Getting to know: Melinda Ameele

Physical Activity Courses (PAC) Instructor

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Melinda Ameele joined the College of Public Health and Human Sciences in 2000 and has held positions including EXSS, HHS and PAC instructor; Lifetime Fitness for Health program coordinator; PAC director support; PAC facilitator; and PAC activity leader (team sports). She earned a master’s degree in Teaching Physical Education K-12 from Portland State University and an undergraduate degree in Teaching Physical Education K-12 from Oregon State. While attending Oregon State, Melinda was a member of the volleyball and softball teams, and went to the College World Series in 1977, ’78 and ’79. In 2012, she was honored as an All-American for 1979.


What made you decide to get into this field? Is there one specific moment that inspired your career path?

“I had excellent role models in high school. One of my PE teachers, who was also my volleyball coach, talked me out of becoming a math teacher. Instead, she encouraged me to pursue Physical Education. Ironically, before she retired, this mentor followed her dream and became a math teacher.”

Why did you choose to work at Oregon State/PHHS?

Melinda-Ameele-Synergies“I love teaching at my alma mater. I had exceptional professors, instructors and coaches who greatly impacted the way I teach today. Such people as Kathy Heath, Pat Ingram, Sylvia Moore, Lois Pye, Dick Irvin and Dow Poling were fabulous role models for me.

Actually, people at Oregon State chose me – I was not looking to teach when my friend, Mary Law, ’82, ’85, recruited me. In 2000, I had been home raising kids for 10 years before meeting Ann Asbell, former director of the PAC program. Ann gave me an advanced volleyball class and ultimate frisbee to teach, then had me meet Tony Wilcox, who added a Lifetime Fitness for Health lab.

My teaching schedule eventually grew to 10 classes before I was recruited to coordinate the HHS 231 program. I held that position, and reduced the number of PACs to teach, from 2008-2012.

I was also privileged to teach EXSS 360, Sport Skills Analysis, for four years.”

“What I love most about my job is getting the opportunity to positively impact those who take my classes.”

Melinda-Ameele-Synergies3What is your favorite part about working in Exercise and Sport Science/PAC?

“What I love most about my job is getting the opportunity to positively impact those who take my classes. I get to work closely with such a diverse group of people with different backgrounds and skill levels, and see change take place. Not only do skills and knowledge of the sport improve, but strong friendships develop among the students as well.”

What do you believe is your greatest accomplishment in the field?

“I feel the greatest accomplishment in my teaching is when students inform me of the healthy lifestyle changes they made as a result of being in my class.”

How are you going to change people’s lives with your work?

“My passion is to exhort and uplift people to accomplish more than they thought they were capable of doing. My goal each term is to interact with each student in such a way that they know I care about them beyond the class I teach.”

What is the best advice you ever received, and who gave it?

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“There are so many people who have given me sound advice. The one that stands out over all others comes from the Bible. ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind. And, love your neighbor as yourself.’”

What advice would you like to give to students and young alums?

“It is OK not to know what you will do when you graduate. Take in what is around you now, including help that is readily available to you. Purpose to learn something every day and try to remove ‘bored’ from your vocabulary.

Show gratitude to those who helped you through Oregon State University and give back when you can. Go BEAVS!”

What is one surprising thing about you that not many people know?

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“I held the Oregon State Softball Career RBI record for 20 years. My husband and I happened to be at the game in Hawaii when Tarrah Beyster, ’00, broke the record.”

What are your favorite activities outside of work?

“I love being with my husband of 34 years. He is a great cook, and I love being his sous chef. For years, we have enjoyed making weekly dinners and leading studies with our church group.

I love the outdoors, especially the beach. I enjoy baking, reading, visiting with others and riding my motorcycle. And, anytime I get to be with my kids is very good for my soul.”