On the Spot: Roderick Pearson ’26

Sociology freshman and Foundation Excellence Award scholarship recipient Roderick Pearson ’26 talks about what brought him to Aggieland.

    By Bailey Payne ’19
  • Photo by Josh Huskin
  • May. 15, 2023
    4 min read

Since 1999, the Foundation Excellence Award (FEA) program has empowered donors to help hardworking students from underserved groups and economically disadvantaged backgrounds excel at Texas A&M University. Roderick Pearson ’26 currently attends Texas A&M thanks to support from his FEA and other impactful scholarships. We asked Roderick a few questions after his first semester in Aggieland.

So, I know you wanted to be a high school teacher when you first came to Texas A&M. Is that still the goal?

Well, I pivoted and switched my major from education to sociology. Education is still in my heart, and I could easily see myself becoming a professor. But I got into sociology because I’ve always been a people person, and I’m interested in learning about big systemic social issues around racism, sexism and wealth inequality that don’t just affect me but everyone around me.

You were pretty involved in your high school’s mock trial program and even competed at a state level. Did you ever consider a law career?

I did, but before my senior year, we spent a day talking to these wonderful attorneys, and hearing about some of the negatives of the job, especially the long hours, pushed me away. I value my time with friends and family too much, and I wouldn’t want to miss my future kid’s soccer game or something because I’m working on a case.

It seems like you’re already looking pretty far ahead. Have there been certain experiences or people who have inspired you to think about your life more holistically?

My teachers definitely inspired me, but a lot of it comes from introspection. Honestly, I don’t have a good idea of what I want to do still, so it’s easier to find what I don’t want to do. I try to make decisions for my future based on the values I hold now and stay true to those core parts of myself.

How has scholarship support, including your FEA scholarship, played into your journey?

Scholarships have allowed me to pursue higher education without me or my parents having to worry about money. The support I have now was a major deciding factor in my choosing Texas A&M. Especially when compared to the help I was offered at other schools, it feels like this place really gave me a chance.

You mentioned your family’s medical costs factoring into that too.

Yeah, before my senior year, my dad had to go to the hospital, and they found a couple of cancerous tumors. About a year ago, they said there wasn’t much they could do for him. But he’s still here, and with his situation, my mom’s been our only source of income. So, giving her any kind of reprieve by getting these scholarships was a big priority for me.

How was your first semester in Aggieland overall? Any big surprises?

The biggest surprise was the culture. I don’t think I’ve run into a single person I didn’t like, especially playing volleyball at the Rec Center, which is where I’ve met a lot of my current friends. Everything about the college environment at Texas A&M has been positive. I feel like I really belong here.

Make a difference: You can create a life-changing FEA scholarship for students like Pearson. It takes $10,000 to establish a one-time FEA, but you can split the gift into four annual payments of $2,500. To learn more, contact Al Pulliam ’87.