Division of Student Life

Mission Statement

The division of student life at Averett University is committed to providing an inclusive environment enabling each student to develop and enhance personal health and wellbeing, leadership skills, social responsibility, critical thinking and a spirit of service.

Student Life Goals and Objectives

Personal Health and Wellbeing

Students will be exposed to programs and initiatives designed to promote health and wellbeing including: health clinics, wellness counseling, health education, recreational activities, and spiritual exploration where appropriate.

Objective One
Students will have opportunities to participate in health and wellness fairs. Health and wellness educational materials and information will be displayed and distributed in key locations on campus. Students will participate in a group learning experience centered around the topic of emotional well-being and resilience.

Leadership Skills

Students will become actively engaged through the development of leadership skills and qualities.

Objective One
Promote leadership skill development through exposure and access to leadership programming, opportunity and roles.

Objective Two
Establish opportunities for students to engage and apply leadership learning/skills.

Objective Three
Establish departmental standards for leadership engagement, support and influence.

Social Responsibility

Students will gain a healthy respect for self and others by exercising personal integrity and engaging in a community of shared responsibility and social media.

Objective One
Promote the engagement in active bystander intervention through the See It Say It campaign by reporting incidents that disrupt the well-being of themselves and or others. programming, leadership opportunities and through the See It Say It campaign.

Critical Thinking

Students will demonstrate the ability to reason and make sound judgements through an exploration of our world’s ideas, narratives and strategies.

Objective One
Teach appropriate strategies for students to responsibly and critically interpret multiple narratives of information.

Spirit of Service

Students will gain an awareness of the impact and importance of service to others.

Objective One
Students will make connections between local, national and global communities by identifying the impact of current social issues on humanity.

Student Life Staff

Venita M. Mitchell, PhD
Vice President of Student Engagement
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Dr. Venita Mitchell joined Averett in 2021 as our new Vice President for Student Engagement and Senior Student Experience Officer. She comes to us after a career spanning 30 years in both the public and private college/university settings, working in all aspects of higher education as a student affairs professional. Her experience includes serving over 20 years at William Woods University, including 18 years as the vice president and dean of student life, as well as director of leadership development, and interim athletic director; adjunct instructor at the University of Missouri; assistant dean for student development at Millsaps College; assistant director of recreation services at the University of Kansas; and director of intramurals at Rhodes College. Dr. Mitchell earned a doctorate in educational leadership and policy analysis from the University of Missouri, a master’s degree in recreation, parks and tourism from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Jeremicus “JL” Porter, PhD
Dean of Students
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Dr. Porter comes to the University as a national award-winning higher education leader with a distinguished 14-plus year career in both the public university and community college sectors; where he developed and implemented comprehensive programs to amplify student experiences and directed strategic operational management of cross-functional teams in both student affairs and enrollment services. Dr. Porter earned a doctorate in leadership and management from Capella University, a Master of Education from American Intercontinental University, a Bachelor of Science in journalism and mass communication with a concentration in public relations from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and is a product of Harvard University’s Leadership and Management Institute.

Fredrick Betts
Coordinator for Retention and Persistence
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Fredrick comes to us from DCC where he has served as a Career Coach/Success Coach since 2013. He enjoys working with the students, faculty and staff to provide students with a rewarding college experience. He is excited to join the Student Success Center here at Averett to help be a part of the continued success of the students.

Laura Breeden
Area Coordinator
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Laura Breeden is a 2021 Averett alumna who is currently working as a graduate assistant for the office of Housing and Residence Life. During her time here as an undergrad, she majored in Sociology and minored in Biology. She is currently the Area Coordinator for all of the Main Complex and oversees two Undergraduate Hall Directors. She is excited to return to her alma mater and serve the Averett community while she pursues her Master’s in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resources. She can’t wait to start building strong and lasting connections with faculty, staff, and students.

Lynsey Corriher
Senior COVID-19 Case Manager
[email protected]
Office: 434-791-5852

Lynsey graduated in the spring of 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences and a minor in Psychology and completed her MBA in 2021, both from Averett University. She is from Landis, North Carolina. Lynsey has always been involved in many on-campus organizations and found a home in the Averett community. Through her involvement with various clubs and organizations, Lynsey found joy in helping get others involved and sharing their passions. She loves live music, reading, and thrifting.

Rodney Countryman
Assistant Director of Residence Life
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Rodney serves the university as the Assistant Director of Residence Life. He began his journey at Averett in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions in 2020, then transitioned to the Student Life team in 2021. Averett has become his home, and he enjoys being a part of the growth and development of students.

Skyler Daniel
University Chaplain
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Skyler Daniel is from Knoxville, TN, and he and his wife Ronella are blessed with two children, Charlize and Amos.  Skyler holds a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Lee University, and a Master’s of Divinity from Wake Forest University.  Half his time is shared with West Main Baptist Church where he serves as Associate Pastor for Youth.  Before coming to Averett, Skyler ministered to marginalized students in Romania, and served various ministry roles before that.

Tammi Devlin BSN, RN
Director of Health Services
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Born and raised in New Jersey, Tammi joined the Averett team in July 2021 to launch their health services program on campus. Tammi is a bachelor’s prepared registered nurse who graduated with her associate’s degree from Mercer County Community College in 1996 and later received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Chamberlain College of Nursing in 2014. Her background is as the Director of Nursing working with the  elderly population in long-term care and assisted living facilities as well as in a PACE program. Tammi is married with three children and she enjoys spending her free time with her family and friends. She is located in the student success building alongside counseling services.

Joy E. Durham-Carthen, J.D.
Director of Student Success
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Joy joined Averett in 2022 as our new Director of Student Success.  Her experience includes several years of service in the higher education system in universities such as William Paterson University at which she has worked for almost 5 years as the Director of Accessibility Resource Center. She earned a Juris Doctorate degree from the Rutgers School of Law-Newark, a master’s degree in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from The College of New Jersey.

A fun fact about Joy is that she loves cooking and baking. One of her great accomplishment was the creation of Joyful Cookies.

Alexandria B. Harrell, BS
Assistant Director of Housing Operations
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Alexandria Harrell is the Assistant Director of Housing Operations in the Office of Housing and Residence Life. Alexandria joins the Averett family from East Tennessee where she got her Bachelor of Science in Biology with a minor in Chemistry at Lincoln Memorial University, in Harrogate, Tenn. She currently resides in Gibsonville North Carolina.

Alexandria comes to us with both residence life and higher education experience during her undergrad at LMU. Her first day at Averett was August 6, 2021.

Beth Hill, LMHP – R
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Hello, I’m Beth! I have adventured through many experiences in my counseling journey and have now landed at Averett University. I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in 2005 from Radford University and my Master of Arts in professional counseling with Liberty University in 2016. I am currently in my counseling residency and look forward to completing the licensure process. I have experience working with diverse populations including juvenile and adult corrections, community services, developmental/intellectual disabilities, and crisis intervention. With my home life, I am married with three children. Our oldest is my bonus daughter (15) and then we have a son (4) and the baby girl (almost 3); she is the most spoiled! We also have a furbaby (my first born), a yorkie that believes she is a doberman. We attend church in our community and enjoy going to watch our oldest play softball. I believe the others will be ready to dive into sports when they are a little older.

One day, after living through toddlerhood, I hope to get back to some of my favorite things; crafting, reading, and watching true crime shows. For now it is mainly ordering what I could make and watching Umi Zoomi and Peppa Pig! Thank you all for welcoming to your work family and community! I am excited to be “back in college!”

Tammy Jackson
Director of International Student Services and Cultural Programs
SEVIS Principal Designated School Official (PDSO)
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Tammy is from South Boston, VA. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in 2004 in Organizational Management and Development from Bluefield College and her MBA from Averett University in 2008. She is the Director of International Student Services and Cultural Awareness and the Principal Designated School Official (PDSO) for international student registrations. She works primarily with the University’s ever increasing international student population. She advises and serves international students, faculty, and staff with the rules and regulations regarding OPT, CPT, international student employment and registration, etc. She will also continue to work as the Transportation Administrator for trips to and from RDU and GSO and classes at North, Danville Airport, and Riverview Campuses as well as with the Cougar Cares Committee. Tammy has worked in college education for over nineteen years in areas such as admissions, advising, registration, business, and financial aid. She has also served as an adjunct instructor on the community college level. She enjoys walking, binge watching television, classic literature and movies, and planting flowers. She is a student advocate who is passionate about seeing all students set and achieve their goals.

Holly Kilby
Assistant Director, Academic Support
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Nate Lake
Coordinator of Recreation & Health Services
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Nate is an Averett alumni class of 2018 member. During his time at Averett, he played football and volunteered with Student Life to help with several events on and off campus. Formerly, he worked with Averett Online (Averett’s GPS Program) as an admissions counselor for two years prior to graduating.

Christy Mayes
Director of Counseling Services
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Christy Abbott Mayes was born in Danville, VA and was raised in Pittsylvania County. She graduated from Chatham High School in 1999. Christy entered the workforce at age 14, gaining a multitude of experience in various fields. She earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Psychology from Liberty University in 2013 and obtained a Master’s Degree in Professional Counseling in 2015, also from Liberty University. Christy began working in the mental health field in 2013 with both adults and youth/adolescents. Currently, Christy is licensed by the Virginia Board of Counseling as a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor. Christy is married and has two children. She also has a toy poodle named Cotton. In her spare time, she enjoys dancing, singing, arts/crafts, and spending time with family and friends. Christy joined Averett on September 13, 2021 as the Director of Counseling Services. She is located in the Health & Wellness office beside the Student Success Center.

Casey Scarce
Assistant Director of Student Involvement

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Casey Scarce is a native of Danville, VA, and joined Averett’s Student Life team in 2021. She earned her undergraduate degree in Communications and Social Influence at Lynchburg College in 2016 where she also worked in admissions while earning her graduate degree in Nonprofit Leadership and Management in 2018. She has a background in fundraising & development, team development, and event planning.

Casey serves as the Assistant Director of Student Involvement for student organizations & clubs’ activation, working with First-Year Students & their Connection Leaders, and planning events like ROAR, Homecoming, & Spring Fling throughout the year. She and her team are always excited to welcome new Cougars to the Averett family and ensure they are connected to their community until their next step after Averett!

Sarah SmithSarah Smith
Administrative Assistant for Health Services

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Sarah joined the  Averett family in March 2022 as the Administrative Assistant for Health Services on campus. She works as the assistant to the Director of Health Services and assists in growing the Health Services Program. Before calling Danville her home she was born and raised in Roanoke, VA. Her experience consists of Level One Trauma, Mental Health, Orthopedics, and Obstetrics and Gynecology. Sarah now gets her adrenaline rush from her daughter, Scarlett. Her sassy four-year-old self keeps her on her toes. Sarah is located in the student success building alongside counseling services and is excited to be a resource for the students and staff.

Mckelvey Stone
Housing & Residence Life Graduate Assistant
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Mckelvey Stone, is one of the Graduate Assistants for the office of Housing and Residence life. In May of 2021, he graduated from Wingate University with his Bachelor of Science in Education, and this is also where he began his Housing and Residence life work experience.  He is very excited to be working with Averett University students and hopes to help them with all their on campus housing needs. He is also an Area Coordinator for Fugate Hall and the Commons Apartments, which is where he directly helps with issues in those living spaces, and oversees the two Undergraduate Hall Directors.

Tina Younger
Administrative Assistant for Student Life

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Tina Younger is from South Boston, VA. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in 2019 in Government from Liberty University.  She joined Averett University in 2021 and serves as the Administrative Assistant for Student Life. Tina has over 30 years of experience in both the public and private sectors spanning a broad range of areas from local government to nonprofit organizations. She brings a wealth of life skills to Averett University. She is extremely excited to be a part of Averett University and working with students to ensure their college experience is successful. Her passion is bringing awareness to women issues through her short stories. She is a member of the Danville Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., serving on the following committees, Chaplain, Member Services, Social Action as well as Policies and Procedures.