#8 of 50: Pamela Coker, Ph.D.
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#8 of 50: Pamela Coker, Ph.D.

Certified Hypnotist and Owner of Theia Hypnotherapy, LLC

Retired Professor of Microbiology at Pima Community College

I wanted to start this overview of Pamela by calling her a Renaissance woman and then I paused in reflection because I had to think whether a Renaissance woman would have the same significance as calling a modern day multi-talented man a Renaissance man. Alas, it is not the same thing. Thank goodness we’ve come a long way, ladies, and Pamela was born in an era where she could follow her curiosity, obtain the highest college degree for her chosen profession, and pursue all the things that trigger the synapses to fire in both hemispheres of her brain.

One might even venture to call Pamela a late bloomer. She married young, had three children, and delayed pursuing a college degree until after her divorce, in her early thirties. Once Pamela started attending university in 1991 to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Biology with a concentration in Microbiology she kept going until she earned a Masters of Science in 1999, and then in 2002 she was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy from Clemson University in South Carolina.

Pamela initially thought her life’s work would be spent conducting research in laboratories to do her part to find a cure for cancer. A little more than half the time on her resume accounts for performing research before accepting a position in leadership as Director of Laboratories for a firm in Indianapolis. Her three years in Indiana provided for some very interesting and highly entertaining stories that found her leading a variety of investigations that required the use of her science skills to solve. I wanted to hear story after story after story. I still do!

During her time in Indianapolis a mutual friend felt inspired to introduce Pamela to the man who would become her future husband, Paul. The world needs its matchmakers. After only three short years living in Indy, Pamela struggled living through the cold winters. She did a bit of research on Google to find a warm, inviting place to live. Tucson checked all the boxes. Paul decided that relocating with Pamela was a great idea. They became engaged and married shortly thereafter. Pamela’s kids were a little perplexed that it took that long for the twosome to get hitched. They all uniformly responded to the engagement news with the words, “It’s about time, mom.” Paul was welcomed to the family with open arms.

In Tucson Pamela accepted a faculty position at Pima Community College where she taught Microbiology for nearly 14 years. The emergence of nasty COVID-19 led to her early retirement. Pamela loved teaching through storytelling. She has so many stories from her career that she could share with the students to underscore why certain parts of the curriculum or procedures were important. As a result Pamela garnered glowing reviews from students for her teaching style.

In 2018 Pamela launched Theia Hypnotherapy, LLC. Theia is the Titan goddess of vision and knowledge, and Pamela views hypnosis as a means of tapping into one’s inner knowledge. Pamela found hypnosis a useful tool in helping her deal with anxiety while coping with and overcoming a medical issue. Hypnosis helped her so much that she pursued becoming certified so she could learn how to help others overcome issues, such as weight control, anxiety, and fertility and IVF issues.

If all this science expertise wasn’t enough, here’s where the Renaissance woman analogy comes into play, Pamela is also an accomplished artist. In particular she experiments extensively with photography playing with a camera’s settings to capture creative images “in camera” without having to do much to manipulate the images further in Photoshop. She also designs and creates beautiful jewelry crafted from clay that are glazed and fired. She arrived at her photoshoot with jewelry she made to complement various outfits.

Looking towards the future, Pamela is anxiously awaiting for the arrival of a puppy, a mix of Poodle and Burmese Mountain Dog. And she’s always eagerly anticipating her next trip to visit her children, two sons, an attorney and a brewer/restauranteur, and a daughter, an educator at a Zoo, and her six grandsons. Now that she’s retired Pamela will have more freedom to travel to South Carolina and Florida to visit her family. Pamela also has ideas percolating – thoughts that ping pong between the left and right hemispheres of her brain - for a book that explores two of her favorite topics: science and art. She’s captured my interest. Get to writing, Pamela! Your audience awaits.

He who look outside, dreams, he who looks within, awakens. –Carl Jung

Read more about Pamela, and see additional portraits from her photoshoot, upon the release of the Wise Women: The 50 over 50 Magazine later this year.

You are invited to attend the Wise Women Portrait Gala on Thursday, October 13th at the Savoy Opera House in Tucson, Arizona from 5-9 p.m. Each participant will be featured in a creative portrait on display in the art exhibit. Buffet dinner, no-host bar, music, dancing, magic and a raffle will be part of the evening's festivities celebrating these fabulous women. Purchase tickets here on Eventbrite.

Pamela sent me an inspiration photo before her photoshoot that gave us a bit of a play in the studio to produce the following creative portrait. Pamela loves turquoise jewelry as much as I do and she wanted to feature her favorite squash blossom necklace.

Studio Lighting | Black V-Flat

Professional hair and makeup by Erika Christine Aguirre.

Location: Tucson, Arizona.