Pierson was successful as a coach, teacher and administrator at Northwestern. She earned a bachelor’s at NSU in 1977 and master’s at NSU in 1980 and a doctorate at LSU in 2001.

She was Northwestern State’s women’s basketball coach for nine years, winning three conference titles, leading the Lady Demons to the finals of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament and coaching multiple all-conference and academic All-American players. Her 1985-86 team won 25 games, the most in school history. She won more than 200 games as a collegiate head coach, serving five seasons at East Carolina where she won a regular season conference championship and coach of the year honors in 1992.

She joined Northwestern’s faculty in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences in 1992. Pierson later became head of the department and helped create the bachelor’s program in hospitality management and tourism, which has placed graduates in positions with leading companies throughout the nation. Under Pierson’s leadership, the program achieved national accreditation.

Pierson was a two-time recipient of the College of Science, Technology and Business Excellence in Teaching Award and was selected as Academic Advisor of the Year at NSU. In 2015, Pierson was awarded the status of Department Head Emeritus by the College of Science, Technology and Business.