Andrew Bond

“It’s an incredible feeling of excitement each time I fly. And the scenery — every flight, the views are amazing.

“Yesterday I flew right next to a mountain with the morning fog still in the valleys and with the sun still rising. I went for my night flight a few weeks ago, and wow — the stars are beautiful and the city lights are stunning.

“It’s a whole lot of work [being an Aeronautics major], but I’m loving every second of it.”

Aeronautics major Andrew Bond, a senior from Reisterstown, MD, likes all of his classes at Averett, but he lives to fly.

Lawrence Chambers

“My Averett success story started when an Education Liasion visited my Virginia Army National Guard unit. That day, I started a journey that would totally change my life.

“When I enrolled at Averett, I was impressed with the diversity of my classmates: what each individual brought to the table, and their desire to constantly better themselves. The small class size made me feel valued as a student. I was able to remain in the same Study Team from the first class of the program to the last class of the program. The biggest benefit from the Study Team for me was learning how to effectively work in a group environment.

“During my two years in the Averett University Graduate and Professional Studies program, I learned ‘hard skills’ and ‘soft skills’ that helped me become an all-around business professional. While the hard skills – operations management, strategic management and organizational behavior for example – are valuable, it was the soft skills – communication, the ability to confidently engage with contractors, senior level management and co-workers – that made the biggest difference in my career development.

“When I graduated from the MBA program in 2003, my professional and military career took off. I went from a State Correctional Officer to Federal Correctional Officer. I became a Contract Specialist with the Federal Bureau of Prisons in 2008. Currently, I am a GS-14 Procurement Analyst with the Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D.C. Military-wise, I deployed to Iraq and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant when I returned in 2005. Two years later, I deployed to Afghanistan and was promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant when I returned in 2010. I will be retiring from the Virginia Army National Guard after 20 years of service in 2013.

“I would not be where I am today without my MBA from the Averett University Graduate and Professional Studies Program. It assisted me in developing long-lasting professional relationships and gave me the knowledge I needed to maintain them.”

Kelley Handshaw

“I knew I wanted to continue my education, but couldn’t figure out a way to do that successfully while meeting the demands of working full time and raising a family. Averett’s GPS program was the best fit for me – the campus is close to my work, classes are one night a week, and the MBA curriculum aligned perfectly with my career goals. It wasn’t easy, but the rewards are worth it.

“Since graduation, I’ve been promoted at work and elected to the Board of Directors of a national non-profit organization. I walked away from Averett with more than a degree; I now have the confidence to achieve anything in my life. The lessons I learned from Averett will stay with me for a lifetime.”

Hyung (Kevin) Jang

“Averett is a small university with extremely friendly people. Also, the class sizes are awesome — they’re smaller than my high school classes were. The professors are really passionate about what they teach, and they certainly interacted with me much more than my high school teachers did.

“My Business Management and Marketing classes at Averett made me think about entering the world of work from a management [upper-level] track. I’m going to go for it.”

Hyung (Kevin) Jang ’15 was born in South Korea, and he speaks Korean, Mandarin, Japanese and English. He chose Kevin as an “American name” when he heard it used on a radio call-in show. Infinity Global, Inc., a world-class designer and producer of packaging for the luxury retail market, hired Kevin before he graduated from Averett. True to form, he’s going for the management track – with gusto.

Taylor Mahaffey

“The atmosphere at Averett is the best — you walk around the campus and you know the people you pass, it’s just that friendly. Everyone is there for everyone else. They really support you.

“I discovered a new dream at Averett. I started out majoring in Athletic Training, but I decided I wanted to be on my own, not an employee. By majoring in Business, I’ve given myself a whole lot of options to do just that.”

Originally from Belmont, NC, Taylor Mahaffey ’15 majored in Business Marketing. After her sophomore year, she took a trip to Italy with other students from Averett’s Honors Program, and she credits that trip with giving her an enlightened perspective on the global business market.

Dyana Mullins

“I just finished my last course yesterday, and wanted to send you a note on my experiences with Averett.

“As I have begun preparation for graduation from my Bachelor of Business Administration degree program, I have taken time to reflect on my education through Averett University.

“I spent several months researching colleges before selecting Averett. None of the schools fit my goals and personal requirements– until I found Averett. Averett’s Graduate and Professional Studies program turned out to be exactly what I was looking for: a Virginia university with reasonable fees (including a discount for veterans), offering the degree program I wanted through accelerated courses.

“I would like to say a heartfelt thanks to everyone at Averett University, but especially to the professors that went above and beyond to really help me grow professionally. I am honored to have worked with these professors, and I’m proud to say I am a (soon-to-be) Averett University graduate.”

Andres Prenza

“If you’re looking for a huge party school where you can be anonymous, don’t come to Averett. You definitely are never anonymous here. Most of the students will know you, and yes, all your professors will know you.

“I wasn’t big into academics in high school, and when I got to Averett I was indifferent about classes. But that changed, and then I started tutoring others … and that was a lot of fun – it let me make new friends and help people at the same time.”

A double-major in Computer Science and Mathematics, Andres Prenza ’14 grew up spending alternating years in Miami, FL, and the Dominican Republic.

Shannon Smith

“Almost everyone at Averett knows everyone else. The professors are really interested in you … as a person. They go to our athletic games to support us. Some even ride in the athletic bus to the competitions. Their office hours are great — you can always reach them. Some of my friends even have some professors’ phone numbers so they can text them if they need help.

“Because of my time at Averett, I’ve definitely become more global in my thinking and more confident in myself. Now my dream is to travel and see new places. I’m more open to moving, to living anywhere in the world.”

A Communications major from Santa Ana, CA, Shannon Smith ’14 played basketball for Averett and thinks she’ll likely be a sports broadcaster … wherever she wants.

Stefan Varner

“I looked at colleges in New York, Tennessee, Ohio, Virginia and Pennsylvania, and Averett immediately felt like home. Compared to the others, this was definitely where I wanted to be.

“My big dream is to work for awhile as a PT, then own my own physical therapy clinic. Averett has taught me that I can go to any graduate school, and I’ll do fine.”

While he was an undergraduate at Averett, Stefan Varner ’14 from Moundsville, WV, majored in Athletic Training and minored in Biology. He was also a USA South Academic All-Conference football player. Today, Stefan is pursuing his MBA – and yes, he’s doing fine.