Have you welcomed someone new to your department lately? Make sure to fill out the form so an announcement can be run in the next addition of Coffee Break.
Sam Ferguson ’97, Averett’s former director of athletics, and most recently, executive director of the law firm of Clement & Wheatley, has rejoined Averett as our new Director of Annual Giving.
Sam’s first day will be February 28th. Please give him a warm Averett welcome when you see him!
Julian Oliver '10 has accepted the student financial services counselor position for the Graduate and Professional Studies Program. Be sure to welcome Julian to this new role at Averett.
Chris Roberts, who joined the IT department as our new systems administrator Jan. 14. He comes to us from Birmingham, Ala. where he worked as an IT specialist at Corporate America Credit Union for the past five years. His office is located in Danville 103. Welcome, Chris!
Kara Hankins '12, who joins the student financial services office as the new student financial services counselor for transfer students. Kara's office is in Averett Central, room 121. Welcome, Kara!
Margaret "Peggy" Parrish, who joins us as a visiting instructor in the business administration department for the spring semester. Peggy has worked in the corporate arena and higher education, most recently as associate campus dean at Strayer University in Midlothian.
In the past she has held positions at the Virginia Employment Commission and the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. She earned her undergraduate degree at Sweet Briar College, her MBA at the University of Pittsburgh, and her J.D. from George Mason University School of Law.
Jason Ferrell who joins the Aramark family as the North Campus grounds supervisor. Jason is a graduate of Virginia Tech where he majored in turf management.
"Jason's knowledge of turf management will enhance our grounds program," said Alonzo Jones, director of facilities. "We ask you to join us in welcoming Jason to campus."
Have you welcomed someone new to your department lately? Make sure to fill out the submission form so an announcement can be run in the next addition of Coffee Break.
Pam Paynter, who joins the business office as the staff accountant - payroll and benefits. Pam comes to us from Halifax Regional Hospital in South Boston where she worked as payroll coordinator for 15 years. She and her husband, Tommy, live in South Boston. They have three children, three grandchildren and two step-grandchildren.
Pam Paynter joins the business office as the staff accountant - payroll and benefits. Pam comes to us from Halifax Regional Hospital in South Boston where she worked as payroll coordinator for 15 years. She and her husband, Tommy, live in South Boston. They have three children, three grandchildren and two step-grandchildren.
Chris Akers, the new men's and women's head tennis coach. Prior to joining Averett, Chris served as the boys' tennis coach at George Washington (GW) High School from 2005-12. He guided his 2010 Eagles squad to a 14-2 record and the program's first district title since 1986, and his teams made consecutive regional tournament appearances in 2010 and 2011.
Chris has also served as GW's assistant varsity football coach since 2004 and the junior varsity head coach since 2006. He also had a stint as the GW freshmen boys' basketball coach from 2004-08.
A native of Bluefield, he earned his bachelor's degree from Radford University in 2004. He teaches physical education at Westwood Middle School in Danville. Welcome, Chris!
Ashley Jackson '11, who joins the admissions office as a counselor for students from Florida, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts as well as multiple cities and counties in Virginia.
Ashley graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism and political science. When she was a student she served as a resident assistant in Main Hall, was the editor-in-chief for The Chanticleer. Prior to joining the admissions office, she worked as a news reporter for the Martinsville Bulletin.
In her spare time, Ashley enjoys singing, playing the guitar and piano, as well as hunting, hiking and fishing. She is a native of Axton and now resides in Martinsville. Welcome, Ashley!
Travis Dix, who joined the IA team as the University's new webmaster. Travis, a native of Danville, comes to us from Danville Community College, where he served as an IT specialist for the last five years. Since 2004, Travis has also been a freelance web designer, helping companies from as far away as Arizona, Wisconsin and Florida. He graduated cum laude from Danville Community College in 1997 with an associate degree in computer information systems.
Stephen Stone, who joins the IT department as systems and security analyst. Stephen comes to us from Montreat College, where he completed a bachelor of science degree in computer information systems and served as a student worker in the IT Department. Stephen also completed his internship at Montreat, where he was in charge of the installation of a campus-wide wireless infrastructure. In addition, he has earned certifications in A+ and Security+. Stephen is already impacting our community by improving Internet and wireless access on the Main Campus.
The office of institutional advancement is pleased to announce that Edward "Ed" Jones will be joining their team as the new director of marketing and communication in September. Ed received his bachelor of arts degree in English literature from Davidson College. Before becoming director of marketing at Belmont Abbey College, he was a writer and associate creative director at Loeffler Ketchum Mountjoy, an advertising agency in Charlotte, N.C. During his advertising career, Ed won more than 350 local, regional and national awards for creativity, including two Clio Awards.
During his five-year tenure at Belmont Abbey, the college set new records for applications every year, total enrollment increased by 28 percent and the advertising and public relations campaigns Ed's team produced garnered significant national recognition for the Abbey.
Ed is married to Ann Arey Jones, who grew up in Danville, and they have two children: Christopher, 25, who works on Capitol Hill as a legislative assistant for Congressman Rick Crawford (R-Ark.); and Patrick, 22, who is an up-and-coming actor in New York City.
John Parkin graduated from Averett with a bachelor of science in sociology concentrating in criminal justice in 2010. Since graduation, he has been living and working in Daytona Beach, Fla. where he attended Phoenix East Aviation and earned his Aircraft Dispatcher License. John is excited for the opportunity to give back to residence life and the Averett University community. While an undergrad at AU, John served residence life for three years as a resident assistant and was an active member of the international student organization on campus. John will be pursuing his MBA while serving residence life as a hall director for the Mt. View Apartments.
Residence Life Welcomes two new Graduate Hall Directors to its staff:
Joel Simpson graduated from Averett with a bachelor of science in aviation management: flight operations in 2011. Last year he served the University as a flight instructor. While an undergrad at AU, Joel served residence life for three years as a resident assistant, and was an active member of the international student organization on campus. Joel is celebrating a recent engagement to Michelle Sposato, who is completing her M.Ed. at James Madison University. Joel will be pursuing his MBA while serving residence life as a hall director for the Main Building Complex.
As an alumna, Sherri Garrett '91 is no stranger to Averett and now she's back, not just as a lab assistant in the nursing program but as a student in the program as well. Sherri was born and raised in Danville and pursued a degree in English/journalism-communications because she wanted to pursue a career in television. It's such a competitive field and as someone more timid she found it difficult.
She returned to school and graduated from DRMC's School of Nursing in 1998, finding her niche in pediatrics. "I love children and I love seeing them get well," Sherri said. "It was a perfect fit for me."
Sherri has been happily married to Jack Garrett '79 for nearly 19 years and they have three children.
Other new faces you may have seen around campus include:
Patrick Bolen '08, defensive assistant coach for the football team
Johanna Bradford, assistant tennis coach for the women's tennis team
Justin Cozart '12, flight instructor
Tony Harris '11, IT Technician
Heather Merchant, corporate education liaison, GPS, Danville
Thomas Underwood '08, assistant athletic trainer
Travis Wireman '11, flight instructor
J.D. Tyree is the tight end coach for the football team. A native of Martinsville, Tyree graduated from Columbia University where he played two seasons of football before his collegiate career was cut short due to injury. Prior to joining Averett he coached two summers at Magna Vista High School.
Sara Porter is the new assistant volleyball coach. A native of Toledo, Ohio, she played four seasons at Defiance College from 2007-2010. An outside hitter, Sara played in 429 sets over 118 matches and averaged 2.23 kills and 3.17 digs per set. She earned Heartland Collegiate Athletic All-Conference Honorable Mention honors in 2009 and was named to the conference all-tournament team the same season. She graduated in 2011 with a bachelor's degree in wellness and corporate fitness.
Dr. George Odongo joins Averett as assistant professor of special education. A native of Kenya, George comes most recently from Texas Tech University, where he earned his doctor of education in special education. While at Texas Tech, he taught a host of courses, from introduction to educational research to human development in education. He has presented papers at conferences across the United States, and is currently a member of the American Council on Rural Special Education and the American Association of the Deaf-Blind.
Karen Oaks, clinical assistant professor in nurse education, previously taught at Danville Regional Medical Center's School of Health Professions since 2007 as a nursing instructor. Prior to becoming a nurse educator, Karen worked as a staff nurse at DRMC. She earned her master of science in nursing degree from Old Dominion University, and currently is working on a family nurse practitioner post-master's certificate through East Tennessee State University.
Dana Nelson is the manager for the Schoolfield House Booksellers. Born and raised in Pittsylvania County, she has worked with trade books for Barnes & Noble (B. Dalton Booksellers) for 14 years before coming to Averett. She has been the textbook coordinator at Averett since April 2010.
Glenn Mungcal joins the GPS Program's advising team in the Tidewater Region. No stranger to Averett, Glenn previously worked with the program in Tidewater nearly four years ago. He returns to the family now that his wife has finished her graduate studies in pharmacology in Nevada. While in Nevada, he served as an adult literacy instructor of the College of Southern Nevada.
Brad Lopez is the new running back coach for the football team. A native of Axton, Brad coached high school football, most recently at George Washington High School, for 23 years before joining Averett. While at GW he served as the assistant head coach and passing coordinator. He graduated from West Virginia University with a bachelor of science degree in secondary education.
Dr. Ralph Hawkins joins Averett as an associate professor in the religion department. Ralph comes to Averett from Kentucky Christian University, where he served as assistant professor of Biblical studies. His areas of expertise include Old Testament, near Eastern archaeology and the history and religion of Mesopotamia. He has authored numerous books, with his latest published by Eisenbrauns this summer. He earned his doctor of ministry at The School of Theology, University of the South, and his doctor of philosophy at Andrews University.
Valerie Harr '11, a native of Pittsylvania County, is working as a graduate assistant in the equestrian studies department. She was a founding member of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association Team and rode on the Intercollegiate Dressage Association team as well. Valerie is managing the freshmen work experience and teaching two riding courses.
Alexandria "Alex" Grandia is an intern athletic trainer for the Cougars. A native of New Mexico, Alex was born and raised in her hometown of Albuquerque. She graduated in May 2012 from the University of New Mexico with a bachelor of science degree in athletic training. Throughout her time as an undergrad, Alex worked with the various Division I sports at New Mexico. Her most unique experience was working the New Mexico State Fair Rodeo, where she helped cover everything from bull riding to barrel racing and roping.
Antoinette "Toni" Gazda is a visiting instructor in the English department, and will coordinate Averett's service learning initiative during the coming year. Toni has worked as an adjunct instructor at Averett since 2011. She received her master of arts from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, where she worked as a writing tutor as well as executive assistant to the vice chancellor.
Laura Evans '12 joins the women's soccer program as an assistant coach after playing four seasons for the Cougars - served as a team captain during her senior season. She gained coaching experience with the Commonwealth Soccer Programs as a camp instructor from 2010-11 and also served as a travel coach for the Danville Soccer Club in 2012. Laura holds a USSF E License. A native of Virginia Beach, she earned USA South Academic All-Conference honors and was Averett's representative on the USA South All-Sportsmanship Team. Laura is currently working toward her MBA at Averett.
Henry Echeverria, yes, he and Amy are married, is the technical director and sound engineer for the theatre department. Henry has worked as a draftsmen/fabricator for Benchmark Scenery and Depict Studios, both in California. In addition, he has been a scenic carpenter for Acme Design Group Studios, a production manager/technical for A Noise Within, a prop shop supervisor for Humboldt State University and a production manager/technical director for Kingsmen Shakespeare Company. Henry also taught classes at Humboldt State. He received his bachelor's degree in theatre from California State University of Bakersfield and a master of fine arts degree in scenography with concentrations in technical director and scenic design from Humboldt State.
Amy Echeverria joins Averett as the costume shop supervisor and costume designer for the theatre department. She has a bachelor's degree in theatre with an emphasis in acting from California State University of Bakersfield and master of fine arts in scenography with concentrations in costume and lighting design from Humboldt State University. Prior to joining Averett, Amy taught at Humboldt State and was the assistant costume shop manager from 2007-11. She also worked as the lead seamstress at The House of Greg Lauren: Fashion House, was the head seamstress/first hand for A Noise Within, a theatre company in California, and was costume shop manager at the Kingsmen Shakespeare Festival.
Ronnie Dix joins the Averett softball program as an assistant coach. A native of the Danville area, Ronnie has a wealth of coaching knowledge in baseball and softball that dates back to 2000. From 2008-11, he coached the Blue Ridge Bombers 18U fast-pitch team. He was also an assistant softball coach at Tunstall High School from 2008-09. Prior to that, he assisted with the Tunstall baseball team from 2004-05 and coached the Danville Bulls 16U baseball team from 2000-04. Outside of athletics, Ronnie has worked for Nestle since 1988. He attended Montreat College from 1981-83, where he studied business administration. He lives in Danville with his wife, Sharon, and children, Corey and Taylor.
Zana Këpuska Devlin '08 returns to Averett as a visiting instructor in the biological and physical sciences department. She earned her master of science degree in pathology at Duke University. While at Duke, she worked as a graduate research assistant in immunology and radiation biology. In addition to her academic expertise in the biological and physical sciences, Zana brings with her immense international experience - she has been able to apply her education in places such as China, Kosovo and Croatia.
Nancy Dameron, clinical assistant professor in nurse education, previously worked at Virginia Western Community College (VWCC), where she was an assistant professor in the nursing program. While at VWCC, Nancy implemented a pilot project on collaborative learning that was subsequently incorporated into the VWCC Level I curriculum. She also has worked as a staff nurse as well as a hospice clinical coordinator. She brings with her not only professional experience, but civic experience through her work with FEMA's Emergency Management Institute and the Martinsville Area Community Foundation Hospice Fund.
Aimee Brenner is a visiting assistant professor of education who comes to us from Virginia Tech, where she is completing a doctorate in instructional design and technology. Aimee holds two master's degrees - a master of arts in curriculum and instruction and a master of science in educational leadership. She has been a K-12 teacher and administrator, adjunct faculty member at Virginia Tech and Roanoke College, and currently works at Virginia Tech's Faculty Development Institute as a presenter and instructional designer. She is certified as an advanced online instructor, and has presented at various conferences from Blacksburg to Anaheim.
Brad Bass is an artist in residence for the theatre department. Brad will be pursuing a degree in theatre education here at Averett. He has performed on Broadway in "Wicked," with the Tony Award winning cast of "Memphis" and in "Jersey Boys." A native of Ringgold, Brad graduated from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City.
Dennis Ballance is the media specialist for the department of nurse education. He is also a GPS student working toward a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Dennis is a native of Wilmington, N.C. He and his wife, Kelly, moved to South Boston in 2003. They have two children, Grayson and Harper. Dennis enjoys music, running and coaching youth athletics.
Katie Kollar, who is joining the women's basketball coaching staff as a graduate assistant. Katie, who is pursuing an MBA degree through the GPS Program, comes to us from Nazareth College in Rochester, N.Y. A spring graduate of Nazareth, Katie played on the women's basketball team there for four years as a shooting guard. She was co-captain her junior and senior year. She broke the college's single season three-point record her senior year. In addition to playing, Katie was a head coach for an Amateur Athletic Union in Rochester for the past two seasons, coaching a U-16 and then a U-17 girls' team.
Meaghan graduated from AU in 2008 and has spent the past several years working in Germany with American rider and competitor Catherine Haddad and German rider Hieke Kemmer as an assistant trainer and barn manager. Meaghan will be teaching several courses, helping with intercollegiate teams and coordinating the development of study abroad experiences for ES students.
The Equestrian Studies Department welcomes two new equestrian studies associates - Carolyn "Cricket" Morris and Meaghan Byrne. Both Cricket and Meaghan bring a wealth of unique experiences with them. They can be reached at the Riding Center 336-388-5950.
Cricket joined the equestrian studies department part time last year as coach for the IHSA Team, and this year she will be a full time staff member responsible for coaching the hunt seat team as well as teaching several courses and working on camp opportunities for next summer. She comes to Averett with a wealth of experience in collegiate riding having worked at St. Andrews University and Sweet Briar College.
Kathy Ross '11 is the new administrative assistant for the department of education and Frith 4th floor faculty. She graduated from Averett with a bachelor of arts degree in English and has more than 10 years of corporate administrative assistant experience.
Danville native Patricia J. Shelton joins the AU family as the academic advisor for the Central Region where her primary focus will be students from the Charlottesville area. Patricia comes to us from Nottoway County High School where she was a substitute teacher.
No stranger to Averett, Patricia earned her associate degree in 2005 and her bachelor of business administration in 2007. She is currently working on her master degree in biblical studies with an emphasis in Christian leadership at Grand Canyon University. The academic services team and the Charlottesville students are pleased to have Patricia on board.
Alex Sample joined the GPS staff as an enrollment counselor in Central Virginia in April. He comes to us from the University of Phoenix where he was an enrollment advisor in Arizona. Alex is embracing the many changes, which range from working fact to face with students to getting used to the trees and greenery - rain is a novelty.
In addition to a proven track record with enrollment, Alex is a talented artist, working primarily with a technique called reverse painting on Plexiglas. Using clear acrylic sheets instead of canvas, the process is painting in reverse, or painting the foreground before the background. To see this method, and his work, visit his website: www.asample.biz.
He earned his bachelor of fine arts in studio art from Arizona State University with a focus on woodworking, metalworking and art history. He and his wife, Tammy, are enjoying life in Richmond.
Also joining the admissions team is Kendall Ratliffe as the BGAV ambassador. Kendall will promote Averett’s mission, value and academics at churches, various denominational and youth events (local, regional, and national), individual church visits, and through regional church gatherings. Kendall holds a bachelor of science degree in psychology from Juniata College and a master’s in divinity from Baptist Theological Seminary in Richmond. Kendall’s office will be located in the GPS Innsbrook facility.
The office of admissions is pleased to welcome two new members to its team. Matthew Mann joins the University as an admissions counselor. Matthew graduated from Averett in 2008 with a bachelor of science degree in business administration: global marketing management. He will be counseling students from Northern Virginia, Eastern North Carolina and the West Coast of the U.S.
Kyle Patterson joins the AU family and residence life team as the area director for Fugate Hall and coordinator of housing operations. Kyle joins us from Catawba College where he served as an area coordinator for housing and programming.
He is currently working to complete a master’s degree in student personnel administration in higher education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Kyle graduated from the University of South Florida Saint Petersburg in 2010 where he majored in mass communication and minored in sociology. While at USF Saint Petersburg, Kyle served in leadership roles with both the resident assistant and orientation programs. Residence life is very excited to have Kyle on board!
An old kid on the block is new again. We welcome back Don D'Alfonzo to the information technology department. Effective May 21, Don will serve as network administrator. Reporting to CIO Tom McMurtry, Don will be responsible for maintaining the network and our Linux servers. Don returns to Averett after serving 10 years, most recently as director of technology. Welcome back, Don!
We are pleased to welcome Kim McMurtry as the new instructional technologist. She began her duties at Averett on April 16. McMurtry comes to us from Montreat College in Black Mountain, N.C. where she worked for 18 years in various positions including English faculty, faculty technology trainer and executive assistant to the president. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in computing technology in education at Nova Southeastern University.
We are pleased to welcome Alexis Ehrhardt who joined Averett on April 2 as assistant for academic affairs. She comes to us from Danville Community College where she worked for four years as the transition counselor and SDV coordinator. Ehrhardt lives in Danville with her husband, Scott, and their 17-month-old son, Xavier.
Tom McMurtry will be joining Averett University on April 9 as the Chief Information Officer (CIO) & Director of Information Technology Services. Tom will lead the IT Services team and will focus on enhancing technology at Averett.
Patrick Henry, who has joined the Averett football team as the passing game coordinator for the Cougars' offense and the team's quarterbacks coach. Henry previously served as a graduate assistant coach at Division I Ball State University, where he coached offense for two years. He played quarterback at Defiance College from 2001-04, graduating in 2005 with a bachelor's degree in integrated social studies in secondary education. He earned his master's of education from Clarion University in 2006.
Michael Moroni, our new food services manager. Moroni joins us from Duke University where he was executive chef. During his tenure at Duke, his focus was on health and sustainability when preparing food.
Dr. Michael Parsons joined Averett Jan. 3 as the associate vice president of the Graduate and Professional Studies Program. He brings more than 30 years of experience in higher education to Averett. Most recently, Michael served as the associate director for student services and operations at the Higher Colleges of Technology, Abu Dhabi Women's College in the United Arab Emirates.
He was awarded a Ph.D. in higher education from Indiana University. He also holds the distinction of Fulbright Senior Scholar at Karaganda State University in Karaganda, Republic of Kazakhstan.
Michael and his wife, Alla, have two daughters and two grandchildren and enjoy traveling abroad. Welcome Michael and Alla!