Jillian Pierson views her role in the classroom as a combination of curator, docent and coach. In her courses, Pierson works to engage students in an ongoing conversation about communication as a social science and to encourage them to make their own unique contributions. Her goal is to have students see the application of social science in their lives beyond the campus and to be involved in perpetual learning well beyond their undergraduate years.
Pierson has researched and consulted with multinational teams of high-tech companies, both in the U.S. and Singapore, and worked with small businesses and nonprofit organizations on communication strategies. She has coached numerous young professionals in career development and presentation skills and emphasizes bringing out individuals’ idiosyncratic talents to help them succeed.
As an undergraduate at UC Berkeley, Pierson studied psychology but spent most hours in the theater. Before heading back to academia, she worked for five years at a top Hollywood talent agency in its classical music management division. The internationally renowned musicians, dysfunctional organization, and a couple of meaningful tours of jury duty fueled her desire to better understand the intersection of cultures and organizations. Her primary theoretical interests are dialectical tensions within relationships and the dynamic processes of ethnic identification and cultural change.
Pierson earned both her masters and doctorate degrees from USC Annenberg.