by Callie Chaney, Student Contributor
Professor Sara Pitts can recall the moment she knew she was destined for a career in communication studies. Seated in the admission’s office of Western Kentucky University, she watched as counselors zipped in and out of offices, speaking to and with prospective students. She leaned over to her mom and said, “Mom, I could do that….”
So, she did.
In 2009 Professor Pitts graduated from Western Kentucky University with a degree in Corporate and Organization Communication. She later obtained a Master of Arts in Education with a focus on student affairs and counseling. She worked as an advisor in higher education because, in her words, she desired to work with those who go to a university rather than those who work at a university. Fulfilling the goal she had spoken to her mother years ago in the WKU admission’s office, Sara Pitts had manifested her dream into existence. Eventually, her career came to a crossroads, and she decided to pursue a Ph.D. at West Virginia University as a way of transitioning into a career as a professor.
Originally from Bowling Green, Kentucky, Professor Pitts learned about Appalachian culture while pursuing her doctorate at WVU in Morgantown, West Virginia. “While I am most certainly a Kentuckian,” she says, “and on many occasions would claim to be a Hilltopper, never have I ever claimed to be from Appalachia.” But WVU, like Alice Lloyd College, was founded with a mission to educate local, Appalachian students. During her Doctorate studies, she learned what it means to serve Appalachia, so when she was offered the position to teach at ALC, she says, “It felt like the stars had aligned to be able to continue to serve the region while also being able to do what I love, which is teach.”
Sara Pitts has a friend originally from Pikeville, Kentucky, only an hour from campus, who knew she was on the job market and that ALC was looking to grow its communications program. Knowing she would be a great fit, he encouraged her to apply. She took his advice and was hired as Assistant Professor of Communication Studies and began teaching in the fall of 2020.
Before moving to Pippa Passes, Professor Pitts rescued a dog named Archie, who has been her steady companion during the transition. Since she moved to campus during the pandemic’s height, she spent most of her quarantined time enjoying hobbies such as baking and cooking.
When classes resumed in person last fall, she was greeted by ALC’s warm sense of community. “I appreciated my students’ immediate willingness to accept me,” she says. “It was overwhelmingly kind of them.”
Professor Pitts is known as the professor with a daily attendance question – ranging from “Would you rather…” to “What if….” She believes these questions allow her and the students to learn about each other in a light-hearted way. In just a small-time at ALC, she has made a big impact. She looks forward to watching and aiding in the growth of the new Communication Studies major!