Alumni wrote paper now used as handbook at Douglas
By Jake Wray, News Editor
Amy Parent, an assistant professor of Indigenous education at SFU, was presented with the Douglas College 2018 Distinguished Alumni award June 13.
Parent studied at Douglas in the early 2000s, according to a Douglas College press release, and has worked to reduce barriers faced by prospective and current Indigenous students at post-secondary institutions.
Dave Seaweed, aboriginal student services co-ordinator at Douglas College, said in the press release that Parent struggled when she began her post-secondary education.
“Amy was a young person coming from a small community and was struggling to find an identity. In her first semester, she took three courses and ended with three withdrawals,” he said in the release. “With support from her community and Douglas College, she decided to give post-secondary another try. She created lasting bonds with other Aboriginal students, and together they formed a strong support group who embraced their cultures while focusing on ways to succeed in their academic pursuits.”
After finding her feet at Douglas, Parent went on to earn a bachelor’s degree at SFU, as well as a master’s degree and a PhD at UBC.
Dr. Mique’l Dangeli, adjunct professor at the University of Northern British Columbia, said in the press release that Parent’s research and community work has been tremendously beneficial to students.
“She has a tremendous ability to ‘demystify’ the systems within the university that impede the success of Indigenous students at every level,” Dangeli said in the release. “Her ground-breaking research offers methods for high schools and universities to restructure their programs to be more supportive of First Nations students.”
An undergraduate paper written by Parent, called Heart, Mind, Body, and Spirit: An Aboriginal Survival Guide to University, has been available since 2007 at Douglas College to guide new Indigenous students.
“I feel it is important to be a mentor myself by showing Indigenous learners at Douglas that they can do what I have done, to break stereotypes about what it means to be a professor and have a PhD,” Parent said in the release. “My time at Douglas allowed me to meet great friends, mentors and colleagues—people who inspired me. I learned a lot about how to challenge colonial institutions that continue to perpetuate ongoing forms of systemic violence onto Indigenous learners. By sharing my story, others can learn that you don’t have to be perfect and that sometimes our biggest challenges can shape who we are in positive ways.”
Parent has guest lectured at Douglas College many times since she was a student here, according to the press release.