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News: Hard work pays off for Roane State physical therapist assistant graduate

News: Hard work pays off for Roane State physical therapist assistant graduate

Xue "Lisha" Alcott

Aug. 23, 2019

By Bob Fowler
Roane State staff writer

Through hard work, tenacity and sheer grit, this native of China graduated from Roane State’s physical therapist assistant program.

Xue "Lisha" Alcott, 41, overcame several hardships, including the death of her husband and the need to improve her English language skills, but received her associate degree in PTA this July.

Alcott enrolled in the program last July and persevered, waking up at 4 a.m. to study for a couple of hours, getting her two children ready for school, and sharpening her language skills.

"She accomplished her goals through diligence and hard work," PTA Program Director Beth Vowell said. "She's an inspiration."

Alcott said Vowell was one of the first people she encountered at Roane State "and gave me a warm welcome."

Others who have played key roles in her success, Alcott said, include Emily DeLozier, a member of the PTA faculty, and Robin Leib, director of the Learning Center on Roane State's Oak Ridge campus, who worked with her to help improve her English writing skills.

Alcott grew up in Shenyang, China, a city of more than 8 million. She taught math in Shenyang and met her future spouse, businessman Robert Alcott, as he was on tour.

They married, started a family and moved to Dallas. Robert Alcott died of a heart attack in 2013 and Lisha Alcott moved with her children, Ashleigh, now 13, and Dylan, 7, to Clinton, Tenn.

Alcott said her sister, Shirley Razote, also lives there with her husband.

Needing to support her family, Alcott said she at first considered becoming a real estate agent but decided it wouldn't be a reliable source of income. "A friend was a PTA and said the program was hard but you can get a job pretty much in every state you go," Alcott said.

To learn more about Roane State’s physical therapist assistant program, visit

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