Dr. Fitch grew up in hiking the mountains around Tucson, Ariz. and spent her summers combing the beach in California for seashells, experiences which contributed to her world outlook. She left the west for the first time to go to college received her B.A. in Cultural Anthropology/Latin American Studies in 1975 from Antioch College, Ohio. During the course of her undergraduate studies she lived for a total of two years in both Colombia and Mexico. Her original post-college goal was to work in international development which moved her from Anthropology into Soil Fertility (1977, M.S. University of Arizona) to Soil Chemistry (Ph.D. University of Illinois Champaign Urbana, 1981, Frank Stevenson). Her chemistry experiences inspired her into a career in chemistry (postdoctorals in Electrochemistry, 1981-1984 U.W. Madison (Dennis Evans) and 1984 Northwestern University (Don Smith and Rick Van Duyne). In 1985 she joined the faculty at Loyola, becoming full professor in 1995. Her research focus (60 publications to date, EPA and NSF funded) uses clay-modified electrodes to study transport phenomena in thin clay films. This work has applications in natural phenomena, remediation of polluted environments, support matrices for sensors, and microelectronics. Dr. Fitch was named Loyola University Faculty scholar in 2000. In 2004 Dr.Fitch was awarded an NSF Discovery Corps fellowship to bring Loyola's GC-MS online for use in joint teaching and research with institutions in East Africa. Fall 2006 she was awarded the Gibbs Award for Promotion of Excellence in the Teaching of Analytical Chemistry by the Analytical Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society. The talks in her honor on the topic of mentoring and service learning can be accessed within this site at the Gibbs Award page.
Dr. Fitch has served as a local officer for the Electrochemical Society, a national board member for the Clay Minerals Society, and is currently a councilor for the Analytical Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society. She serves on the ACS presidential committee on ethics. She also serves as a lead judge in environmental sciences for the Siemens Science Competition for high school students. She is an associate editor of the Analytical Sciences Digital Library. She has helped advise NSF in the area of digital chemistry and in the creation of undergraduate research centers.
Fall 1998 Dr. Fitch assumed the position of Director of the new interdisciplinary a position she held until 2002. She has worked actively in the area of chemical education revamping the instrumental chemistry lab to a single analyte lab based on community derived lead containing samples leading to a national award from Anheuser-Busch in 1996, designation as Master Teacher in the College of Arts and Sciences at Loyola in 1997, nomination in 1998 for the national Thomas Ehrlich Campus Compact Service Teaching Award, and designation as a Loyola University Faculty Scholar. The service learning component of the instrumental course led her to take a fellowship from the Center for Ethics at Loyola. She has recently completed a full draft of a text (Lead and Humanity) for a course cross listed with History and Chemistry. Materials from the class have also been organized into a Freshman Chemistry Companion designed to use examples from lead material science and toxicology into the freshman sequence.
Dr. Fitch is also a member of the Chicago Alliance of Playwrights. She is the author of three plays; one on Cold Fusion (read at the Goodman Theater), one on Mies van der Rohe and Low Income Urban Housing; and one on Lead Poisoning in a 1920s leaded gasoline factory. This play has been read by professional artists in Seattle, and by the Loyola University Theatre Department. She is the mother of Erika, 19, and Adam, 17, and wife of Al B. Benson, professor of medical oncology at Northwestern Medical School.