Name: Robin Parent
Department: Office of Research, Innovation, & STEM Policy, working on the Aspire Alliance
Title: Assistant Director of STEM Education
Date you joined APLU: February 1, 2019
What was your first real job?
My first “real job” was when I was 16. I worked as a life guard. At first I thought it was just a summer fun job, but in reality I was responsible for the safety of hundreds of people. After my first day, my perspective had shifted and I learned that I could have a job could be both fun and serious. It’s probably why I love education so much.
Why did you want to work at APLU?
I wanted to work at APLU because of the great work and positive impact APLU has on higher education. All of my degrees are from a land-grant institution and my father worked for a land-grant for over 40 years, which means I grew up on that campus. High quality, affordable education is an important foundation of the U.S.’s education system and APLU helps to support that access.
What motivates you to work in higher education?
I was raised in a home of educators. My mom taught fifth grade for almost 30 years and my dad was a university professor for over 40. I grew up immersed in education and have been privileged to be supported by my family in my personal, professional, and academic pursuits. My parents worked hard for their educations. My dad as a first-generation college student who paved the way for his siblings, his children, and his grandchildren as well as the thousands of students he taught and mentored. And my mom’s dedication to her students that lasted far beyond the end of the day and through weekends. She taught me the ethic of care for others and its importance in education. Education is part of my community and I want to be able to give back to support the many dedicated faculty, staff, and students in campuses across the country.
What’s most rewarding about working with public research universities?
The most rewarding thing about working with public research universities is collaborating with so many folks who care about education and the success of students, not only in their classrooms and research labs, but also in life.
What was the last TV show you couldn’t get enough of?
Currently in our house we have started watching Star Trek the New Generation at season one. My twelve-year-old son is loving it! We are also watching NCIS, which we enjoy seeing the landmarks that are now in our backyard.
What’s the first thing you do when you look at your phone in the morning?
I check the weather to see how I should dress for my morning run. Lately that’s meant bundling up!
What was the last concert you attended?
Last fall a good friend came to visit me in Missoula, MT before we moved to D.C. and we went to see Pearl Jam at the Washington Stadium on the University of Montana campus. It was epic!
If you could have dinner with three famous people who would they be?
This list might be all over the place, but I’d like to share a meal and conversation with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Octavia Butler, and Margaret Atwood. I think we would have a wonderful time!