Listen to his story here!
Joel “Tyler” Pearson is the Democratic candidate for State Senate District 35. Pearson believes that it is time to put hometown values and local issues front and center. He is a life-long resident of Conway, a graduate of Conway High School and the University of Central Arkansas. He is a member of St. Joseph’s church and works at Arkansas Children’s Hospital Foundation.
A fourth-generation Arkansan, Tyler is the son of public servants and comes from a strong middle class background. His mother, Denise, is a juvenile probation officer for Faulkner County, and his father, Rod, is a retired police officer. The second eldest of five children, Tyler was raised with the values of hard work, faith, family, and fiscal responsibility.
He was born January 17th, 1986 at a hospital in Little Rock. Growing up, Tyler attended Conway Public Schools, where he was part of the gifted and talented and advanced placement programs. He enjoyed playing city-league sports, hunting and fishing, and was an active boy scout. His proudest accomplishment during his early years was being awarded a Key to the City of Conway for placing second at the world finals in “Odyssey of the Mind”, which is an extra-curricular creative problem solving program.
At the age of fifteen he began working in the restaurant industry, where he spent over a decade cooking and waiting tables earning money to help pay for his college education, which he finished without any student loans. He also financed a trip to Germany after graduating from high school, where he traveled around Europe and taught himself how to speak German.
After his trip, Tyler enrolled at a community college in San Francisco where he earned an Associate’s degree before transferring back home to Conway. He completed his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Central Arkansas with a major in International Studies. After graduating from UCA, Tyler dedicated a year of his life to serving in AmeriCorps as a literacy tutor for at-risk children in Mayflower, Arkansas. Knowing the value of a good education and how it can drastically improve one’s quality of life, this experience inspired Tyler to further journey into the world of public service.
He applied to and was accepted at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, where he will graduate in May, 2014 with a Master’s degree in Public Service. During his time at the Clinton School, he has worked with prestigious non-profit organizations such as Heifer International, where he led a poultry research project in Cambodia for three months, and Legal Aid of Arkansas, where he conducted a statewide study on the legal needs of low-income Arkansans.
Presently, he works at Arkansas Children’s Hospital Foundation in a research capacity assessing progress made by the Foundation over the past seven years. He enjoys spending time with his family, hunting and fishing, playing music, tennis, and spirituality.