n1049010155_30300832_1713Hello! My name is Alexis Daniels, I’m a junior at Tufts studying Anthropology. I began Tufts studying Art History, as a Combined Degree student at the School of Museum of Fine Arts. Since studying Anthropology, I’ve become fascinated by midwifery and am beginning nursing prerequisite courses for midwifery school following graduation. I am an avid cyclist (despite having broken my back this summer), and am a volunteer at Mass General Hospital. In the Spring I’ll be studying abroad in New Delhi on a program titled “Health and Human Rights,” learning Hindi and staying with an Indian family for 10 weeks. A major component of the program is a research project, and I hope Urban Borderlands will prepare me with the ethnographic tools.

I am originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, in a suburb called Orinda right outside Berkeley. I was fortunate enough to be raised not by two, but three individuals. I had a nanny from birth with whom I spent my most formative years. She is a Honduran immigrant, and began living with my family from the time she was my age (20) until her mid-30s. While my parents are Jewish, American go-getter types, she worked a Pastor and house cleaner, and supported and housed family members as they migrated. Because of her, I have been interested in cultural difference, immigrant populations, and the permutations of tradition through generations. After having survived lymphoma cancer while I was in Middle School, she moved to Puerto Rico to finish her bachelor’s degree in Psychology. At the age of 43, she continues her studies today, and will return with her degree to practice clinical psychology among the immigrant community in Oakland, Ca.

I hope to learn about community-based participatory research as a way to engage marginalized communities. Additionally, I’ve just moved out of the Tufts-centric portion of Somerville, onto Central Street (between Ball Square and Union Square), and am experiencing a different kind of Somerville than the one I’ve been used to for the past two years. It is invigorating and provocative, this new atmosphere. I am interested in the city’s history, its current conditions, who lives in the houses around me. This summer I volunteered with Groundwork Somerville, teaching kids at Healey Elementary School and Prospect Hill Academy about nature and leading garden clubs. I enjoyed getting to know the youth in the area, and this class will allow for a more formal and in-depth investigation of the area.