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Willie Pearson, Jr.

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Information about Willie Pearson, Jr.

Profile image of Willie Pearson, Jr.

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Sociologist
Sociology Professor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
Winter
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
6/29/1945
Birth Location:
Rusk, Texas

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Sociologist
Sociology Professor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
Winter
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
6/29/1945
Birth Location:
Rusk
See how Willie Pearson, Jr. is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Sociologist Willie Pearson, Jr. was born on June 29, 1945 in Rusk, Texas. In 1968, Pearson graduated with honors from Wiley College with his B.A. degree in Sociology. Three years later, Pearson earned his M.A. degree in sociology (Presidential Scholarship) from Atlanta University. He received his Ph.D. degree in sociology in 1981 from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

After graduating from college, Pearson moved to Kansas City, Missouri where he worked as a benefits claims examiner at the Department of Health Education and Welfare and as an administrative and legal specialist for the United States Army. In 1972, Pearson was hired as an assistant professor in the sociology and anthropology departments at Grambling State University where he was named an outstanding teacher. Pearson moved to North Carolina where he worked as an assistant professor at Wake Forest University in 1980 while completing his dissertation. In 1985, Pearson completed his first book, Black Scientists, White Society and Colorless Science: A Study of Universalism in American Science. In 1988, Pearson was awarded a Congressional Fellowship from the Office of Technology Assessment, Congress and received tenure at Wake Forest University. In 2001, Pearson joined the faculty at Georgia Institute of Technology as a sociology professor and chair of the School of History, Technology and Society. During the same year, Pearson was named a National Associate (life-time appointment) of the National Academy of Sciences.

Most of Pearson's research has centered around the U.S. scientific and engineering workforce and on broadening participation of underrepresented groups in science and engineering. In addition to having published numerous articles in newspapers and academic journals, Pearson has authored and co-authored seven books and monographs, including Blacks, Education and American Science , Who Will Do Science?: Educating the Next Generation, The Role and Activities of American Graduate Schools in Recruiting, Enrolling and Retaining United States Black and Hispanic Students, and Beyond Small Numbers: Voices of African American Ph.D. Chemists. Pearson has served on numerous committees, advisory boards and panels at the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, American Sociological Association and many more. He has a love of teaching, research and community service and he has mentored numerous undergraduate and graduate students throughout his career. Pearson has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Schoonmaker Faculty Prize for Community Service from the Wake Forest University Alumni Council and the Distinguished Lecturer award from Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society.

Willie Pearson, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 13, 2011.

See how Willie Pearson, Jr. is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Willie Pearson, Jr.'s interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Willie Pearson, Jr. lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Willie Pearson, Jr. describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Willie Pearson, Jr. talks about his mother's roots in Texas, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Willie Pearson, Jr. talks about his mother's roots in Texas, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Willie Pearson, Jr. describes his maternal family's landownership
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Willie Pearson, Jr. talks about the African American community in East Texas
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Willie Pearson, Jr. describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Willie Person, Jr. remembers his relationship with his father
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Willie Pearson, Jr. reflects upon the lack of knowledge about his family background
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Willie Pearson, Jr. talks about his parents' divorce
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Willie Pearson, Jr. describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Willie Pearson, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Willie Pearson, Jr. describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Willie Pearson, Jr. recalls the African American communities in Tyler, Texas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Willie Pearson, Jr. describes the Juneteenth celebrations in Texas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Willie Pearson, Jr. recalls exploring his neighborhood as a child
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Willie Pearson, Jr. describes his early religious experiences
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Willie Pearson, Jr. describes his activities at the Bethlehem First Baptist Church in Tyler, Texas
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Willie Pearson, Jr. recalls his experiences at W.A. Peete Elementary School in Tyler, Texas
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Willie Pearson, Jr. remembers his favorite elementary school teachers, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Willie Pearson, Jr. remembers his favorite elementary school teachers, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Willie Pearson, Jr. recalls the sports teams at W.A. Peete Intermediate School in Tyler, Texas
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Willie Pearson, Jr. remembers his teachers at Emmett J. Scott High School in Tyler, Texas
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Willie Pearson, Jr. recalls playing sports at Emmett J. Scott High School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Willie Pearson, Jr. talks about his early understanding of gender roles
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Willie Pearson, Jr. describes his early curiosity about the social sciences
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Willie Pearson, Jr. remembers questioning religion
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Willie Pearson, Jr. describes his athletic experiences at Emmett J. Scott Elementary School in Tyler, Texas
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Willie Pearson, Jr. talks about the professional athletes from Tyler, Texas
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Willie Pearson, Jr. describes his high school extracurricular activities
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Willie Pearson, Jr. recalls his decision to attend Wiley College in Marshall, Texas
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Willie Pearson, Jr. talks about the prominent alumni of Wiley College, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Willie Pearson, Jr. describes his first impressions of Wiley College
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Willie Pearson, Jr. remembers the diverse faculty at Wiley College
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Willie Pearson, Jr. describes his coursework at Wiley College
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Willie Pearson, Jr. talks about the prominent alumni of Wiley College, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Willie Pearson, Jr. remembers the civil rights activities at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Willie Pearson, Jr. talks about the connection between Wiley College and northern educational institutions
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Willie Pearson, Jr. talks about the ideologies of Malcolm X and Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Willie Pearson, Jr. describes the benefits of a liberal arts education
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Willie Pearson, Jr. recalls organizing a protest after Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s death
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Willie Pearson, Jr. recalls graduating from Wiley College
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Willie Pearson, Jr. remembers being drafted into the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Willie Pearson, Jr. recalls his sports activities in the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Willie Pearson, Jr. describes his experiences in the U.S. military
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Willie Pearson, Jr. recalls the lack of black faculty at Atlanta University
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Willie Pearson, Jr. remembers the prominent figures at the Atlanta University Center
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Willie Pearson, Jr. describes the sociology curriculum at Atlanta University
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Willie Pearson, Jr. talks about his experiences at Atlanta University
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Willie Pearson, Jr. remembers working for Kelly Spring Tire Company
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Willie Pearson, Jr. recalls his decision to join the faculty at Grambling College in Grambling, Louisiana
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Willie Pearson, Jr. recalls marrying his wife
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Willie Pearson, Jr. describes his teaching experiences at Grambling College in Grambling, Louisiana
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Willie Pearson, Jr. talks about his accomplishments as a professor at Grambling College
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Willie Pearson, Jr. remembers teaching at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, Louisiana
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Willie Pearson, Jr. describes his students at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, Louisiana
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Willie Pearson, Jr. recalls his decision to attend Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Willie Pearson, Jr. remembers his decision to focus on the sociology of science
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Willie Pearson, Jr. recalls his research grant at Southern Illinois University
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Willie Pearson, Jr. remembers being mentored by his doctoral professors, pt. 1
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Willie Pearson, Jr. remembers being mentored by his doctoral professors, pt. 2
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Willie Pearson, Jr. recalls his aspirations for his career
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Willie Pearson, Jr. talks about the problems faced by professors with multiple departmental appointments
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Willie Pearson, Jr. recalls his decision to join the faculty of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Willie Pearson, Jr. describes how he was evaluated as a professor at Wake Forest University
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Willie Pearson, Jr. remembers the African American professors at Wake Forest University
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Willie Pearson, Jr. talks about the findings of his Ph.D. dissertation, pt. 1
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Willie Pearson, Jr. talks about the findings of his Ph.D. dissertation, pt. 2
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Willie Pearson, Jr. talks about the lack of visibility of African American scientists
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Willie Pearson, Jr. describes his book, 'Black Scientists, White Society and Colorless Science,' pt. 1
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Willie Pearson, Jr. describes his book, 'Black Scientists, White Society and Colorless Science,' pt. 2
  • Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Willie Pearson, Jr. talks about science education in the African Americans community
  • Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Willie Pearson, Jr. describes the Mid-South Sociological Association
  • Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Willie Pearson, Jr. recalls serving on the editorial board of Contemporary Sociology
  • Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Willie Pearson, Jr. talks about his work with the Office of Technology Assessment
  • Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Willie Pearson, Jr. talks about his work with the National Science Foundation
  • Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Willie Pearson, Jr. describes his work on Project Mosaic
  • Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Willie Pearson, Jr. talks about his edited volume, 'Who Will Do Science?'
  • Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Willie Pearson, Jr. describes U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno's five city project, pt. 1
  • Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Willie Pearson, Jr. describes U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno's five city project, pt. 2
  • Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Willie Pearson, Jr. talks about the prevalence of youth violence in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Willie Pearson, Jr. reflects upon the consequences of defunding social programs
  • Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Willie Pearson, Jr. talks about the low retention of black high school students
  • Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Willie Pearson, Jr. talks about his book, 'The Role and Activities of American Graduate Schools'
  • Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Willie Pearson, Jr. reflects upon the credibility of social science research
  • Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Willie Pearson, Jr. talks about the sociology of education
  • Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Willie Pearson, Jr. reflects upon the public misunderstanding of the social sciences
  • Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Willie Pearson, Jr. talks about higher education initiatives
  • Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Willie Pearson, Jr. describes the repercussions of underperforming schools
  • Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Willie Pearson, Jr. recalls joining the faculty of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 11 Story: 8 - Willie Pearson, Jr. talks about his book, 'Beyond Small Numbers'
  • Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Willie Pearson, Jr. talks about his study of African American chemists, pt. 1
  • Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Willie Pearson, Jr. talks about his study of African American chemists, pt. 2
  • Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Willie Pearson, Jr. recalls his teaching experiences at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 12 Story: 4 - Willie Pearson, Jr. describes his current research projects
  • Tape: 12 Story: 5 - Willie Pearson, Jr. talks about researching his family history
  • Tape: 12 Story: 6 - Willie Pearson, Jr. describes his family
  • Tape: 12 Story: 7 - Willie Pearson, Jr. reflects upon his experiences at the Kelly Springfield Tire Company
  • Tape: 12 Story: 8 - Willie Pearson, Jr. talks about his friendships
  • Tape: 12 Story: 9 - Willie Pearson, Jr. reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 13 Story: 1 - Willie Pearson, Jr. shares his advice to future scholars
  • Tape: 13 Story: 2 - Willie Pearson, Jr. talks about the underrepresentation of African Americans in sociology
  • Tape: 13 Story: 3 - Willie Pearson, Jr. describes the importance of mentorship
  • Tape: 13 Story: 4 - Willie Pearson, Jr. talks about the importance of sociological research
  • Tape: 13 Story: 5 - Willie Pearson, Jr. describes his concerns for urban communities
  • Tape: 13 Story: 6 - Willie Pearson, Jr. talks about the practical utility of sociology
  • Tape: 13 Story: 7 - Willie Pearson, Jr. reflects upon the benefits of a sociology background
  • Tape: 13 Story: 8 - Willie Pearson, Jr. talks about making science accessible to the everyday person
  • Tape: 14 Story: 1 - Willie Pearson, Jr. talks about the value of quantitative research methods
  • Tape: 14 Story: 2 - Willie Pearson, Jr. describes the challenges faced by social scientists
  • Tape: 14 Story: 3 - Willie Pearson, Jr. talks about the importance of peer review
  • Tape: 14 Story: 4 - Willie Pearson, Jr. describes the careers of his wife and children
  • Tape: 14 Story: 5 - Willie Pearson, Jr. describes how he would like to be remembered