Experiences of One of UT Tyler’s First Freshmen
Editor’s Note: The fall of 1998 was a significant moment in the history of The University of Texas at Tyler.
Fifty young, eager students not only began the next chapter of their lives, but they also helped the university begin the next chapter of its life as a traditional four-year university. They are UT Tyler's first freshman class.
Those young students have moved on to experience travel abroad, graduate schools and careers. In this series, we will take a look at life after UT Tyler for a few of those history makers.
Since graduating from UT Tyler in 2002, Beverly Pearson has experienced many things including international travel and employment, graduate school on the East Coast and teaching college English as part of a teaching fellowship.
Pearson was part of UT Tyler’s first freshman class in fall 1998. Prior to this, UT Tyler offered only junior and senior level classes.
“It was nice to be part of the first freshman class,” said Pearson. “There was a cool bond among the group and the class was small you knew just about everyone.”
After graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in English, Pearson moved to London for six months to work as sales support staff for Millennium International Communications, a production company that makes documentary films.
“Moving and learning to live in London by myself gave me a lot of self-confidence in my abilities,” said Pearson, who is from Tyler. “I was able to travel all over England and it really opened my eyes to how many places there are to see and how much is possible for you to do if you just do it.”
Pearson credits her UT Tyler education for enhancing her England experience.
“I was able to appreciate and experience England on a whole different level because of all the literature and history I had been exposed to during those four years. The English faculty at UT Tyler is outstanding, and because I worked with the professors so closely on different projects everything I experienced meant that much more,” said Pearson, who recalls standing on Nancy’s steps, a part of London where much of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist took place.
After returning home and working for a year and a half to save money, Pearson started graduate school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in fall 2004. While in graduate school, she worked as a research and teaching assistant and received a teaching fellowship that allowed her to teach two sections of English rhetoric and composition to undergraduates.
Pearson graduated from UNC with a master of arts degree in English this May. She currently plans to pursue employment in either college education or editorial/publishing. She has also begun writing children’s books, and is close to completing a book co-written by her and a current UT Tyler student called The Boy Who Lived for Christmas.
“My UT Tyler professors and education have been very instrumental in my experiences since graduation,” said Pearson. “I knew my professors on a personal level and they served as my mentors and were amazing in helping me get ready for graduate school.”
“I have been back to the campus and it has changed so much, but I think it is a good change,” said Pearson. “I loved it when I went there, but you can tell there is much more of a community feeling on campus now, which is how I think you build a university.”