Athletics Director Meg Stevens will be the keynote speaker at the NCAA Emerging Leaders Seminar later this week (Jan. 28-30) in Indianapolis, Ind. She will address more than 200 graduate assistants and interns.

The Emerging Leaders Seminar (ELS) is an annual professional development event providing effective leadership, educational and transitional programming for graduate assistants and interns at NCAA membership institutions, conference offices and affiliate organizations.

Head Softball Coach Bren LaFlame Taylor '98 recently attended and graduated from the NCAA Women's Coaching Academy (WCA) held in Denver, Colo.

"This was a life-changing event that altered my whole outlook on coaching and mentoring these young ladies," Taylor said. "My mission is to teach, develop and motivate; to instill positive and winning attitudes; to push, encourage and inspire; to create an environment of trust and hope and to never stop learning."

The WCA provides skills training for coaches at all levels to assist them in being more efficient, productive, resourceful and successful. The academy is designed for women coaches who are ready and willing to increase their individual effectiveness by learning advanced skills and strategies that directly affect their personal and team success. The participants learn skills that are not sport-specific, yet ones that are relevant and necessary for coaching responsibilities.

The Athletic Training Education Program started the year off by attending the Virginia Athletic Trainers Association (VATA) Annual Meeting and Symposium in Glen Allen. Program Director Dr. Carrie Hendrick represented the University by presenting "Common Kinesio Tape Techniques for Athletic Trainers" while Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainer Stefan Varner presented a case study. This was a great experience for all who attended.

Please congratulate the following employees on their new positions at Averett!

Lesley Villarose has been named dean of students. Lesley has been ably serving as acting dean of students since last July.

Dr. Sue Davis has been appointed acting chair of the education department following Bill Lawrence's retirement in December. In addition to being a graduate of Averett and serving the education department as an adjunct, Sue is the former superintendent of the Danville Public Schools.

Marquita Graves moved from the vice president for academic affairs office to join the registrar's office as associate registrar. Marquita is well known to the community and will apply her extensive knowledge of the University to her new role.

We also welcome Dr. Gail Allen and Dr. David Hoffman back to teaching after their leave this past fall.

Residence life is entering the spring semester with a few exciting changes to announce.

Kyle Patterson and Donna Benz are taking on new roles and responsibilities. Kyle is now responsible for providing leadership for staff selection, training, development and assessment. Donna is stepping into our housing operations role where she will be responsible for housing selection, housing assignments and room changes.

Senior resident assistant Jewel Dale will be taking on a new role as the assistant hall director for the Main Building Complex. Jewel has served residence life as an RA for two and a half years. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the Main Building residence halls or resident students, please feel free to contact Jewel Dale at jmdale@aumail.averett.edu or Marsha Foster, director of residence life.

Finally, residence life lost two very important staff members at the end of the fall semester. John Parkin completed his MBA and has accepted a position with the aviation department as an adjunct faculty member. Paul Porter is currently working on his MBA with Averett and has relocated to Birmingham, Ala., where he accepted a position with Dollar General as a human resource specialist. Congratulations to both John and Paul!

Itayetzi Zafra Mendez, Averett's Fulbright teaching assistant in Spanish, will present on her home region of Oaxaca, Mexico on Thursday, Jan. 29 at 4 p.m. in the Student Center multipurpose room. This presentation is open to Averett faculty, staff, students, and the Danville community - please spread the word! A wide range of refreshments will be served, including some treats from Oaxaca's markets!

Please remember to drop by the Center for Community Engagement and Career Competitiveness tomorrow (Thursday, Dec. 18) from 2-3 p.m. to say goodbye to Petrina Carter, who has served as our director of career services since 2009. Petrina is taking a job as a senior manager at the Virginia Employment Commission.

Assistant Professor of Art Lee Sandstead can check two more museums off his bucket list. Lee recently visited The Art Museum at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Ky. and the Birmingham Museum of Art in Birmingham, Ala.

While in Lexington, he gave a series of talks to various groups concerning the Camino de Santiago and art appreciation. While in Birmingham, he delivered a series of talks concerning the history of the Virgin Mary in art, how different civilizations use art in their daily lives and the art and architecture of England. For all talks, Lee was able to meet new colleagues and discuss emerging trends in art education.

"It's always great for me to get out there in the field," said Lee. "I can take what I learn and bring it right back to the classroom for the benefit of the students. But just as important, it is an opportunity for me to shake people's hands, look them in the eye, and thank them for all they do for the arts."

It is with sadness that we say farewell to Petrina Carter, who has served as our director of career services since October 2009. Her last day will be December 31. Petrina is taking a job as a senior manager at the Virginia Employment Commission.

Please join us on Thursday, Dec. 18 from 2-3 p.m. at the Center for Community Engagement and Career Competitiveness to say goodbye. We wish Petrina the best and look forward to working with her in her new role!

On Sunday, Nov. 9, international students from Rebecca Raab's English 111 ESL course traveled to her parent's home in Halifax County for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Itayetzi Zafra Mendez, Averett's Fulbright Scholar, also came along for the fun. Students not only learned about Thanksgiving and ate a delicious feast, but also had the opportunity to hike around the beautiful Banister River.

Special thanks to Christine Thompson for baking pies and helping transport students, and Anne and Tom Raab for graciously hosting the event!

I just wanted to say thank you to all who have been so thoughtful during the time of my mother's illness and subsequent death. It truly is a blessing to work with such a caring group of people. Thank you so much for the cards, flowers and other acts of kindness. I am so grateful for the time that I was able to spend with my mother prior to her death. Cancer is a terrible disease, but could never replace those precious memories. From my heart, and to any who are still fighting the fight, I would like to encourage you to keep on fighting. I am praying for the day a cure will be found.

Tammy Wall, senior accountant-payroll/benefits