Curly hair flips over one shoulder as Dr. Diana Elrod switches directions, walking closer to her Anatomy and Physiology students while she continues to lecture, explaining the differences between neutrophils and eosinophils.
Since 2008, Dr. Elrod, a Visiting Associate Professor, has taught at TWU, backed by 20 years of experience in higher education. Although, her relationship with TWU began as a teenager.
Dr. Elrod shared: “Neither of my parents had college degrees. I was raised on a little farm in a very rural part of Arkansas, but I knew I was going to go to college. And my two choices, that I wanted to go to above anything else, were William Woods University in Missouri and Texas Woman’s University. And lo and behold, I’m here!”
Beginning her college education at a local community college, before transferring to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Dr. Elrod earned her Bachelor’s degree in Biology and met her husband, Doug Elrod, the Department Chair of Sciences at North Central Texas College. Dr. Elrod and her husband have pursued professional paths in higher education since working as lab instructors in college, until present day, where they both teach Anatomy and Physiology along with other courses at separate universities.
Dr. Elrod explained: “My husband and I are both competitive people: we were both athletes, but we figured out when we were undergrads that we are better together, and we work better together…We’re competitive with what we do, but not within what we do.”
While most married couples share similar interests or hobbies, their professional lives seldom mirror their spouses so closely. However, having a spouse who teaches the same college courses, has helped Dr. Elrod in the past.
Dr. Elrod said: “I had the neuro-invasive form of West Nile in 2012, and so that really knocked my immune system down pretty badly. The fact that I had Mono in January and got West Nile in July of that year — it hit me kind of hard. TWU was awesome, they wanted to know what they could do and so my husband came in and taught for me while I recovered from it.”
After returning to TWU to teach, Dr. Elrod added her experience with West Nile to a plethora of stories she uses in her class to explain to students how the human body reacts when exposed to disease or adverse conditions.
Dr. Elrod explained: “The best educators make the information relatable, and that’s why I have no problem with people knowing I had the neuro-invasive form of West Nile.”
While Dr. Elrod’s road to her number one pick for college took much longer than she expected, and ended in teaching instead of being a student, TWU has enjoyed having her for the past eight years.