Melanie Lewis, PhD, LAT, ATC
Department Chair & Associate Professor, Health and Sport Science Department

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 434-791-5091
Office: Grant Center 129

Professor Melanie Lewis was driving quite well when the police pulled her over. It was years back, when she still lived on the farm, and the officer was nice … but insistent.

Today she readily admits that she was in the wrong. Her dad had asked her to drive a truckload of hog feed someplace for him, and she was doing that — driving alone in the cab of the truck — when she was stopped. The problem? She was 10 years old.

“That’s just life on the farm,” she says with a laugh, “you do whatever needs doin’.”

Describing herself as “just a country girl,” she does so with an unmistakable twinkle in her eye. This is no ordinary woman; this is an unstoppable, high-achieving, high-energy, highly competitive and charismatic woman.

In high school she played basketball and softball. Until the injuries came. “As a sophomore I tore all the ligaments and tendons in my right ankle,” she says, “and it went from there. I rehabbed, played more of both sports, but then tore an ACL [anterior cruciate ligament]. In softball I was no longer able to catch for the team, so I was named DH. Then I decided that my brain was going to outlast my legs.

Fortunately, at that time she met an athletic trainer, and Lewis thought, “That’s what I want to do! That and teaching. Both, if possible.”

It is possible. She came to Averett as an athletic trainer, and she now has the best of both worlds — teaching physical education classes and acting as clinical coordinator of the athletic training program.

“I love the relationships at this university,” she says, adding: “I went to a Division I school and believe me, it is not that way there. Athletes exist in a separate world in DI, apart from the other students; here, they’re part of the Averett family.

And family has always been important to this “country girl.” She says that some of the very best times for her personally happen each spring: “When we get the phone call that our students passed their athletic training board certification exam — and on their first try! — they send me an email saying, ‘I PASSED ON THE FIRST TIME!!’ … and, well, that means the world to me.”

It should mean a lot — she has been invested in that success all along: “I know that we demand a lot from our students, but those who graduate really appreciate it. They say, ‘I’m so glad you prepped me the way you did; now I understand!’”


Doctor of Philosophy, Sports Management, North Central University, Prescott, AZ

Master of Science, Sport Science, High Point University

Bachelor of Science, Athletic Training, Radford University


Kushubarv-2848Barbara Kushubar,
Associate Professor of Health and Sport Science

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 434-791-5687
Office: Grant Ctr 112

Some people are born athletes. Meet Professor Barbara Kushubar.

She realized that she was an athlete when she was in elementary school: “Oh, yes. Kickball. I wanted to play it the rest of my life. Everything about it was right for me — it fit my personality, my competitiveness, everything … I loved it all. LOVED it.”

Of course, nothing lasts forever, not even kickball. But growing up in Stamford, Connecticut, Kushubar spent her few non-kickball times doing other athletic things, such as swimming in the ocean and ice-skating in the winter. By the time she reached high school, she was killer at all sorts of sports — tennis, field hockey, basketball, track and field …

“Actually, I was warming up for my high school discus practice one day when a graduate who was then enrolled at Averett handed me the discus — while wearing an Averett T-shirt. A couple weeks later, recruiters from Averett showed up at my high school. Hmm.”

As she thought about it, she fell in love with the idea of going to college in the South. “I asked if this Averett place had tennis, field hockey, etc. Yes? Sign me up! Put me in, Coach!”

She had looked at big schools and realized that being just a number was not the way for her to attend college. “Also, I was going to major in sports, for sure, so I applied to Averett and was accepted before I had been there for a visit. I enrolled right away.”

Her success as an Averett student led her to a master’s degree from the United States Sports Academy … and eventually back to Averett as a coach and teacher — quite obviously her life’s calling.

“The biggest gratification for me is when I see a student graduate who four years earlier walked in the door with an ‘I can’t possibly do this’ look on her face. But then one day you see the change. She gets it. She can do it.”

Kushubar gives Averett credit for helping young people make the tough transition from high school to college. “This is a place where you have people help you take that big step,” she says. “You’ll learn time management; we’ll give you the tools to communicate, both orally and in writing. You will grow spiritually, as well, learning to give back to the community.”

There is, of course a catch: “You’re the one who has to do the work, both on the field and off. We will hold you accountable, and we’ll know you. You can’t hide.”

The payoff, she promises, is worth it. “We give you the tools to succeed here, and in your first job and then for all that comes after. We prepare you for life.”

Including kickball, if she has her way.


Master of Sports Science, Sports Medicine, the United States Sports Academy

Bachelor of Science, Health/Physical Education/Wellness, Averett University


Angela McNeely
Instructor Department of Health and Sport Science

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 434-791-5868
Office: Grant Center 108