Faculty Spotlight – Meet Lora Pezzell

Lora BensonWe’d like to introduce you to Lora Pezzell, an online instructor at Carrington College California.  Lora has taught Business Management and Communications classes at Carrington for more than 4 years.

A resident of Elk Grove in Sacramento, CA, Lora was born in Oklahoma City, but grew up in northern New Mexico before moving to California when she was 18.  As well as working as an online instructor, Lora also spent 3 years as an Academic Success Coach at our Sacramento campus. Having graduated from a community college with a degree in the health care field, she related well to the students she advised.

Before completing her master’s degree eight years ago, Lora worked in the health care field for over 15 years. She has experience as a dental assistant, and as a dental office manager.

“My master’s was in Organizational Management, with an emphasis in Human Resources. After I finished my degree I managed a big dental office in downtown Seattle for a corporate dental group that had locations in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. It was a challenging office to manage; it demanded a certain amount of finesse to keep the patients happy! I was only up in the Pacific North-West for about 18 months. It was too cold and wet for me!”

Lora moved back to California about 6 years ago when her husband Marc was offered a job at the Sacramento Public Library. After moving back Lora found a job with a dental consulting firm, but a month or two later she discovered she was pregnant.

“It was quite a lot to take in over just a few months; moving back to California, starting a new job, and then finding out I was pregnant! I wanted a job that would give me the flexibility to be able to spend time with my son while he was young, so that’s how I became a part-time professor.”

During her time with the dental consulting firm, Lora discovered that she really enjoyed the teaching and training aspect of the job. Combined with the flexibility that part-time teaching would offer, she decided it was a career she really wanted to explore. What’s more her master’s degree meant that she was qualified to teach associate level undergraduate classes.

“I joke that no matter what I do I can never get away from teeth! A lot of the students that I tutored in my role as an advisor on campus were dental assistants or dental hygienists. I always seemed to find myself in the lunch room hanging out with dental people!”

The classes that Lora currently teaches are Interpersonal Communication (SPH 205) and Computer Literacy (CLT 100); Lora is an online instructor but she teaches students who are studying campus based degree programs such as Pharmacy Technology, Veterinary Technology, and Criminal Justice.

Lora always tries to ensure that her feedback to students is motivating, and is designed to help them succeed with their assignments. In fact her favorite motivational saying for students is that “When you apply yourself, amazing things happen.” Lora can recall several rewarding moments during the last 4 years at Carrington College California; she shared a couple with us.

“As an Academic Coach I worked with this particular student for over a year. She was really struggling with the Pharmacy Technology program. She thought she was going to get kicked out because she was on academic probation. I worked hard with her; I told her – ‘This is your life it’s up to you to turn it around’. When she would make excuses I wouldn’t take no for an answer. She did turn it around; she graduated, and is now studying to get her bachelor’s degree.

There was another student in the Medical Billing & Coding program who grew up in the foster system; he had some learning difficulties and never had anyone be there for him. It meant a lot to him to have somebody in his corner. I helped him overcome some of those learning disabilities to enable him to be successful in life as well as the classroom. I let him know I believed in him, and he latched on to that.” 

During our faculty spotlight interviews we try to discover a snippet of information that you would never guess about our faculty members. We learned that Lora isn’t easily star-struck!

Prior to completing her master’s, Lora worked at a dental office in Beverly Hills where she met a number of actors, actresses and musicians. Thanks to HIPPA, the Health Care Privacy Act, we can’t share names with you, but one high profile customer in particular would need special treatment…

“We would have to let this person in the back door of our dental office through the lab, close all the blinds, and disguise the schedule so it wouldn’t show their real name. It turned out to be too much work though; they wouldn’t show up as scheduled, and we’d have to manage their entourage. It was very high maintenance and could shut down our entire operation. We had to work around it, to try and be flexible to accommodate them and our regular customers.

I have to say, being star-struck goes away really quickly when you have to worry about scheduling and collecting money for your boss.”

Married to Marc, Lora’s son Noah is now 5 years old; it seems that the 2 boys in her life always keep Lora on her toes.

“Marc is a little crazy, and Noah can be hysterical too! As part of his librarian duties Marc’s doing a zombie treasure hunt for teenagers right now! As for Noah, he says the funniest things all the time. He told me yesterday that he wants to be a tow-truck driver when he grows up!”

As we do with all our Faculty Spotlights, we asked Lora what book, movie and music she would want with her if she was stuck on a desert island, and who she would choose as a companion?

Desert Island DVD – “The Downton Abbey series. I wouldn’t mind seeing the whole thing all over again.”

Desert Island Book - “That’s a hard decision! I think I’d take 4 Jane Austen books; Mansfield Park is my favorite.”

Desert Island Music - “I’d take an Enigma album. It’s kind of like Gregorian chants with a modern twist, and I haven’t listened to it in a while.”

Desert Island Companion – “I’d definitely take my husband! We don’t get much personal time these days having a kid. It would give us a chance to reconnect.”

Thanks for taking the time to speak with us Lora! We appreciate your time and your ongoing work with our students!

 

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