Introduce yourself, tell abit about who you are, what you do, etc?
My name is Amethyst Shelby Kirkman Bias. I’m 22 years old, born in February 2000. I chose my middle names to honor my birth name, and it’s a combination of my great grandmother’s and my own.
I’m currently a second year philosophy PhD student and my interests are in the African American experience in education and European universalism. I expect to earn my doctorate in 2026 and then I want to go to law school. Hopefully with the multifaceted education I can serve as leadership at an HBCU. I’d like to be a provost or a chair of a department.
What was your inspiration for wanting to pursue in the career that you’re heading towards?
I resonate with the respiratory nature of education. Teaching is in my heart but I’d like to be able to connect with scholars and have some systemic capacity to uplift them too. My alma mater faced a lot of adversity and being a student leader was more responsibility than I’d ever have expected. Advocating for my alma mater was a daily devotion while I took part in a plethora of other things as a full time student. Community is what held me down!
I hope I can harness the beneficial aspects of change to enhance the experience HBCUs provide for their students.
What is some words of wisdom you’d like to give out to lead others in the right direction so that they may grow a mindset like yours?
I’d emphasize that one should carry themself with compassion. It transcends nice gestures and being polite intentionally; it becomes a perspective. That perspective radiates and others will catch on.
What is something you’ve struggled with to be where you are now?
Sticking to compassion. I’ve carried traumas my entire life that could affect me more deeply if I let myself fall into that hole. I don’t act with compassion solely because it makes me feel good. I act with compassion to spread the light I have because the world pours into me the same. That ties back into community- you curate your atmosphere yourself regardless of the positive or negative devices you have.
What are your thoughts on the younger generation today, and how do you feel we could create a more empathetic environment in our society?
I love younger people. I remember being so concerned about the world and questioning so much like it was yesterday- it sort of was. I work with people who are generally older than me and I’ve always been ahead tradition. I graduated college in three years and now I’m watching my peers who I came into college with graduate as I’m doing research 20 hours away, living on my own, supporting myself in a state I’ve never been in until less than a year ago. I can’t not empathize with others because I wouldn’t be in the rooms I’m in now without others validating and embracing me.
I see a spark of genuine concern about what one ought to do in younger people that worldly systems sort of dissolve. I’ve even toned down my outwardness not because I don’t feel the same about some issues but because I have new devices to make tangible change happen. Younger people can’t always do that. Respecting their perspective is valuable to me. I think to create empathy we must stick by it. There will always be backlash.
What is your ultimate goal in this lifetime and what are a few things you want to complete after college that are per say a bucket list?
I want to live nomadically. I like a home base but I’d like to be able to pick up and go. Teaching one or two classes per semester online and answering calls from different continents. I’d like to be an overall positive influence, whatever scale that might be on. I enjoy being out of the way and impacting local communities without being unnecessarily praised, so it would be cool to serve others and serve my peace.
Becoming Dr. Amethyst is a more immediate bucket list item. Also, I’d like to visit as many countries as possible. I’ve been to (I think?) 15 so far and I’m adding Bélize to my touchdowns in a week! I also love to cook and would love to take a culinary class.
Last question what is some other things you’d like to tell others about you?
Hmmmm. I’d like to share that I hope whoever may be reading this dialogue has some food for thought. I wish I could learn something from you!