Dr. Amy Parent, MA ’09, PhD ’14

Leader, educator and researcher, Amy Parent is the first member of the Nisga’a Nation to earn a PhD at the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Education. In fact, she is the Nisga’a’s first PhD, which is a notable achievement in its own right. It is the nature and impact of her research; however, that establishes Parent as a leader in the community.

Her doctorate, which she received in 2014, focuses on how Aboriginal youth experience the transition from high school to university. She found that university transition programs directed at Aboriginal students appear key to their success, particularly those programs that help develop their leadership skills. Not only does her research help Aboriginal youth, it keeps Parent in close contact with, and accountable to, her family, clan and community.

Parent, who was born in Hazelton, BC in Gitxsan Territory, completed her Master of Education at UBC in 2009. Out of that research, she created a community report called Keep Us Coming Back for More: Aboriginal Youth Speak about Indigenous Knowledge and Wholistic Education. In it, she describes the great value Aboriginal youth find in programs that connect them with Indigenous knowledge, as well as where they see the programs could be improved.

Her supervisors describe Parent’s research as exhaustive and ground-breaking. From UBC, she received an Aboriginal Graduate Fellowship, the Cordula and Gunter Paetzold PhD Fellowship, and an Indigenous Education Fellowship, alongside a PhD Fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Parent is now doing post-doctoral work on how UBC can recruit and retain Indigenous doctoral students. Her research is the basis for developing material for professors who want to teach Indigenous content.