ANU Students Put Their Skills to the Test During Externships in Local Businesses and Medical Facilities


When Jason Gabbard was in the last term of his IT program at the American National University $$Florence Campus, his externship at KET Broadcasting gave him the opportunity to put his education into action, propelling him into a successful IT career. “I wanted on-the-job experience,” Jason recalled of his time at KET, where his skills were put to the test.

Like many ANU students, Jason found the experiential learning that he received in his externship to be one of the most exciting steps in his program at ANU, as he connected the dots between the skills and information that he gained in his class and the practical application of his knowledge in the workforce. 

[img]After graduating, Jason was hired to work in IT support at Marriot Hotels. “Having that externship on my résumé was one of the reasons I got hired,” he shared.  He went on to advance in his education and his career, earning his bachelor’s degree in information technology from ANU Online, and now works as the network administrator for the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) in Cincinnati, Ohio, an organization serving over 75,000 members who own recreational motorhomes.

After getting established in his position at FMCA, Jason saw an opportunity to give back, and he jumped at the chance to offer an externship to ANU student Jerry Holifield, who was in the last term of his network administration program. “I always felt like I got a pretty good deal when I got my externship,” Jason explained. “So I thought if I could offer something of the same value to someone else, I’m going to do it.”

Jason supervised Jerry as he got the same invaluable hands-on externship experience at FMCA that Jason enjoyed, even assisting him in setting up a call center—work very similar to what Jason performed at KET.  “I like giving back,” Jason said of his time working with Jerry. “I feel like every [ANU IT student] can be where I am.” 

For CaSandra Dyer, a medical assisting graduate from the ANU $$Richmond Campus, an externship at Bluegrass Orthopaedics not only gave her an opportunity to gain in-field experience–she landed a job on the spot. “I was here exactly seven days when they offered me a job,” she recalled.


Externships are required in many of the ANU medical programs, including the medical assisting, surgical technology, and pharmacy technician programs. Paula Beth Ciolek, a 30-year veteran of the medical field, who serves as the director of health science education at the Richmond Campus, feels that they are very beneficial to both the student and the medical practice where they’re placed.

“Externships give students a chance to get experience working in a practice, and they’re also very beneficial because they offer the employer and the student an opportunity to see if they’re a good fit for one another,” Paula Beth stated.

The externship and job opportunity at Bluegrass Orthopaedics seem to be a perfect fit for CaSandra as she notes that she received a promotion to surgical clinical assistant at the practice two months after starting there as a full-time employee.  “I actually enjoy coming to work,” she shared. “It’s something I like to do.”

Photo A- CaSandra Dyer, an ANU medical assisting graduate,  was hired from her externship at Bluegrass Orthopaedics and was promoted to surgical clinical assistant a few months later.

Photo B-Jerry Holifield (left) and Jason Gabbard (right), are pictured at the Family Motor Coach Association’s headquarters where Jason supervised Jerry during his ANU IT program externship.

Translate »