Dan Pearson Interview
Major Field: Early American History (18th Century-19th Century), American Revolution
Minor Fields: Native American Race in America, First/Early Modern British Empire
We would like to offer congratulations to our former graduate student Dan Pearson on his new job as Transfer Coordinator for the Admissions Department at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During his tenure as a History Department student at Binghamton, Dan became adept at not only historical analysis but also in various forms of academic administration. Pearson originally started in our department as a student of Early American History under former professor Doug Bradburn, and most recently under Robert Parkinson.
Originally Dan wasn't quite sure what to do while applying to graduate institutions, but ultimately chose BU for its funding package and its stellar reputation. "I had a friend in the department here that said the program was really good. They had one of the best programs on Early American History in the state, and that was a subject I was really interested in." Pearson's studies resulted in dissertation work on the frontier communities in eighteenth-century New York. "It analyzes particularly how trading networks and patronage all worked into building a community that was then undone by the (American) Revolution and then moved to other parts or changed dramatically from areas that were once very polyglot. In a way that system became very, 'Here were the people that remained loyal up in Canada and who stayed up in New York.' It changed the power structures very significantly by the 1780s and 1790s, specifically trade structures."
But Dan also made numerous contributions to the department beyond his work as a graduate student. Besides teaching several courses as an adjunct on American History up to the Civil War and on the history of American baseball, Pearson also served as the Assistant to the Undergraduate Advisor of the History Department. Finding the experience gratifying and well-suited to his skill set, Dan was interested in an administrative position in which he could help guide students to achieve their goals. "I'm a person that likes to see what I've done, and it's usually hard for me to see things in the abstract ever fully complete themselves," Dan said. "With this job, you really get to help students, which is good. You also at the end of the day can say, 'I helped these students, or I helped this class, or I helped advise students to map out their path.' As time went on, I acquired enough knowledge about the job that I realized I can do other things with these skills, and so I started applying for jobs in administrative rather than academic work."
Dan will be giving similar guidance to transfer students at his new job. On his new projects for his position, Dan hopes to update the process of enrollment for the dual admissions program at Temple. "Seven other schools in the region have agreements that their classes will transfer into Temple," Dan said. "I want to update and make the program more adaptable to the 2010s. And I can easily say I learned all those skills from my current job at BU. The interviewers were impressed that I understood and was very familiar with the BANNER system. If you know BANNER and at least some Excel, you can go far in a lot of administrative positions for universities."
Dan reflected on his stay as a graduate and academic assistant at the BU History Department fondly. "The conversation I usually tell people, and it's true, that I am a very different person than from when I started. I tend to be more thought out, I tend to think about things a little harder, and definitely tend to be a little more aware of my ignorance before graduate school. During the first years of grad school I met a lot of people with similar interests, and they were definitely some of the better years of my experience. It's good to be around people that do what you do and are into similar things in and out of work." When asked if he had any advice for future graduate students at BU, Dan encouraged them to enter with an open mind. "Be open to everything that isn't necessarily tenure-track professorships. There are other things both outside academia and within academic administrations. My position at BU prepared me for my new job at Temple University. Anyone else that wants to take up side-jobs at BU will find skills that are very helpful and make you very adaptable on the job market. We wish Dan well for a long and prosperous career at Temple University!