Profile of a new professor: Ms. Alisha S. Pitchford, chemistry

Ms. Alisha S. Pitchford is one of Wilkes University’s newest faculty members for the 2017-2018 academic year. Pitchford has joined as a part of the chemistry department.

Pitchford is originally from Las Vegas, and permanently moved to Northeastern Pennsylvania in 2010 after living in places like Seattle, Florida, and Mississippi.

“I’ve lived all over the place, but I like it here,” said Pitchford. “I think it is a good environment.”

Pitchford herself was a non-traditional student when she obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biotechnology from Marywood University in Scranton. Before obtaining her degrees, Pitchford was a stay at home mom.

She was first exposed to teaching when she was a graduate student at Marywood University. After graduating, she continued to teach at Marywood University and Johnson College.

Since being introduced into the world of academia, Pitchford has taught numerous biology, chemistry, algebra and laboratory classes.

“I am here for the students because that is what I care about,” she said.

Pitchford decided to pursue a career in academia rather than in biotechnology because she likes being able to help students.

Being one of the few older, non-traditional students at Marywood University, Pitchford was looked up to by fellow students for help in classes. From that point on, Pitchford has been gladly helping students in anyway she can; simply because she enjoyed helping people get to where they wanted to go.

Pitchford had originally planned on entering an aerospace engineering major, and even tried graphic design, before she was derailed by events that had come up in her life, later leaving her to take a break from college. Once her children got older, Pitchford enrolled back into college and obtained both of her degrees in biotechnology in 7 years.

“Science has just always been in my roots,” said Pitchford on how she became involved in biotechnology and chemistry.

Although some of her classes are relatively larger, Pitchford enjoys the small campus feel that Wilkes offers and finds it important to always be available to her students. Pitchford always has her door open for the students to come in, grab candy and chat.

“As a student you need support; whether it be from your professor, or whether it be from your family, or your friends, but it is better if you have all three of them,” she said.

“[At Wilkes] we try to do our best for the students,” said Pitchford.

Pitchford teaches many different chemistry classes for science and non-science majors. Within her first year, she has taught “Chemistry and Modern Society,” “General Chemistry I,” and “Fundamentals of Modern Chemistry,” on top of organic chemistry labs.

Pitchford enjoys the opportunity to teach chemistry to non-science majors because of the importance of science in the world. She went on to talk about how we need the professions that these non-science majors are in to learn about science, because scientists don’t make policies; government officials and people in private sectors do.

“Even if you are not a science major you need to know about science,” urged Pitchford.

Although she has only been here for almost a year, Pitchford feels welcomed by the community.

“I love the [Wilkes] community,” said Pitchford. “They just all want to help each other.”