Dr. Janelle Pryor is a Professor of Biology at Alice Lloyd College with two doctoral degrees and a career in education spanning three decades. She counts Astronaut John Glenn, the first American to orbit the earth, as one of her heroes, and was even privileged to see him announce his candidacy for the Presidency when she was at Muskingum College, in 1983. She believes that the example of scientists who came before made her into the scholar she is today.
After earning a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and a minor in Chemistry from Muskingum College, Dr. Pryor went on to earn a Master’s of Science in Botany from Ohio University as well as her first doctorate in Environmental and Plant biology. During her time at Ohio University, she met her husband Dr. Robert Hamilton, who is also a Professor of Biology at Alice Lloyd College.
Dr. Pryor taught for several years at Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi, before returning to school at the University of Mississippi Medical Center to earn her second PhD in Physiology. During this time, she began to crave something more meaningful in life, and she says of this time, “I first saw an ad for Alice Lloyd in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Have you ever had something speak to you in such a way that it’s a little hard to explain? That was what it was like. I knew it was what I was looking for and I knew I wanted to be part of the mission here.”
Since arriving on Caney Creek, Dr. Pryor encourages her students to be free thinkers and to never stop asking questions. She says that inquisitiveness is the backbone of education and she also says, “It’s imperative to ask questions and to have reputable sources to back up what you have to say. That’s part of the scientific method, and it’s true for everything in life. I always remind my students that just because you saw something on the internet, that doesn’t make it true. Google isn’t always reliable, and the first items that pop up on a Google search are not necessarily the correct item you should be looking for.”
In addition to promoting curiosity, Dr. Pryor also highlights for her students the big difference between listening to someone and just hearing them. One can hear others talk all day, but without listening, it’s hard to understand what is being said. She gives her advice, “Take me, for example. I’m from eastern Ohio. People from Eastern Ohio have a specific Appalachian accent. If I go to Eastern Tennessee or West Virginia, they’ve got a completely different accent, and I have to listen extra closely so I don’t miss what’s being said. Education works the same way. If you’re unfamiliar with a topic, you just have to spend some time with it and you’ll grow more comfortable learning about it and talking about it.”
Dr. Pryor is the faculty sponsor of the ALC Impact Club, which organizes efforts aimed at community improvement in Pippa Passes. She is also the faculty sponsor of the ALC Allied Health Club, an invaluable resource to ALC students that are considering post-graduate studies in any Allied Health field, whether it be medical school, dental school, physical therapy, or physician’s assistantship. While she stays busy in her career, Dr. Pryor also enjoys crocheting, watching hockey with Dr. Hamilton, spending time with her dogs, and catching up on her favorite shows on Netflix.
Mrs. Lloyd knew that being a scholar means staying academically disciplined and being a leader means shouldering responsibility. Dr. Janelle Pryor serves as a great example for ALC students of what it means to do both of those things. Through the unwavering commitment of ALC faculty to the College’s mission and the generous donations of friends all across the country, we continue to send students every year into graduate and professional programs that help them on the road to lasting careers of service and leadership positions within their communities.