The Power of Education

Cynthia Adams’ Story with ANU

In 2013, Cynthia Adams graduated from American National University, known as National Business College when she attended, with a degree in Medical Assisting Education has always been a cornerstone for Cynthia and her family as she credits feeling the spirit of her father, who was an educator himself, to being the push for her to earn her associate degree. When she saw an advertisement for National Business College in her local paper, Cynthia went to campus and began the admissions process. As quickly as she went in, she was enrolled. Now, Cynthia credits her degree for the success she has found in her career – and is returning to earn her bachelor’s degree to achieve even more.

When she found us, Cynthia was reading through her local newspaper. The striking purple of our school colors stood out to her – and she called the number on the page to learn more. She was able to go in that very same day and enroll. “I just said I’m going back to school. I was looking at the paper and I saw that, and I called… It wasn’t like I planned it!” And she started as soon as possible with how quickly National was able to get her through the doors. She explains. Cynthia always knew she wanted to be in the medical field, but she didn’t want to be a doctor. She found our medical assisting program to be the perfect start to the career she was looking for – “you learn a lot about [the medical field]!” She recalls.

“A lot of my friends [from the program] are now nurses, one of my friends, she’s going on to be a doctor. And she started at National Business College!”

Upon reflection of her time at National, Cynthia instantly recalls the feeling of how her professors treated her during her time in her program. The professors during her education left such an impact on her that it moved her to tears to recall them. “Ms. Williams, may she rest in peace,” she begins, before stopping to collect herself, “she was my academic advisor, and she was also head of the medical assistant program… she even developed a relationship with my mom. Where, if my mom didn’t hear from me, my mom would call her!” She smiles at that memory. “She was so loving, so kind, and so encouraging. And I had trouble with the phlebotomy part of the class, and she literally taught me on an orange,” she pauses again. “She told me I could do it. And she went the extra mile, because I’m a perfectionist, I didn’t want a B, I wanted the A – and she tutored me day in and day out so I could get that A,” this memory moves her to tears, emotion clouding her voice.

Cynthia goes on to talk about when she was nominated for the E.M Coulter Award, an award presented at graduation for high academic achievement to graduates of Nursing, Emergency Medical Technology – Health Information Management, Medical Assisting, Medical Billing and Coding, Pharmacy Technician, and Phlebotomy programs. She explains that many instructors of her that nominated her for the award, her emotions getting the best of her during her explanation. Cynthia then goes on to name every instructor or faculty member that had a profound impact on her – Ms. Ackerson, Ms. Cather, Mr. George, as she names them.

She tearfully, with a smile, recalls interacting with ANU president, Frank Longaker, and how he shook her hand, “he said, ‘I don’t have many students like you. And I just want you to know I feel honored to have you in my college.”

Along with that, she emphasizes how she was treated like a person at National, not like a number or a face to lose in the crowd. “I wasn’t seen as this girl from New York, I wasn’t seen as this black girl, I wasn’t seen as this underprivileged black girl trying to do something with her life. It was personable – I just didn’t feel like whatever society deemed me as [at National]. And that gave me the courage to keep going… And whenever I felt like I couldn’t, the people that I named, including Mr. Longaker, gave me the push to keep going.”

Cynthia has no plans of stopping her educational pursuits.

“ANU, National Business College, is the reason I have excelled in my career as I have. Literally. And I mean literally!”

She explains, bright smile on her face. Because of that success, she is returning to ANU to earn her bachelor’s degree. And coming back to ANU was no brainer, “going back to American National University – I’m just going home.” After she earns her bachelor’s, she’d like to earn her master’s, even her doctorate if she can.

Her advice for students just beginning their higher education journey: “Be mindful of the people you surround yourself with. Try to be organized and determined and disciplined. Do it for yourself… at the end of the day, have fun with it!”

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