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June 29, 2015


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SPOTLIGHT ON SUCCESS

HIM Graduate Quickly Advances in Her Career

HIM Graduate Quickly Advances in Her Career

After graduating from the health information management (HIM) program at the Bartlett Campus in 2011, Nikki Stafford has quickly advanced in her career with United Health Systems, moving from extern, to medical records clerk, to director of medical records at Lakeside Behavioral Health.

Nikki first visited Lakeside Behavioral Health during a class field trip to the facility. She inquired about externship opportunities during the visit, and she was accepted there as an extern a short time later. “It’s been a whirlwind,” Nikki said. “I started here as an extern, and I was right back here two years later as the director. It seems like everything just fell into place.” 

“The basic knowledge that they give you [at ANU] really sets you up for success.”

She feels that the externship that HIM students participate in at ANU is a vital learning experience, putting the knowledge that they gain in the classroom to work in a medical facility. “The basic knowledge that they give you [at ANU] really sets you up for success,” she stated. “And then, if you use your externship to get hands-on experience, that’s even better.”

Nikki’s successful career was recently acknowledged by ANU when she was selected to receive the Alumni Hall of Achievement Award during the Bartlett Campus’s commencement ceremony. Today, she has several ANU graduates working under her, and she feels that it’s important to accept externs from ANU as often as possible. “I love taking on externs. I teach them every aspect I can possibly teach them,” she explained. “It gives me an opportunity to give back.”

A- Nikki Stafford graduated from the Bartlett Campus in 2011 and has advanced to become director of medical records at Lakeside Behavioral Health after starting there as an extern during her HIM program.

B- Career center director Sammie Hawkins (left) presented Nikki with the Alumni Hall of Achievement Award.

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FLORENCE
Surgical Technology Grad Advances in Her Career at the Heart of the OR

Surgical Technology Grad Advances in Her Career at the Heart of the OR

After graduating from the surgical technology program at the Florence Campus in 2010, Elizabeth Arole has built a successful career working on cardiac surgical teams, first as a certified surgical technologist (CST), then as a certified surgical first assist (CSFA), and today as a registered nurse (RN) on the cardiac team in the operating room at TriHealth’s Good Samaritan Hospital.

In the OR, Elizabeth has a passion for her patients and for the aseptic technique that she learned in her surgical technology program that ensures their safety. “It’s the hardest job in the OR. You have to be ready to go, and you have to be on point, [because] the doctor—he’s leaning on you a little bit,” she said of her work.

Elizabeth feels that the quality of the surgical technology program at ANU, combined with her hard work and fascination with the human heart, set her up for the career success that she’s enjoyed. “ANU puts out a really great program,” she said. “I had some very great teachers, and I left with a career laid out in front of me and all the tools to get where I am today.”

“ANU puts out a really great program; I left with a career laid out in front of me and all the tools to get where I am today.”

Her clinical rotations in local hospitals were also important to her career, providing her with hands-on experience in the OR and helping her to land her first job in the field when she was hired by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital during her externship. 

Elizabeth serves as the secretary of the Kentucky State Assembly of the Association of Surgical Technologists where she helps to advocate for certification in the field. It was through her connections with other AST members that she learned more about becoming a certified surgical first assist (CSFA).  “After four years with the Children’s hearts [team], I wanted to do more, because I’m never satisfied,” she recalled of her decision to become a CSFA, and her move to Mercy Health’s Anderson Hospital.

Taking her education one step further yet again, Elizabeth recently earned her degree in nursing at Cincinnati State University, became licensed as an RN, and has been hired to work on the cardiac team at Good Samaritan. “I like patient care, so in order to follow that patient from the OR table to their bed, that’s why I went into nursing,” she explained, adding that her goal is to eventually become a nurse practitioner or physician assistant. “I think when you’re satisfied and you get comfortable, that’s where you’re going to stay. I’ve not found my comfort level as far as education goes yet.”

A- Elizabeth Arole (right) is pictured with surgical technology program director April Anderson in the simulated operating room at the Florence Campus.

B- Since graduating from American National University in 2010, Elizabeth Arole has advanced in her career to work as a certified surgical technologist, a certified surgical first assist, and a registered nurse on cardiac teams in the operating room.


CINCINNATI
Commencement Speaker Asks Graduates, “What is Your Tomorrow?”

Commencement Speaker Asks Graduates, “What is Your Tomorrow?”

Excitement was in the air when the family and friends of the Cincinnati Campus Class of 2015 gathered at the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal on June 13 to watch as their loved ones accepted their diplomas during the annual commencement ceremony.

“You think when you're older you're not going to make it, but you know what—I made it; I got a degree.”

Commencement speaker Ron Morris delivered inspiring words to the graduates and their guests as he told his own story of being adopted at the age of three by a lady with a third grade education and rising to build a very successful career in police administration.

“I am still enriching my career and working on my tomorrow,” explained Mr. Morris as he encouraged the graduates to do the same. “Define success for yourself and never stop working on your tomorrow.”

Following Mr. Morris’s inspirational message, several outstanding graduates were recognized with awards: Mahogany Gray—Achievement Award; Autumn Hoyt—Leadership Award; Keasha Brown and Briauna Webster—E. M. Coulter Award; John Kirk—Mary P. McGurn Award; Edward Thomas—Joseph E. Hurn Award; and Stacie Owens—M. A. Smythe Award. 

Shauntel Dobbins, a 2013 graduate of the business administration-management program, was also presented with the Alumni Hall of Achievement Award during the ceremony. You can read more about her career here: http://bit.ly/1GOKk7P.

Stacie Owens, the recipient of the M. A. Smythe Award, shared that she began her education at the Parkersburg Campus, and then transferred to the Cincinnati Campus when she relocated back to the area. She feels that her future is bright after earning her degree in the information systems engineering program at ANU. “I’m on my way,” she said proudly. “You think when you’re older you’re not going to make it, but you know what—I made it, I got a degree.”

A- The Cincinnati Campus Class of 2015.

B- Information systems engineering graduate Stacie Owens (left) was the recipient of the M. A. Smythe Award for academic achievements.


ROANOKE VALLEY
Former Locksmith Learns the Key to Securing a Computer Network

Former Locksmith Learns the Key to Securing a Computer Network

Imagine an immense building with hundreds of doors, each with a lock and key. Imagine that the owner of the building wants some people to have access to every door, some people to access only their own office spaces, and still other sets of people to access all the doors on the second floor which have the letter “A” in their office designation. Now imagine being tasked to design the locks and the keys to control all this access!

Having been a locksmith since 1969, designing locks and key systems was Michael Kirkpatrick’s job before he enrolled as a student at American National University’s Roanoke Valley Campus. As it turns out, years as a locksmith happened to be great preparation for learning to manage a computer network where data on hard drives is accessed by some, but not all, and where the security of the information is supremely important.

Michael’s trajectory from the military to the private sector and back to school is not all that unusual except, perhaps, for the length of time he successfully operated his own business—more than 30 years. In fact, his introduction to locksmithing came in the form of a correspondence course he took while enlisted in the U. S. Air Force; he was stationed on a radar picket near an extinct volcano in the Artic and had some time on his hands. After making good use of his correspondence training with his locksmithing business, Michael returned to the Roanoke area in 2007 and began to notice the increasing interaction between physical locks and information technology. Could cracking a network’s security be as easy as cracking a safe?

“I felt that all he needed was an opportunity to demonstrate his capability in a real work environment.”

The appeal of securing a network grew on him, so he enrolled at the Roanoke Valley Campus to earn an associate’s degree in the information technology field. Along the way to his degree, Michael was awarded a needs-based scholarship by the Roanoke-based Kitas and Lutsko Family Foundation. Foundation principle Ed Kitas was so impressed with Michael that he helped develop an internship program especially tailored for him.

“It was clear to me that Michael had substantial skills, a wealth of experience, and a strong work ethic, and I felt that all he needed was an opportunity to demonstrate his capability in a real work environment,” explained Mr. Kitas. “A structured, low risk internship seemed to be an ideal solution for Michael’s situation, and fortunately, a local business that was willing to participate in the internship program was identified. It was no surprise to anyone involved that Michael exceeded all expectations while participating in the internship program.”

Not too long after that internship ended, Michael landed a job as a contractor for Advance Auto, where he remains employed. With his associate’s degree in hand, Michael immediately reenrolled at ANU to earn his bachelor’s degree. Knowing that any physical lock can be defeated, Michael’s approach to managing a computer network is especially tenacious. With the expert training from ANU in his tool belt, he will be well-positioned to allow access to those who need it, while keeping others at bay.

Michael Kirkpatrick transitioned 30 years of experience as a locksmith into a new career securing computer networks.


PARKERSBURG
Graduates Hear Words of Encouragement from Two Government Officials

Graduates Hear Words of Encouragement from Two Government Officials

On May 14, graduates of the Parkersburg Campus were joined by family and friends during the commencement ceremony held at the Parkersburg Art Center to celebrate achieving such a wonderful milestone in their lives.

The campus was honored to have Judge Donna Jackson of the Western Regional Drug Court serve as the commencement speaker. Judge Jackson has been a life-long resident of Parkersburg and told the graduates that their journey is like a running a marathon – you can’t lead by looking over your shoulder. “Be prepared to run, to face obstacles and overcome them,” she explained. She also said that their testimony might be the one thing someone else needs to hear to change their life.

Another special guest was in attendance that evening. Chris Childs, who is the Regional Coordinator for Senator Joe Manchin’s office, spoke to the graduates as a representative for Senator Manchin. “Senator Manchin sends his congratulations and knows that education is important. He challenges you all to stay in West Virginia, and make a positive impact on our community,” Mr. Childs shared with the graduates.

“Be prepared to run, to face obstacles and overcome them.”

During the ceremony, several graduates were presented with awards for their exemplary hard work: Kayla N. Davis – Achievement Award; Amy B. Lamp – Leadership Award; Autumn Nicole Roach – E. M. Coulter Award; Mark D. Blouir – Joseph E. Hurn Award; Richard Craig Robinson – M. A. Smythe Award; Karen C. Stump – Dorothy Coulter Hancock Award; and Angela Dawn Rhodes – Mary P. McGurn Award.

Graduate Ashley Theobold, who received her associate’s degree in medical assisting, in addition to her medical office specialist diploma, shared that “the instructors and classmates are like a second family to me, and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at American National University.”

A- The Parkersburg Campus Class of 2015

B- Commencement speaker Judge Donna Jackson told the graduates that their journey is like a running a marathon.


COLUMBUS
Community Service Project Inspires Students

Community Service Project Inspires Students

Students, graduates, faculty, and staff of the Columbus Campus recently spent a Wednesday evening at Manna Café, helping to serve a meal to homeless men, women, and children of the Columbus area.

The participating ANU students found the community service project to be a humbling experience, as they helped with preparing and serving the meal, setting tables, and cleaning up the dining area. “I love the act of service,” said student Teshena Ackerman. “You feel like you’re making a difference, and you feel very grateful for the things that you have in your life.”

“You feel like you're making a difference, and you feel very grateful for the things that you have in your life.”

This experience has been a great benefit to the students, as well as to the people they have helped. Not only are they reaching out to members of the community who happen to be less fortunate than they are, but they are engaging in career development. By donating their time to help the citizens of Columbus at Manna Café, the students are gaining experience in community service. Many employers like to see that candidates for their positions engage in various forms of charitable work outside of their employment. Therefore, ANU students who volunteer their time are building their résumés, as well as helping build up their community.

(Left to right) Director of health science education Josh Keslar, career center director Penny Coons, and student Teshena Ackerman recently participated in a community service project to help the homeless.


YOUNGSTOWN
Forty-two Graduates Celebrate Important Milestone

Forty-two Graduates Celebrate Important Milestone

The Youngstown Campus’s 2015 commencement ceremony was held on Thursday, May 21 in the Powers Auditorium’s Ford Hall, with 42 graduates celebrating their accomplishments.

The commencement speaker for the evening was Michael Lyons, who is the Christian Education Director at New Bethel Baptist Church and serves as a faculty member at the Youngstown Campus. He congratulated the graduates on their success and wished them luck on their future endeavors.

The applause was loud, and the cheers even louder when the graduates received their diplomas. Several exemplary graduates were presented with awards for academic achievements: Ayat Salman – Joseph E. Hurn Award; William H. Fain, Jr. – Leadership Award; Max L. Case, Jr. and Debbie Carter – M. A. Smythe Award.

“I really enjoyed the small class sizes, focus on the students, […] and the care that the instructors have for their students.”

Ayat Salman just relocated to the United States three years ago and enrolled at the Youngstown Campus a year ago. She graduated with her associate’s degree in business administration-management. “I really enjoyed the small class sizes, focus on the students, especially with English being my second language, and the care that the instructors have for their students,” Ayat stated.

A- Ayat Salman (3rd from left) graduated with her associate’s degree in business administration-management and was the recipient of the Joseph E. Hurn Award for academic achievement.

B- The Youngstown Campus Class of 2015


LEXINGTON
Film Sound Effects and Music Scores Are Student’s Passions

Film Sound Effects and Music Scores Are Student’s Passions

Experts in the film profession agree – great movie scores and sound effects are some of the most subtle, but vital aspects of a movie’s success. These audio elements are the very passion which brought Anthony Neer to American National University’s Lexington Campus, where he has enrolled in the multimedia production program.

“I’ve had a passion for the audio side of film my entire life. I don’t watch movies; I study them - their music, sound quality, sound effects,” he explained. “Movie goers may be vaguely aware of these vital elements, but they are essential to a film’s success. Your audience has to be captivated, moved, and be emotionally involved. All emotions come from the music, sound, and sound effects. This is the industry segment I love.”

Through the multimedia production program at the Lexington Campus, Anthony has found a way to turn his lifelong passion into a career. “I attended two other colleges, but it just didn’t work out,” Anthony explained of his path to ANU. “After some research, I found American National’s multimedia production program, and I knew I had found what I needed.”

“I’ve had a passion for the audio side of film my entire life. I don’t watch movies; I study them.”

After earning his degree next year, Anthony plans to return to ANU for his degree in business management. “I want my open my own audio studio, similar to ‘Industrial Light and Magic’ in Hollywood,” he happily stated. “I want to produce industry-leading music, sound effects, and audio for the film industry!”

Through the multimedia production program at the Lexington Campus, student Anthony Neer has found a way to turn his lifelong passion into a career in film audio.


DAYTON AREA
Judge Passes along Words of Wisdom with a Dose of Humor

Judge Passes along Words of Wisdom with a Dose of Humor

On Friday, May 8, the Dayton Area Campus celebrated their commencement ceremony at Christ United Methodist Church of Kettering. The campus was honored to have the Honorable Judge Walter Herbert Rice serve as the commencement speaker.

“Maintain a healthy skepticism, question conventional wisdom, and challenge the way things have always been done.”

Judge Rice’s address was inspirational while also providing moments of comic relief. “Make no mistake there will be plenty of clichés in this speech, but I will warn you before using one,” he joked. Among the valuable pieces of advice Judge Rice offered the graduates was the encouragement “to maintain a healthy skepticism, question conventional wisdom, and challenge the way things have always been done.”

After Judge Rice’s address, academic awards were presented to the following graduates: Steven W. Hines and Rita C. Shaw – Achievement Award; Gretchen Eslick – Leadership Award; Rhonda L. Hall and Patricia A. Himes-Stevens – E. M. Coulter Award; Debora S. Parslow – Mary P. McGurn Award; Emily K. Ruxer and Saudia K. Williams – Joseph E. Hurn Award; Walter E. Smith – M. A. Smythe Award; and Waver Ann Jewett – Alumni Hall of Achievement Award. 

Congratulations to all the graduates and award recipients, and best of luck on your future endeavors!

A- The Honorable Judge Walter Herbert Rice delivered a commencement speech that was inspirational, with a touch of humor.

B- The Dayton Area Campus Class of 2015


DANVILLE, KENTUCKY
Leadership Award Recipient Returns to ANU to Continue His Education

Leadership Award Recipient Returns to ANU to Continue His Education

Josh Parsons, a graduate of the business administration-management and accounting programs at the Danville, Kentucky Campus, was recently selected to receive the Leadership Award during the campus’s commencement ceremony held in May.

When he first enrolled at American National University, Josh, a U.S. Army veteran, was concerned about reintegrating into civilian life. However, he quickly proved himself to be a model student, serving as a federal work study student and tutor at the campus and graduating with high honors from his business administration-management and accounting programs.

Not one to rest on his laurels, Josh has reenrolled at ANU to continue his education in the medical assisting program. “I wanted to open up more job opportunities,” he explained.

“[I feel] accomplished. I've got something to look forward to in the future.”

With several terms yet to go in his program, a local medical clinic recently took notice of Josh’s business knowledge and medical skills, and he has been hired as a medical assistant. “I’ve already been hired on to a position in a medical facility,” he said proudly. “[I feel] accomplished. I’ve got something to look forward to in the future.”

You can read more about Josh’s transition from the U.S. Army to life as an ANU student here:  http://bit.ly/1IinAiZ.

A- U.S. Army veteran Josh Parsons, pictured with his wife and son, received the Leadership Award at the Danville, Kentucky Campus commencement ceremony.

B- Josh, who earned a degree with a double major in business administration-management and accounting at ANU, has returned to the Danville, Kentucky Campus to continue his education in the medical assisting program.


AKRON AREA
Cari Gallagher – Director of Surgical Technology – Difference Maker

Cari Gallagher – Director of Surgical Technology – Difference Maker

Difference Maker Cari Gallagher is the director of surgical technology at American National University’s Akron Area Campus. She has 10 years of operating room experience under her belt and understands what it is like to go back to school for further education, having graduated from Ashford University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in organizational management in 2011.

“After working as a CST (Certified Surgical Technologist) at St. Elizabeth Hospital for 10 years, I decided that I needed a career change and ANU opened a door for me to do just that. I was a preceptor for American National University students while working as a CST and was amazed at how knowledgeable they were. After investigating the program, I was impressed to learn of the clinical aspect [of the American National University surgical technology program] and how [students] have to complete and pass a clinical readiness exam before they can enter into their externship.”

“The greatest feeling is knowing that our combined efforts and dedication throughout the program have prepared [our graduates] to excel at their profession as a surgical technologist.”

“The students here are very dedicated in their studies. They are very determined and adaptive when they enter the lab and, in turn, show enthusiasm and humility when entering their externship.”

“After I had received the confirmation email announcing that all of my graduates from [the second fall term] had passed their CST exam, I screamed so loud the entire campus heard me, and I immediately got on the phone to inform them. The greatest feeling is knowing that our combined efforts and dedication throughout the program have prepared [our graduates] to excel at their profession as a surgical technologist.”


RICHMOND
Entrepreneur Comes to ANU to Develop his Business Skills

Entrepreneur Comes to ANU to Develop his Business Skills

When Jerry Ferrell wanted to take his business, Madison Carpet Care and Restoration, to the next level, he enrolled in the business administration-management program at the Richmond Campus to gain the business skills that he needed to help him achieve his goals. 

“I needed to continue my education in order to run the business the way I wanted to run it and depend less on outside help,” he explained. “[I wanted] to know more about business and how business works.”

“I needed to continue my education in order to run the business the way I wanted to run it and depend less on outside help.”

After recently graduating with his degree, Jerry finds the skills that he gained in class to be very applicable to the day-to-day operations of his company.

“The accounting software [that I learned to use in class], we’ll run that from here on out. We can track our customers and track our progress and get more leads,” he stated. “There’s just a lot more information that we can gather now, and [we can] process that information in-house. It’s been a lot of help.”

Business owner Jerry Ferrell enrolled at American National University to gain the skills that he needed to take his company to the next level.


LOUISVILLE
ANU Grads and Faculty Volunteer as Judges for SkillsUSA Competition

ANU Grads and Faculty Volunteer as Judges for SkillsUSA Competition

The Louisville Campus’s director of health science education, Bonnie Kiefer, and graduates Ebonee Hood and Davida Burns-Shirts recently volunteered as judges for the medical assisting competition that was held as part of the SkillsUSA Championships.

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers, and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce.  During the championship, which was held as part of the SkillsUSA National Conference, more than 6,000 students from across America competed in 100 hands-on, occupationally-related skill and leadership contests. 

As judges in the medical assisting program, Bonnie evaluated students at the drug administration station, while Ebonee worked the CPR station, and Davida worked with students at the medical coding station.

“I like this field of work, and I like seeing the younger people come into the medical field.”

Davida, who became certified as a registered medical assistant (RMA) during her program at American National University, said that she was impressed with the students’ skills. She was happy to assist as a judge to help encourage the students’ interest in pursuing a career in health care. “I like this field of work, and I like seeing the younger people come into the medical field,” she said.

A- (Left to right) Graduate Ebonee Hood, director of health science education Bonnie Kiefer, and graduate Davida Burns-Shirts recently volunteered as judges for the medical assisting competition during the SkillsUSA Championships, which were held in Louisville.

B- Louisville Campus graduate Ebonee Hood is shown evaluating a student at the CPR station of the medical assisting competition while working as a judge during the SkillsUSA Championships.


KNOXVILLE
Medical Assisting Was a Clear Path for Mother Daughter Duo

Medical Assisting Was a Clear Path for Mother Daughter Duo

In just a few short weeks, Knoxville Campus medical assisting student Crystal Muncey will be graduating, and her daughter Kayla will then be half way to her own graduation from the same medical assisting program. Crystal has been a volunteer rescuer and firefighter for over ten years and has had a strong influence on her daughter, who also volunteered for the fire department. 

“It was just a great fit for us,” Crystal explained of their decision to enroll at National College. “I looked into other programs in Knoxville, but the small class sizes [at National] really got my attention. The teachers have been very supportive and make it fun to learn. The staff is also very encouraging because they’re always asking me how things are going.” 

Kayla shares her mother’s feelings about National, saying, “The teachers make themselves available to work with you and to make sure that you understand the information.”

“The teachers make themselves available to work with you and to make sure that you understand the information.”

Crystal’s career goal is to become a registered medical assistant and to work in an emergency room, where she can still practice her trauma care but to a greater extent in a clinical rather than a road-side setting. Daughter Kayla plans to continue her education after graduating from National College by also becoming certified in phlebotomy.

“Do what you love because it’s never too late,” they advise.

Kayla Muncey (left) and her mother, Crystal Muncey, learn together as students in the medical assisting program.


 
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.