Celebrating Alumni Excellence: Meet our DEAC 2021 Award Nominees and Winners

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Each year, ACHS accepts nominations for the 2021 Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) Outstanding Graduate & Famous Alumni programs. These awards, given through our accrediting commission DEAC, are open to graduates that have gone above and beyond with their studies at ACHS and dedication to the integrative health community.

Each of our nominees is beyond amazing, and we want to highlight them as well as our 2021 winners here in this blog post. This year’s winners will also be featured speakers at the ACHS 2021 Virtual Commencement Ceremony. 

Outstanding Graduate Nominees

Melissa Abbott

Melissa completed the Master of Science in Complementary Alternative Medicine program in 2020.  She also completed graduate certificates in Holistic Nutrition, Wellness Coaching, and Anatomy and Physiology.

After working as a Senior Wellness Coordinator for the past 20 years supporting others in their pursuit of health, fitness, and wellness, an unexpected medical crisis occurred. Melissa had an optical tumor that hemorrhaged and she lost her vision and became blind. 

“I was completely devastated,” Melissa says. “I was asked to resign from my dream job that I loved and thought my career was over. Or was it?” 

Melissa had always dreamed of going to graduate school, and with the help of her aunt, she found and applied to ACHS. “Completing my program in CAM gave me the edge and credibility to go back out into the world and fight for what I believe in; not only for my own healing journey but also for the healthcare needs of others. While working on the completion of my studies at ACHS, I felt a deep resurgence of success once again,” she says.

Tamara Bell

Tamara completed the Certificate in Herbal Studies, Certificate in Holistic Nutrition Consulting, and Certificate in Wellness Consulting in 2019, 2020, and 2021 respectively. She is also currently pursuing the Associate of Applied Science in Complementary Alternative Medicine degree at ACHS.

Tamara is a Master Gardener and educates those who subscribe to her Homestead Facebook page about holistic nutrition, herbal medicine, remedies, and overall holistic wellness.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Tamara realized that she would need to shift away from her nearly 20-year career as a travel agent. “I realized it was time for me to adapt to the ever-changing world and jump out to a place I would have never imagined. I would become an entrepreneur and go into a field that I was a bit unfamiliar with; Life Coaching,” Tamara says. 

“I truly look forward to owning and operating my very first Life Coaching business and I assure you, many of the lessons I have learned at American College of Healthcare Sciences will be put to good use as I work to educate and coach others on living a life of good health and wellness,” she says.

Rachel Schroeder

Rachel earned both the Diploma in Herbal Studies and the Diploma in Aromatherapy from ACHS. She was able to go to school part-time while also supporting her three children.

“I loved every moment of it. I learned more than I could have possibly learned on my own through books and the internet. Plus, I have an ACHS family then and now. I still utilize my dashboard and talk to other students,” she says.

Rachel is a recent graduate and is working on clinical case studies so that she can register with the herbal and aromatherapy governing bodies. Right now, she offers free consultations (donations accepted but not required) to build her case study portfolio and expertise in the field.

Paula Warner

Paula earned the Diploma in Aromatherapy from ACHS in 2020.  She then continued her education in animal aromatherapy through Ashi Aromatics and graduated as an Animal Aromatherapy Practitioner to expand her knowledge base.

In March 2021, Paula published one article and a case study in the Alliance of International Aromatherapists’ (AIA) Spring Journal in a special issue dedicated to animal aromatherapy. Among other accomplishments, she will also be speaking on animal aromatherapy in the June monthly webinar for AIA.

“I am always recommending ACHS to people who want to learn more about all holistic health practices. Lack of knowledge could and has caused unnecessary side effects in those who use or offer them. It is an excellent college with fantastic staff and fantastic program offerings,” Paula says.

Famous Alumni Nominee

Gemma Nastasi

Gemma received her Certificate in Holistic Nutrition from ACHS in 2012. She says that the certification was vital as a stepping-stone to create her business, Gemma Health Coach, LLC, and establishing her as a health coach in her area.

“Shortly after opening my office, I used my knowledge and passion for healthy living to educate the public through volunteer workshops for the community. I quickly became the wellness expert and was able to help many people,” Gemma says.

“I am grateful for my achievements and successes and credit the American College of Healthcare Sciences for an online certification course which was the seed that I cultivated to help others attain wellness,” she says.

Announcing our DEAC 2021 Winners!

Outstanding Graduate: Cindy Ross

Cindy received the Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition degree from ACHS in 2020. 

The Master’s program opened an entirely new world for Cindy, providing the necessary tools for her to be professionally recognized in the Functional Medicine community.

She now holds multiple board certifications and her private practice, Life Wellness Forever, is thriving. Through Life Wellness Forever, Cindy is able to practice Functional Medicine and is currently helping patients all over the country achieve a better quality of life.

Read more about Cindy in our press release here.

Famous Alumni: Brittany Sena

Brittany received the Diploma in Holistic Health Practice from ACHS in 2020.

Brittany has made a positive impact in her community and surrounding cities by supporting many clients through Holistic Health. Without doing any advertising, her business has remained steady through word of mouth.

She says that others see her clients’ results and are amazed by their outcome — making her the “go-to person.” She not only uses Holistic Health but goes a little deeper and views everything through a Functional Medicine perspective to better help her clients achieve true health.

Learn more about Brittany in our press release here.

We want to thank all of our incredible nominees for applying, and we are excited for our winners to speak at the upcoming graduation ceremony on June 18th. 

Earn an Accredited Online Degree. Click here to learn more.

About American College of Healthcare Sciences

American College founded in 1978, is a fully online accredited institute of higher education specializing in holistic health. Based in Portland, OR; our goal is to make research-driven and science-based holistic health education taught by industry-leading experts accessible to anyone anywhere while still giving students a hands-on experiential learning experience like a traditional college and a strong sense of community, school pride and student bond.

This commitment to our students and graduates reflects in our current survey results that reflect 98% of our students would recommend ACHS to a friend or family member.

We believe education is the most powerful tool for changing an individual and the world around us.

When a person enrolls as ACHS, it is vitally important that they graduate with tools they need to forge their own holistic and sustainable missions, build up their communities confidently, and changing the face of healthcare with knowledge.

10 Responses

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    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the blog! At this time, ACHS is only accepting guest posts from students and alumni.

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