Kelly Atkins

My story consists of three themes: Perseverance, Joy, and Service. Theme One is Perseverance- I tried out to be a Scottish dancer my Freshman year in high school, but I was only chosen as an “alternate.” What a let-down! This required me to attend band camp as a flute player and as a dancer- not an easy task! I juggled both roles and when a Scottish dancer quit after the first game of the season, I became the replacement. If I had not “accepted” my role as alternate and practiced hard, I would have been unable to “step up” and as a dancer throughout high school! How do I teach perseverance to my students? By setting up assignments (such as resume & cover letter writing) in stages with multiple drafts so students can see their improvement. Philippians 4:13 has always inspired and comforted me. It says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Theme Two is Joy- In early January 2018, I heard a challenge on the radio to choose “One Word” as your New Year’s Resolution. Since I have a pretty poor track record of achieving my New Year’s Resolutions, I decided to accept this challenge. As a woman of Faith, I considered the Fruit of the Spirit from the book of Galatians “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” From this verse, I chose “joy” as my “One Word." Where do I find joy in the workplace? In the enthusiastic response of a student who states, “That was the best group project I’ve EVER been part of!"... From the inspiration and the support of colleagues in my own department and from across campus... In the joy of a job well done (e.g., a journal publication). Philippians 4 reminds me, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.” My prayer is that others see the joy of the Lord that comes from within (not from without). Theme Three is Service- Throughout the first two decades of my life, my daddy was sick with a host of complications from Type 1 diabetes. During this time, I witnessed our friends, our family, and our church family serve us in various ways (bringing meals, taking dad to appointments). This selfless “service” to me and my family created a conviction in my heart to serve others. This conviction is both a responsibility and a privilege. One way John (my husband) and I have been blessed through serving is the ETSU International Friends Program. We have hosted students from South Korea, Japan, China, Nigeria & India. This program pairs visiting international students with ETSU faculty members or members of the community who serve as a “host family” while the students are at ETSU. No, the student doesn’t live with the host family, but the host family is as involved with the international student as they have time to be. Those are the three most prominent themes in my life to date: Perseverance, Joy, and Service.

My Life

Favorite Quote

"There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still." -Corrie ten Boom

My hobbies

Sewing & reading

My undergrad alma mater

Mars Hill College, Mars Hill, NC

My worst subject in school


In college I drove

a 1986 Buick Skyhawk

If I weren't a professor, I would

be a stay-at-home dog mom!

Favorite books

Gone with the Wind (Margaret Mitchell), Alas Babylon (Pat Frank), Seated with Christ (Heather Holleman)

Favorite movies

Top Gun, Despicable Me

Favorite city

Edinburgh, Scotland

Nobody knows I

love motorcycles (but I don't own one)

Current Research

I am interested in "smart shopping." Do you know what that is? What is it that makes you feel "smart" when you finish a shopping trip? Saving time? Saving money? Saving effort? The answers differ for all of us, but it is often some combination of these elements!