Ray Pearson, professor in the materials science and engineering department at Lehigh University, has been elected to the executive board of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE). His three year term as Vice President of Technology and Education begins in May 2018.

SPE, founded in 1942, is the largest, most well-known professional society in the world dedicated to plastics and polymers. The society has more than 22,500 members in 84 countries.

In his new role as VP Technology & Education, Pearson will provide insight/oversight for SPE’s advancement of technology related to the plastics industry as well as education programs to the Executive Board. The VP also serves as chair for the New Technology Committee, which is designed to maintain awareness of technology developments through contacts in industry and academia. In addition, the position serves as liaison to SPE’s Special Interest Groups.

"I hope to focus on increasing the continuous education opportunities for existing plastics engineers and polymer scientists," Pearson said, "as well as developing educational opportunities for future engineers at the K-12 level."

With his extensive involvement with SPE as councilor for Lehigh Valley chapter and chair of the Polymer Modifiers and Additives Division, Pearson has a strong commitment to technology and education at both the professional and academic levels. He currently serves as SPE's representative on the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NCCO) committee, from which other professionals are kept informed about nanotechnology issues. He is also the technical program chair for SPE's Nanocomposites Conference that Lehigh has hosted for the past 12 years.

Pearson is a founding member of the SPE's Additive Manufacturing special interest group, and in 2017 chaired an SPE taskforce that developed the metrics for their new Education Pinnacle Award. He has also taught several professional development courses in plastics for microelectronic packaging.

Pearson is the director of the Polymer Science and Engineering graduate program at Lehigh. He has spearheaded the online effort since 2006, which offers two types of master's degrees and a graduate certificate. The program now has over forty online graduate students located throughout the country.

Among numerous awards, Pearson was recognized as an SPE fellow in 2010. Earlier this year, he was awarded The Adhesion Society's 2018 Award for Excellence. He is also an associate editor for Polymer Composites (Wiley), which is one of three journals produced by SPE.

-Story by Mary Anne Lynch '16G