Amanda Blaisdell, an assistant professor of Health Education, is director of Longwood’s HPE Graduate Program.
Among her noteworthy accomplishments is a 35-week program she developed for the Southside YMCA. Healthy Living in the Heart of Virginia included six families and focused on healthy living. “I wanted to take advantage of an opportunity to build relationships and support an under-served population,” she explains.
The 35-week program was supported by STEPS, Inc., Southside Virginia YMCA, FeedMore and Longwood University. “It was an opportunity to serve my community in a completely different way,” Blaisdell relates.
Initially, it was volunteer work that pointed Blaisdell toward the HPE field. “One of our community service options, when I played varsity basketball, was to coach 3rd and 4th graders,” she explains. “It was through this volunteering experience that I realized my love for working with children and helping them achieve their goals.”
After completing her doctorate, Blaisdell chose Longwood as her next step in higher education. “I’m from Vermont, so the rural community that Farmville offered fit the bill,” Blaisdell says. “The allure of a smaller university where I could build relationships across campus drew me in.”
Blaisdell believes Longwood has been good to her, and she hopes to return the favor. “At the end of the day, people are what matter to me the most,” Blaisdell concludes. “I spent seven years teaching health and physical education and coaching and loved it so much I wanted to work with future teachers in the profession.”