First-Gen Spotlight: Paris Adkins-Jackson

Paris Adkins-Jackson (she/her/hers) is a postdoc at Harvard Med whose research interests are centered on the measurement of racism, self-care and other community developed tools to increase wellness for under-resourced communities. If you would like to connect with Paris, follow her on Twitter @pbajackson!

  1. Where do you call home? Los Angeles
  2. What is a quote that you live by? “Life is your right, so you can’t give up the fight.” — Bob Marley
  3. What do you see yourself doing in the future? I’ve already done a lot. This is my umpteenth career. I’ll be tenured faculty in the future.
  4. If you could switch fields/careers, what field/career would you want to work in/have?*  I’ve worked on community orgs, the data industry, the dance industry, and had my own company. If I didn’t do this work, I’d be an anthropologist traveling and learning about people. Or a novelist. I may be on Broadway. I still may do it all.
  5. What frustrates you the most about academia? Conformity/hegemony and arbitrary rules. Why are there rules for how to be? That doesn’t seem appropriate. If the essence of a person makes them a great scientist, then I’m down for them not smiling in the hallways. Also, arbitrary rules like “you must complete this thing to get to this level after doing something else.” There aren’t exceptions. Strange, there should always be multiple ways to a destination.
  6. What are three things you can’t live without?* In academia? 3. Inquiry 2. Team work 1. Grad students
  7. What message do you hope your research conveys to the public? That we can not only survive, we can thrive by solving our own problems as a community.
  8. Who do you do this for? The ancestors, to heal their souls so that the future can be free.
  9. What is your proudest moment (so far)?* Doing in-home and community talks about my research on self-care. Bringing that skill home to people who need the knowledge from it, that’s everything.
  10. What is one piece of advice you would give to other first-gen students? You don’t see it now, but you’re apart of a big story. And you might not know them now, but your ancestors enacted this plan long ago. When you’re scared, unsure, or fed up, remember that exact experience was a part of the plan. Now connect with your ancestors to figure what they want you to do with that knowledge.

*borrowed from the 46 Questions blog!

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