping to finish this time,’ and he said, ‘No. You will finish this time,’” she recalled. “I [remembered] that every day when I was tired, when I was angry, when I was frustrated. He said ‘I will,’ and I did, so those little words stuck with me. He gave me a reason to fight.”

Formeka’s degree from ANU and her new career have allowed her to create a better life for her twins. Her next goal is to become a general manager, where she’ll supervise the managers of multiple stores.

A- Lexington Campus graduate Formeka Ross received two promotions in less than two years at Traxx Shell where she now works as the store manager.

B- Formeka is constantly calling upon the skills that she gained in her business administration-management and accounting programs to keep the Traxx Shell location that she manages running smoothly.

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Local Business Owner Inspires Graduates with Personal Success Story

Local Business Owner Inspires Graduates with Personal Success Story

It was a beautiful Mother’s Day weekend as more than 40 graduates from the Danville, Virginia Campus of ANU were presented with their degrees and diplomas at the 2015 commencement ceremony. Family members, friends, faculty, and staff gathered to celebrate the achievements of the graduates eagerly awaiting their moment to walk across the stage.

During her welcome address, campus director Carlene Wilson acknowledged the significance of holding the commencement ceremony on Mother’s Day weekend and asked the mothers in the graduating class to stand and be applauded for remaining committed to their education, while many of them were also working and raising young children. She also acknowledged the loved ones in the audience whose support and encouragement helped the graduates reach this milestone in their lives.

Silvana Miller, a local business owner and educator originally from Uruguay, served as the commencement speaker. “I started from the bottom,” she shared. “I came here 30 years ago with just a suitcase, and now I’m here with my own business.” She explained that the language and cultural differences she encountered in the U.S. were difficult to overcome but her determination for success pushed her toward her goals.

“Today is a great day; today is a new life,” she encouraged the graduates. “Nobody can tell you that you can’t do it. Take the negative and turn it into a positive. Use it; recycle it; turn it into a positive.”

Following the commencement address, awards for academic achievement and leadership were presented to the following graduates: Temeka Green—Achievement Award; Jasmine Farmer—Leadership Award; Tieara Ford, Lakesha Hughes, and Laura Martin—E. M. Coulter Award; Terri Grant—Joseph E. Hurn Award; William Holley—Dorothy Coulter Hancock Award.

The Alumni Hall of Achievement Award was presented to Deborah Gravely. This award honors those who have excelled in their careers and in their service to the community since graduation. Deborah graduated with honors in 2011 and began working at the Harrisonburg Campus as a faculty member that same year. She has since been promoted to clinical coordinator of the surgical technology department and has helped the campus maintain a 100% student pass rate on Association of Surgical Technologists (AST) certification exams for the past four years. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in health care management.

A- More than 40 graduates of the class of 2015 were recognized at the Danville Campus’s commencement ceremony.

B- Commencement speaker Silvana Miller encouraged the graduates to persevere through life’s obstacles.

Accounting Students Learn Fundamentals of Career in Financial Planning

Accounting Students Learn Fundamentals of Career in Financial Planning

Recently Edward Jones financial advisor Michelle Garlington visited the Principles of Accounting I class at the Knoxville Campus. Michelle provided the history of Edward Jones, explained the training involved, and described the principles that set them apart from others in the industry. She also explained to the class the importance and simplicity of investing.  

Based on the Edward Jones principle, financial planning is analogous to a doctor’s visit. They believe in providing one-on-one service, listening to your needs and goals, and offering a personal “diagnosis” in language that you understand. Training consists of an initial two-month home-study course designed to help you pass the General Securities Registered Representative Examination and a uniform Combined State Law Examination. On a long-term basis, advisors will continue to take rigorous courses on personal finance and investing. The Edward Jones commitment to training quality advisors has led them to being awarded “100 Best Companies to Work For” in America by FORTUNE magazine for six years.

Student Cara Oden was very enlightened by the presentation. “Michelle really made me realize how important it is to invest in my future,” she said. “She explained investing in stocks and bonds in its simplest form and offered great knowledge of the stock market and investment industry.” Michelle concluded her presentation simply— “You’ll never regret saving money.”

Financial advisor Michelle Garlington from Edward Jones spoke to accounting students about the fundamentals behind a career in financial planning.

Fellow Graduate Encourages New Graduates to Be Ready to Grab Opportunities

Fellow Graduate Encourages New Graduates to Be Ready to Grab Opportunities

The 128th commencement exercises of the Roanoke Valley Campus took place at Lakeside Baptist Church in Salem on Friday, May 1. “You have studied, you have sweated, you have been successful, and you have succeeded,” said campus director Ron Bradbury to the graduating class.

Joseph B. “Butch” Church, member of the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors, gave the commencement address. Mr. Church is a graduate of American National University himself and spoke fondly of the time that he spent as a student. 

Mr. Church had much advice to pass onto the graduates, including “Be humble; never ever stop learning,” he encouraged. “Don’t be afraid to take a risk; be prepared for just about anything in your life. Remember to dream; after all, a dream is a wish your heart makes.”

“I encourage each of you to be ready,” he urged the Class of 2015. “You never know when opportunities will be coming. Grab opportunities and go with it.”

Mr. Church has had a fulfilling career since graduating from ANU, including working for Nationwide Insurance for 28 years, as well as serving as a Division 1 College Basketball Referee. He shared that it was through his work as a referee that he learned teamwork, how to handle stressful situations, how to be a leader, and how to manage adversity.

Following Mr. Church’s commencement address, awards were presented to the following graduates: Robbie Vandyke-- Achievement Award; Samantha Weddle-- Leadership Award; Jeremy Goyer, Amy Maxey, Samantha Smithers, and Selena Talford-- E.M. Coulter Award; Paul M. Fulcher, Eva Lynn, and Deborah Salter-- Joseph E. Hurn Award; Ryan Nakamoto-- M.A. Smythe Award; Harinder Chavla, Tyler Cromack, and Jodie Wilmer-- Dorothy Coulter Hancock Award; Shawna Battle-- Mary P. McGurn Award; and Eddie and Rebecca Maloney-- Alumni Hall of Achievement Award. [Read more about the Maloneys' story here].

Among the Class of 2015 was honors graduate Jordan Jeffries, who received dual associates’ degrees in business administration-management and tourism and hospitality management. Jordan is currently working for Nationwide Insurance and found Mr. Church’s address to be especially meaningful. Medical assisting graduate Kiesha Waldron was excited to celebrate her time at ANU, as well as the next chapter she is starting in her new career. Of her time at ANU she said, “I loved it!  It’s a great school!” Scott Rowsey, who received his Master of Business Administration degree, said of his experience at ANU, “I had the time of my life!”

A- Joseph B. “Butch” Church, member of the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors and graduate of the ANU Roanoke Valley Campus, gave the commencement address.

B- Dr. Annette Chamberlin, department chair, Master of Business Administration, (center, front), celebrates on graduation day with the MBA graduates.  

Medical Assisting Students Use Their Skills to Give Back to Community

Medical Assisting Students Use Their Skills to Give Back to Community

Thirteen medical assisting students from the Danville, Kentucky Campus recently had the opportunity to give back to their community and put their skills from the classroom into action. They offered health screenings once again this year during a health fair that was held in conjunction with the Inter County Energy cooperative’s annual business meeting at Boyle County High School.

Shianna Johnson enjoyed participating in the health fair with her fellow medical assisting students. “We took free blood pressures and glucose checks for anyone who wanted them,” she explained. “I felt that it was a great learning experience, and I was very well prepared for these activities from the things I had learned in class.”

Medical assisting student Shianna Johnson provides a blood pressure screening for a community member during the Inter County Energy Cooperative’s annual meeting.

Graduates are Inspired to Find their Niche in the World

Graduates are Inspired to Find their Niche in the World

On May 8, the Richmond Campus Class of 2015 took the stage to accept their diplomas during the annual commencement ceremony at the First Baptist Church of Richmond. The graduates were joined by the Richmond Campus staff and faculty and a large and joyfully exuberant crowd of several hundred friends and family members.

Commencement speaker Reverend Dr. Robert Blythe, a Commissioner for the City of Richmond, commended the graduates on seeing their educational goals through to the end. He also encouraged them to hold tight to the relationships that they have built at ANU and to find their special niche in the world as they embark upon their new careers. “Remember that in life there is a place just for you. There is a need that only you can fill. Find it and fill it,” he advised.

Following Reverend Blythe’s inspirational address, several outstanding graduates were presented with awards: Jessica Green and Courtney Watson—E.M. Coulter Award; Cheryl Fruzzetti—M. A. Smythe Award; Jackie Hall and Keri Lancaster—Joseph E. Hurn Award; Sheri Ingram and Jennifer Harney—Achievement Award; and Linda Dominquez—Leadership Award.

Loretta Richardson, a 2006 graduate who has built a successful career as a certified medical assistant, was the recipient of this year’s Alumni Hall of Achievement Award. After graduating from ANU, Loretta was hired from her externship by a family practice in Berea, Kentucky. She later worked in a large internal medicine and family practice, where she began as a referral coordinator, and then advanced to front office supervisor and later to clinical supervisor. Loretta has also been active in the local chapter of the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) and serves as a board member of the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA). 

“In the past few weeks I was offered a position to engage in a new journey at a pediatric office, which I have accepted and I am looking forward to. Being a medical assistant has opened many doors and allowed me many opportunities,” Loretta shared. “Being a medical assistant has given me great joy. I love working with patients and helping every patient that I come in contact with.”

A- Commencement speaker Reverend Dr. Robert Blythe urged the Richmond Campus graduates to find their place in the world and fill it.

B- Medical assisting program graduate Loretta Richardson, the recipient of the 2015 Alumni Hall of Achievement Award, is pictured with director of health science education Paula Ciolek (right) and campus director Keeley Gadd (left).

Network Administration Students Hear How Education Ties In With Real World

Network Administration Students Hear How Education Ties In With Real World

Colt Johnson, owner of LynLINKS Technologies, Inc., recently came to the Lynchburg Campus to speak to IT students about working as an IT professional and providing services and support to customers. With many years of experience owning a business that provides IT service and support, Mr. Johnson has encountered almost any hardware and software issue imaginable – from virus removal to replacing screens on mobile devices to server administration for small businesses.

Mr. Johnson spoke to the students about IT being a field that is constantly changing and, because of this, IT professionals are constantly learning new applications and technologies. He also discussed customer service and the practical side of working as an IT professional. In addition, he provided tips on some of his favorite tools for performing basic service tasks, which included several of the tools the students had used and studied in class.

Pamela Hooper, IT instructor, appreciated that Mr. Johnson showed the students the value of continued study to keep up with changes. “It’s always nice to validate what we are learning in class with what goes on in the profession,” she explained. “Students get to see that I’m not making this stuff up.”

Network administration student Joseph Short enjoys hearing real-life wisdom and advice from guest speakers. “Guest speakers are an excellent supplement to the course,” he said. “Mr. Johnson brought out the practical aspect of the field.” Fellow network administration student Daniel Paterson added, “Mr. Johnson was very knowledgeable in this field, and it helps learning the translation from guest speakers. He discussed real work applications and how what we have learned applies outside of class.”

Network administration students Joseph Short (far left), Robert Lively (2nd from right), and Daniel Paterson (far right) enjoyed the insights shared by guest speaker Colt Johnson (2nd from left), owner of LynLINKS Technologies, Inc.

Librarian Takes on New Roles with State Library Association

Librarian Takes on New Roles with State Library Association

Bartlett Campus librarian Willetta Grady was recently elected as the recording secretary for the Board of Directors at the Tennessee Library Association (TLA), which supports librarians throughout the state of Tennessee. Willetta has been actively participating with her professional association for the past year. “It’s important to be active in your professional organizations,” she advised. “It is a way of networking with professionals in your area of expertise; it is a way of building a lifetime career.”

Last year, Willetta attended the TLA’s annual conference in Murfreesboro, where she joined the New Members Roundtable group and just a few weeks later volunteered to fill the role of co-chair. Willetta will also be directly involved with the Board of Directors of TLA this year in her role as recording secretary, where she will be responsible for recording the minutes of each board meeting and posting them to the association’s website.

“I am proud to be able to represent American National University in this special way,” Willetta said. She encourages ANU students and graduates to get involved with the local chapters of professional organizations in their fields of study. “Adding professional involvement to your résumé makes your résumé shine with that special bling,” she advised.

“Every ANU student should consider themselves a professional; they are becoming experts in their fields,” she encouraged. “So, make sure to get involved with the professional organizations. Build your career by networking with the best professionals in your field. And don’t forget to get involved with your campus librarian who is an academic professional.”

Campus librarian Willetta Grady was recently elected as recording secretary for the Board of Directors and was named co-chair of the new members committee for the Tennessee Library Association.

Community Job Seekers Learn of Career-Enhancing Opportunities at ANU

Community Job Seekers Learn of Career-Enhancing Opportunities at ANU

The Martinsville Campus admissions and career center staff attended the May 6 community-wide job fair sponsored by the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce. The event was advertised as the largest chamber job fair in 10 years, with a total of 1550 jobs listed and 40 employers being represented. The admissions staff was pleased to answer questions and share information about American National University with visitors attending the job fair. “They see positions they would like to have, but they may be lacking the skills needed to be considered,” explained director of admissions Barbara Rakes. “I explain that our programs at the Martinsville Campus can help a job seeker gain the skills needed to meet employer needs.”

Admissions representative Kim Myers noted that the job fair was a welcome event to help both job seekers and potential students. “This large of a gathering is positive for the community, the employers, and for American National University,” she commented. “Our programs can assist people here who need training in management, administrative, and medical office fields.” 

Admissions representative Kim Myers spoke with ANU graduate Kim Reyell about the new medical and health services management bachelor's degree program offered at the Martinsville 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.