"I’m a Texan.  With the exception of 10 months I spent in Indiana working on my Master’s degree, I’ve been here all my life, and will probably never leave for very long," says Joanna Soles, Assistant Professor of Kinesiology & Clinical Director.

Ms. Soles grew up in a small town where "a normal childhood consisted of roaming the town with a couple of friends, racking up tabs at the Mini-mart and the card shop, and having to go home when the street lights came on."  After 13 years at the same school (K-12), Joanna was ready to leave town and looked at colleges across the nation before she decided to stay in Texas.  She went to Southwestern University in Georgetown to pursue math, or veterinary medicine, or regular medicine.  About choosing a major she says, "I chickened out of math after Calc. II and barely survived Chem. I, so I opened the catalog and made a list of majors that required no more of either."

After finishing the athletic training program at Southwestern, Joanna moved on to Indiana University.  "I figured if I was ever going to live outside of Texas, it would be best if it were just a one-year commitment."  She was ready to come home by October.  There were snow flurries at the first football game she worked in September and snow flurries at an April softball game.  During grad school, Joanna worked as a clinical outreach athletic trainer serving an area high school.  "I loved it, and decided that was the direction I wanted to go.  I took a job at Taylor High School where I stayed for four years as the head athletic trainer."

Ms. Soles has been at ETBU since 2006 in the athletic training program.  She first started in a dual role, teaching and covering soccer, basketball, and baseball as an athletic trainer.  Joanna met her husband in those early days of late nights at soccer games and basketball games here at ETBU, where he always helped worked the officials table.  Her position has transitioned so that now she is primarily teaching and is off the sports fields. She credits this shift for allowing her more time to finish her doctorate and to spend more time with her family.  Joanna and her husband Jason have two boys (Spencer and Eli) who "make each day an adventure."  The Soles are active members of Mobberly Baptist Church (Marshall campus).

What brought you to ETBU?

I am an East Texas girl.  I grew up just down the road in White Oak, so coming to ETBU was like coming home.  Before I came here, I was the only athletic trainer at a 4A high school.  I loved my job, but the long hours made it not very conducive to having a family (plus I missed the trees of East Texas).  When I decided it was time for a change, this job was the only one that caught my attention.  I trusted God to lead me where I should be, and I’m so thankful He led me here.  When I came on campus for my interview the friendliness of the staff, students, and faculty won me over; they truly made me feel welcome.  Moving to the college level was always a plan of mine, and ETBU has been a great fit. 

What makes students successful in your class?

I want every student to be successful in my class.  If a student is intentional about learning, they will succeed both in my classes and in the athletic training program.  Students that are engaged during class and study diligently will thrive in any class, including mine.  Since the athletic training program is designed to prepare students to enter into a healthcare field, I expect students to really be passionate about the material and invest the time required to learn it.  It is all information that they will need in the future as they make decisions about their own athletes’ care and treatment.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned from your ETBU students?

Probably the most valuable lesson has been that students have huge potential.  If you set the standards high and provide the proper support along the way, students will meet every expectation you have, and often go far beyond what you expect. 

How do you promote Christian Scholarship in your classroom?

Athletic training is all about serving others and providing care in times of need.  If those roles are a good fit with students’ spiritual gifts, much of athletic training will come naturally to them.  In the clinical setting, our students are exposed to athletic trainers who treat patients with Christ-like love and compassion.  Those qualities are promoted throughout our curriculum through discussions on things like quality patient interactions and prayer as a healing modality. 


Joanna Soles, MS, AT

Assistant Professor of Kinesiology & Clinical Director, '06

Doctor of Health Science, March 2015
A.T. Still University
Mesa, AZ

Masters of Science in Athletic Training, 2002
Indiana University
Bloomington, IN

Bachelor of Arts in Kinesiology, 2001
Southwestern University
Georgetown, TX

Areas of expertise:
Athletic Training, Sports Medicine, Injury Evaluation & Rehabilitation