Dr. Pearson oversees and manages accreditation and assessment activities for all degree programs, minors, and certificates in the School of Engineering and provides leadership to ensure that all School processes, policies, and strategic initiatives are implemented according to best practices for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). She leads research and School-level outreach efforts that focus on equitable engagement of persons from traditionally marginalized identities in STEM education. Immediately prior to joining Rice, Dr. Pearson was a Program Director in the Division of Undergraduate Education at the National Science Foundation and Associate Chair of the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington.
A Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Dr. Pearson is recognized globally for her work along the intersections of sustainability, diversity, equity, and inclusion. As past chair of ASCE's Formal Engineering Education Committee she led initiatives to infuse engineering curricula with principles of sustainability and to promote strategies towards the attainment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, emphasizing targets aimed at ensuring equity for people in traditionally marginalized populations. As past vice chair of ASCE's Committee on Diversity and Inclusion she was part of the team that authored Canon 8 of ASCE's Code of Ethics, providing specific leadership for the principle that requires engineers to consider the diversity of the communities they serve and to include diverse perspectives in planning and performing their work. In 2019, she was appointed the inaugural chair of ASCE's board-level advisory council, MOSAIC (Members of Society Advancing an Inclusive Culture), which is charged with leading the Society in all matters of DEI for the profession. Among her numerous awards and honors are ABET's Claire L. Felbinger Award for Diversity and Inclusion, ASCE's Professional Practice Ethics and Leadership Award, and the University of Texas Regents Award for Excellence in Teaching. Dr. Pearson is a registered Professional Engineer and a Commissioner for the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of ABET.