Sunshine Parker (’03, ’04)

Category: Alumni Promise | Awards

2019 Alumni Promise Award Winner

From bachelor’s to doctorate, Barbara “Sunshine” Parker has received her BS, MS, and JD from UT, focusing on social work among Native Americans. Her work has taken her to the Division of Public Health and Human Services for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI), where she drafted the Children’s Code of Ordinance and assisted with its passage into tribal law, ensuring a safer environment for Cherokee children. She also led the creation of a multiprogram human services department that now employs 70 social service professionals.

During her master’s program, Parker worked as a community organizer at Legal Aid of East Tennessee, where she assisted community organizations in development, planning, and grant funding. She spent five years working at Knoxville Community Connections, frequently advising attorneys arguing TennCare appeal cases.

Parker is a member of the American Bar Association and State Bar of North Carolina. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Yogi Crow Memorial Scholarship Fund and the Cherokee Indian Hospital. Additionally, she is the EBCI’s social services delegate to the United South and Eastern Tribes, which represents 27 tribes from Maine to Texas.

In 2017, Parker’s leadership was recognized when she was presented with the SOAR Award (Success in Operations, Accountability, and Reporting) from the Tribal Council.