Yvette E. Pearson awarded ASCE's 2021 President’s Medal

Associate dean for accreditation to leave Rice to become vice president at University of Texas in Dallas, effective August 23.

Yvette E. Pearson

Yvette E. Pearson, the associate dean for accreditation, assessment and strategic initiatives in the Georgia R. Brown School of Engineering, has been awarded the 2021 President’s Medal, one of the highest awards given by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

“Your leadership and creativity in the diversity and inclusion aspect of engineering as demonstrated by the solid success of MOSAIC, is exemplary and deserving of outstanding recognition. You are an example to all of us for selfless service as well as determination and your impact on our profession is broad, far reaching, and long lasting,” said Jean-Louis Briaud, president of ASCE.

MOSAIC is the ASCE’s Members of Society Advancing an Inclusive Culture.

Pearson will be leaving Rice to become vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion at the University of Texas in Dallas, effective August 23.

“Yvette’s departure is a big loss for us but a great opportunity for her, and we want to wish her all the best in her new endeavor,” said Luay Nakhleh, the William and Stephanie Sick Dean of the engineering school. “Whoever we hire to succeed her has big shoes to fill, but Yvette has also laid a strong foundation for our DEI efforts in engineering.”

“She is well positioned as a leader in engineering education and outreach, including all aspects of diversity, equity and inclusion. It is no surprise, then, that Yvette received the ASCE 2021 President’s Medal. Not only has Yvette created new programs and led efforts to broaden participation in engineering; she has influenced in positive ways the conversation about DEI in our school.”

Pearson earned her Ph.D. in environmental engineering from the University of New Orleans in 2000 and joined the engineering school staff in 2016. She was elected a fellow of the ASCE in 2015.

In 2020 she was named a member of the ABET Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC). ABET is the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, the agency that accredits more than 4,000 engineering, computing, engineering technology, and applied and natural science programs in 41 countries. Six programs in the engineering school at Rice are accredited by the EAC of ABET.

Pearson has been appointed to represent ASCE as a commissioner on the EAC. Since 2013, Pearson was a program evaluator for the EAC. She was the 2019 recipient of ABET’s Claire L. Felbinger Award for Diversity and Inclusion.

She was appointed the inaugural chair of ASCE’s MOSAIC in 2019. The board-level committee is charged with “providing the Society with leadership in all matters of diversity, equity, and inclusion within the civil engineering community.” During her tenure, which ends in September, she helped revise the ASCE’s “Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion” policy statement and its Code of Ethics, and is leading the creation of a “Best Practices Guide.”

Pearson will formally receive the President’s Medal at the virtual ASCE 2021 Convention to be held Oct. 6-8.