Clarissa Peterson, Ph.D.
Professor of Political Science & Africana Studies
Born and raised in Steubenville, Ohio, Professor Clarissa Peterson began her higher education at the University of Akron where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science/Public Policy Management in 1992. While at the Akron University, she was one of 20 students across the country selected to participate in the Ralph Bunche summer program hosted by Emory University, Spelman College, Morehouse College, Clark Atlanta University, and Morris Brown University. She found her love for mathematical modeling to explain political phenomenon during this summer experience. Upon completing her degree, she attended Emory University and earned a Master’s degree and a Doctorate in Political Science. As a graduate student, Dr. Peterson spent 2 summers teaching in the ICPSR summer program at the University of Michigan. She began working at DePauw University in 1997 where she was the first African American to be hired in the Political Science department, the first African American to chair the department, and the first African American to be tenured in that department. Her work for the community at DePauw has been extensive with many hours devoted to mentoring students, especially those from underrepresented groups, and serving as a voice for Black issues at DePauw University. She has published work on black political attitudes and working mothers in academe. Professor Peterson has received numerous awards from various members of the DePauw community and is currently the Director of Africana Studies. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, and holds professional memberships in the American Political Science Association and the National Conference of Black Political Scientists where she was recently awarded the Anna Julia Cooper Teaching Award (2016).