From Police Officer to PhD

Our fourth and final Remarkable Woman nominee is Patricia Tille. “I was born and raised in Sioux Falls and I was a female police officer back in the early days when there weren’t a lot of us and then decided I was going to go to college,” Tille said. After serving eight years in the Sioux Falls Police Department, Patricia Tille made a major life change for her whole family. “I was on the police force for eight years before I went to college so I was a non traditional student and had four kids while I was in college and worked full time,” Tille said.

“It was very normal for her to be playing around with trinkets at the kitchen table while she’s trying to figure out what bacteria this is,” her daughter and nominator Malissa Tille said. Tille completed her biology degree at the University of Sioux Falls. “I was always intrigued by microbiology, it’s one of the areas that is very hands on still to this day, and I was always fascinated in genetics, so that’s why my doctorate is in microbial genetics,” Tille said. She went on to get a PhD in biomedical health science from the University of South Dakota School of Medicine in Vermilion.

She now runs the masters program at the University of Cincinnati, all from her home in Sioux Falls. “Last year I had 310 students in my microbiology class,” Tille said. But her reach in the field of microbiology touches far more students. “I’ve had my own text book now for about 10 years, working on the 15th edition of it, it is the top diagnostic micro book in the world, it actually is international, I have a Korean edition as well as mine here,” Tille said.

A Celebrity in Microbiology

She’s a bit of a celebrity at microbiology gatherings around the country. “When I was with her out in Philadelphia we had a kid come up and talk to me and be like, oh my gosh, your teacher is Pat Tille, do you think I could get her to sign my book?” Clarke said. Tille is currently the chair of the National Microbiology Advisory committee, a subsidiary of the World Health Organization. “I write statements for WHO every year for critical issues in microbiology,” Tille said.

From the coronavirus, to the Ebola outbreak and SARs, Tille says microbiologists are intimately involved in the fight against many diseases. “We’re kind of hidden, most people don’t know who we are, they know who doctors and nurses are, but they don’t realize what impact the lab people have on their diagnosis,” Tille said. She wants laboratory students everywhere to know they can also make a remarkable difference in the world.

Remarkable Women Announcements

Earlier this year, Davenport Evans Law Firm partnered with Keloland Television to seek nominations for the Remarkable Women of KELOLAND Initiative. KELOLAND received dozens of incredible nominations and has selected four finalists to share more of their stories. They will announce one finalist per week on KELOLAND Living. Read their full stories here. The third finalist was announced March 3, 2020.

Remarkable Women of KELOLAND, presented by Davenport Evans Law Firm, is part of a nationwide Nexstar Media initiative to honor the influence that women have had on public policy, social progress and quality of life. You can learn about all four nominees in our Remarkable Women special which airs Tuesday, March 3rd at 6:30 PM, on KELOLAND Stations. The local winner will be announced March 6.

Davenport, Evans, Hurwitz & Smith, LLP, located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is one of the State’s largest law firms. The firm’s attorneys provide business and litigation counsel to individuals and corporate clients in a variety of practice areas. For more information about Davenport Evans, visit