Class of 2022: Graduate Spotlights

Posted on May 25th, 2022 by Matt Bell

We at Averett University are proud of all our recent graduates in the class of 2022. Here’s a brief look at some of them and their stories.

Lydie Kodio

International student Lydie Kodio graduated in May from Averett with two degrees, one in business administration with a focus in management sciences, and another in communication studies. She is now working as the digital marketing coordinator for Kegerreis Digital Marketing, and is specializing in social media advertising.

Kodio hails from Mali in West Africa, and says she chose Averett because of the quality of education and for its small size, which allowed her to become more involved on campus, build relationships and connections with her professors.

During her time at Averett she was the vice president for the Black Student Union, the Vice President for the International Life Club and an active member of the club Sister 4 Sister. She was also a student ambassador for two years, a writing consultant, communications and French tutor for three years and a multimedia editor for the student newspaper, The Chanticleer. She additionally served as a content creator for the Student Engagement Team and as an assistant working in the Dean of Student’s Office.

“I will never forget the connections I have made here. When I first came, a lot of people were just strangers to me, but slowly they’ve turned into friends and then again turned into family. Being away from home, the people I have met here and the experiences I have had allowed me to create a safe space for myself and those surrounding me. I found a home away from home and I am grateful for it,” Kodio said.

In addition to all of her work, Kodio was also a part of the first group of students to participate in an entrepreneurship course at Averett. The class provided Kodio and her colleagues an opportunity to create a new business for a competition in which they finished first place against four other institutions.

Kodio said she was very happy and proud of the entrepreneurship team, even though they faced several obstacles en route to the victory.

“Thanks to all efforts from our team members, we were able to do it, and the hard work and sacrifice paid off,” she said.

In the team, Kodio helped with the business plan writing and proofreading information that had to be submitted to the judges.

“I was also the one coming up with the skit and ways to present it. I am glad my teammates trusted me with that,” Kodio said.

After four years at Averett, Kodio says she is thankful for all of her professors and for getting her through all of the ups and downs of the last four years.

“I was fortunate enough to have professors who cared about me as an individual. During the times I was not doing the best mentally, not only were they able to recognize it but they also directed me to the necessary resources provided by the school. During class time, if I was not understanding class material, they made sure that my classmates and I were all good. Truly, all impacts were positive,” Kodio said.

Bradley Bizzell

Bradley Bizzell, a senior from Sneads Ferry, N.C., graduated from Averett University in May with a Bachelor of Science in History and Politics. Bizzell chose to attend Averett because he wanted to go to a small school so that he could get the academic support he needed.

“I felt as if Averett was the perfect school to do that,” Bizzell said.

While attending Averett, Bizzell was a four-year member of the men’s soccer team and this helped drive him to figure out what his next steps are going to be. Post-graduation, Bizzell is going to be a graduate assistant men’s soccer coach at Tabor College in Hillsboro, Ks.

“Averett taught me to never give up and always strive to be the best you can be in any circumstance,” Bizzell said.

Bizzell was also a hall director for Averett’s Office of Housing and Residence Life, as well as a resident assistant for two years. His favorite memory is putting on the Haunted Hall for the residents this past year.

“I am thankful for the overall experience Averett gave me and lifelong friends,” Bizzell said.

Bizzell recommends incoming students to not be afraid to ask for help because it is always there for you at Averett.

Skylyn Ostwalt

Skylyn Ostwalt, a senior from Troutman, N.C., graduated from Averett University this spring. Ostwalt majored in fine arts with a minor in communication.

She will be pursuing her master’s of illustration online this summer at Falmouth University, which is in the United Kingdom. In August, she will be moving to Florida to start pursing her dream internship with Walt Disney World.

Ostwalt was a member of the women’s volleyball team and a resident assistant on campus. She chose to come to Averett because of the feeling she had when she toured campus, “It felt like home.”

At Averett, Ostwalt learned that she is as great as her accomplishments.

“I learned to value my education and that I could reach my goals. I learned more from those lessons than what anyone thought of me,” Ostwalt said.

Ostwalt’s favorite memory at Averett was when the volleyball team won the conference championship in spring 2021.

“We stepped off the bus when we got back to campus and all of my peers were there to help us celebrate our accomplishment! It showed how everyone cared about each other,” Ostwalt said.

Ostwalt is very thankful for the friends and memories she made at Averett that she will never forget, and hopes incoming students take advantage of their experience.

“I would recommend doing all of the social events that the school plans even if you’re shy or think they might be lame. You meet so many people that way and that’s how you gain an amazing social experience here at Averett,” Ostwalt said.

Demonte Hunter

Demonte Hunter graduated from Averett Online this spring with a master’s in business administration. Hunter said he learned about the program from a professor he had during his studies as an undergrad student.

“I love the support from students and staff,” Hunter said. “Be prepared to work hard, be confident, don’t be afraid to ask questions – it’s worth it in the end.”






Allison Kelley

Allison Kelley, a senior from Sterling, Va., graduated from Averett University this spring with her Bachelor of Science in nursing.

Now, Kelley will be working at INOVA Fairfax in the NICU.

Kelley decided to come to Averett because it made her feel as if she was home.

“I am very family oriented and leaving home to move four hours away was not something I was looking forward to, but I fell right into place at Averett,” Kelley said.

Throughout her time at Averett, Kelley was involved in numerous clubs on campus. She was on the cheerleading team, and served as the Student Athlete Advisory vice president, a Bonner leader, a student ambassador, and was a member of the Nursing Student Association and connection leader.

She recommends incoming students to get involved on campus.

“College is what you make of it and do not let the four years slip by without getting involved and making lasting memories! You’ll soon be in my position and going to miss all of it soon enough,” Kelley said.

At Averett, Kelley learned that differences are what make us unique.

“I am thankful for every leadership opportunity that Averett has given me as well as every friendship that I have made,” Kelley said.

Victoria MacEntee

Victoria MacEntee graduated with a master’s in education this spring from Averett Online. Her mother is also an Averett graduate, and MacEntee said she spoke highly of the graduate program.

While enrolled in Averett Online, MacEntee said the professors were very flexible, which was convenient while also working a full-time job.

As for advice she would give someone thinking about enrolling to obtain their degree, MacEntee said communication is key.

“Communicate with professors and classmates frequently,” MacEntee said.

Kiana Williams

Kiana Williams, from Prince George, Va., graduated from Averett University this spring. Williams majored in psychology with a concentration in biological psychology and minored in African American studies.

Williams is planning to take a gap year while working as a rehabilitation tech in a pediatric setting.

Williams chose to attend Averett due to the family environment and small class sizes. Throughout her time at Averett, Williams was a member of the Averett dance team, Black Student Union and Sister4Sister.

“My favorite Averett memory is homecoming. I really enjoyed the whole week because there are so many activities happening on campus, and I love performing with my dance team during this time as well,” Williams said.

Williams is thankful for the friends and professors who have helped her become the person she is today.

Averett taught Williams to, “Always be kind to others because you never know what opportunity may come around by just saying ‘hi’ to someone.”

Stevon Penn

Stevon Penn earned his bachelor’s of business administration from Averett Online this spring. Penn said Averett’s location to him was convenient in addition to coursework and lectures being online.

After obtaining his degree from Averett, Penn said it will help open doors for him in addition to more opportunities.

He encourages anyone considering pursuing their degree to go for it.

“It is worth it. Education is very important and Averett is a great place to do it,” Penn said.


Garrett Haskins

Garrett Haskins, a senior from Spencer, Va., graduated from Averett University this spring. Haskins received his Bachelor of Science while he majored in organization communication/public relations with a minor in criminal justice. He has also interned with the City of Danville’s River City TV, which broadcasts video communications throughout the city and on social media to thousands of viewers.

Haskins decided to come to Averett because he enjoyed the feel of campus when coming on his tour in 2017. His mother is also a 1992 Averett graduate.

Haskins received a communication award for his work with The Chanticleer, a student-led newspaper for Averett, which was his favorite memory from his undergrad experience. He also worked as a part-time Averett employee in the mailroom throughout his four years here.

After graduation, Haskins would like to work as a public information officer for a locality or state government.

“I would recommend incoming students to take full advantage of all the opportunities that come their way during their time here at Averett. They are truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunities,” Haskins said.

Throughout Haskins’ time at Averett, it has reinforced his belief that with enough hard work and determination, anything can be accomplished.

“I am thankful for the opportunities to meet people from all walks of life and to meet professionals that have helped me to prepare to enter the workforce,” Haskins said.

Morgann Dills

Morgann Dills, a senior from Bedford, Va., graduated from Averett University this spring. Dills was heavily involved on campus and in the Danville community throughout her time at Averett. She earned her degree in elementary education.

Dills chose Averett to pursue soccer at the collegiate level while still having the full student experience.

“Averett was very welcoming and home like from the beginning,” she said.

Dills was a four-year member of the women’s soccer team, the Student Government Association secretary for her class, a two-year resident assistant, an Averett Bonner leader and a part of Captains & Leaders.

“The most important thing I would recommend to a student coming in the fall would be to get involved with as many things on campus as possible. These skills will help you learn how to network and build professional skills and relationships that you will be able to come back to for the rest of your life,” Dills said.

Dills has memories that she will cherish from many the activities and events on campus, but her favorite was quite special.

“The day I got proposed to at the end of a football game and all the love from everyone on campus!”

Dills is also very thankful for everybody that she created a relationship with including students, coaches, staff and the University President Dr. Tiffany Franks.

“These connections have prepared me for life after college and I have helped me build skills that I will use for the rest of my life,” Dills said.

“Averett taught me to be unique and stand out! I have learned that being in an environment where everyone accepts you for your beliefs is where you personally can grow the most.”

Dills will begin a job in Lynchburg City Schools at Linkhorne Elementary School as a first grade teacher.

Kendyll Curry

Kendyll Curry, a senior from Nassau, Bahamas, graduated from Averett University this spring. Curry double majored in aeronautics flight operations and aeronautics aviation business.

An international student, Curry wanted to come to Averett because of the aeronautics program and the family that Averett provided him away from home. From the first day he arrived, he was never alone – from the admission teams to student success – someone was always there to make sure he was taken care of.

“I would recommend that you get involved as early as you can so that you’ll be able to meet new people and build the right connections you will need throughout your college experience,” Curry said.

Curry quickly got involved on campus upon his arrival. Most students knew Curry as “DJ KFIRE” as the campus DJ. He was also a connection leader, a resident assistant and a student ambassador.

“My favorite memory has to be planning parties with my friends and having them turning out successful with everyone having fun and creating memories,” Curry said.

Curry also was very excited when he received his flight licenses from private to multi engine rating, which allows pilots to fly aircraft with more than one engine – something needed to eventually fly for the airlines. After graduation, he plans to work as a certified flight instructor to build his flight time so that he can transition into the airlines, while still giving back to the aviation community.

“’I am most thankful for the staff and faculty that’s been there for me since I first walked in as a freshman. They ensured that I was on the right path and guided me until graduation, and I am thankful for the relationships that I have formed with my peers and supporters through my college years,” Curry said.

Averett helped teach Curry how to become an effective leader as an RA and how to become more confident in himself, actions and speech.

“Staying active has allowed me to build time management skills and improve my critical thinking skills. I would recommend that you get involved as early as you can so that you’ll be able to meet new people and build the right connections you will need throughout your college experience! Build relationships with your professors and faculty because you never know when a time may come that you’ll really need them,” Curry said.