University of Alabama in Huntsville (B.A.), Louisiana Tech University (M.A. & Ph.D.)
I am originally from Huntsville, Alabama. I was raised by a single mother who did not obtain a college degree, but always stressed the importance of education. Growing up, I watched my mother struggle to make ends meet and find consistent work without having a degree. This experience pushed me to pursue higher education in an attempt to improve my life and the lives of those in my family. I have always been fascinated by the human experience and interpersonal relationships. After I took my first psychology course as an undergraduate student, I felt like psychology was a good fit for me. I continued to take psychology courses and joined a research lab. My undergraduate research mentor was an integral part of my college experience. He, along with other psychology faculty members, helped me persist in spite of self-doubt and reassured me that I did have the skills necessary to pursue graduate study. My family and friends were also a constant source of support throughout my academic journey. Without them, I would not be Dr. Franks.
Being a first generation is a source of pride for me. It reminds me that I have persisted against a system that was not made for people like me. My hope is that I can inspire other first gen students to do the same and remind them that they belong within the academic community.