Dr. Marcia Harrison-Pitaniello joined the Marshall faculty in 1986 as an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. She currently is a professor who researches plant hormone physiology with a particular interest in enhancing undergraduate research and educational outreach in plant sciences.
She has mentored more than 35 student researchers at Marshall and currently oversees a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant which mentors undergraduate students in year-long mathematical biology research projects. In 2012, she became a BEN (BioSciEduNet) Scholar, sponsored by the National Science Digital Library. BEN Scholars are given support to promote the use of digital libraries and inquiry-based learning in biology lecture and laboratory courses. As a BEN Scholar, Harrison-Pitaniello published an education article about imaging plant growth along with developing educational videos. She also oversees Marshall’s WV NASA Space Grant Consortium, awarding student scholarships, travel grants, and faculty research enhancement grants.
With continued interested in NASA-supported research, she served on the Education Committee, and is a current member of the Board of Governors for the American Society for Gravitational and Space Biology. In addition, she was the Principal Investigator of an NSF-funded MU-ADVANCE Program, an innovative networking effort between female STEM faculty working with administrative partners to develop university-level best practices for recruitment, new faculty orientation, and faculty retention.
She is the current president of the MU Chapter of Sigma Xi, Public Relations Officer for the MU Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi, and Communications Director for the West Virginia Academy of Science. She was also the director of the WV State Science and Engineering Fair from 2000 through 2007. Her honors include the Marshall Women of Color Award, MU Distinguished Service Award, and Dr. Carolyn Hunter Distinguished Faculty Service Award.