Jennie Smith-Paríolá spent most of the decade following her college graduation living and working in rural Haiti. During those years, she became interested in understanding why well-intentioned international development programs so often fail to bring about positive sustainable change. To answer her questions, she turned to cultural anthropology. After earning her Ph.D. in that field from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she taught for 8 years at Berry College in Rome, Georgia, where she chaired the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and co-founded and directed the college’s Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program.
In 2006, Dr. Smith-Paríolá stepped away from full-time academic work to raise and educate her two young daughters, whom she homeschooled for several years. Between 2010 and 2012, she set up and ran a small farm, where she raised animals, grew organic vegetables and herbs, and educated children about ecologically responsible living. She returned to higher education in 2013, teaching Cultural Anthropology and setting up an Engaged Learning Program at Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina. At North Central, Dr. Smith-Paríolá teaches courses in Cultural Anthropology, Sociology, and Women’s Studies. In her free time, Dr. Smith-Paríolá enjoys reading, hiking, baking, hanging out with her girls, and volunteering in the community.