UWGB Nutrition Professor Dr. Debra Pearson has traveled across the world to educate women in the sciences. She breaks down social barriers while empowering women with knowledge. In celebration of Women’s History Month, she shared her global experiences.
Debra is recognized as a caring, knowledgeable professor at UWGB. Her students rave about her teaching and charismatic character. She also extends her kindness and love for teaching – well beyond the classrooms of Green Bay, Wisconsin.
For 15 years, Debra has provided educational opportunities for girls in rural Tanzania – a country just south of the Equator on Africa’s East Coast. Her efforts to educate girls in Africa started with a phone call from a nun at Holy Family College in Manitowoc.
Sister Chrisma, a nun from rural Tanzania, arrived at Holy Family College to earn a nutrition degree so she could return to her convent’s high school in Africa as a teacher. Debra welcomed Sister Chrisma into her classes at UWGB so her combined credits from both colleges earned her a degree recognized by the Tanzanian government.
A degree from an American institution was not only an opportunity for one woman to learn, but it helped Sister Chrisma obtain a degree that would help educate hundreds of young women in Tanzania.
“I really believe that education for girls, especially, can transform their lives and their families and communities,” she said. “I feel a sense of responsibility that whenever I can, helping other women to find their voice, to help them along their path of learning, to help them try to realize their ambitions and dreams.”
“I remember two science teachers in high school making it quite clear to us girls that we had no place in science,” Debra added. “As a woman in science, I hope and pray that my example of being in science and then, especially teaching others science, can help to empower them. A person who has gained confidence, gained knowledge is then an inspiration to others.”
Debra is a hardworking professor who helps students excel, and is always on a mission to make a difference around the world. She is a strong woman who is always willing to lend a hand when it comes to educating young women. “When you have several people, all giving a bit, helping a bit, then you have more ability to make a bigger difference,” she emphasized.
When a community of women support each other, the world sees the impact. Debra is an inspirational woman who continues to encourage women around the world with her knowledge and support.
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