I’m a senior at the University of Michigan (two months left!), double-majoring in Anthropology and Spanish. My sub-concentration was Socio-cultural Anthropology with a focus on Latin American and US relations. I studied abroad in Guanajuato, Mexico in the Summer of 2006 and have since spent much time studying Mexico-US politics and economics, specifically surrounding the border.
My academic interests, other than Latin American culture, are immigration, community organizing, urban planning, environmental justice, gender issues, LGBTQ rights, and service learning.
My decision to participate in Semester in Detroit came after a summer spent on the US-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas. After working in a homeless shelter for three months, I realized that many of the same issues in El Paso are prevalent in my home state. After studying Detroit in such classes as Urban Anthropology, I knew I wanted to commit a significant amount of time here, learning from the people and engaging myself in the community.
I work with State Representative Rashida Tlaib, who is the first Muslim-American woman to be elected to state office. As her Constituent Services intern, I do a number of things – serving as a tax preparer for the low-income bracket, organizing two College Day events for graduating seniors throughout the semester, managing constituent cases, coordinating community meetings and public hearings, etc.
Courses at UM Detroit Center
- Urban Planning course taught by Professor June Thomas, exploring the history of Detroit through its planning and development.
- Reflection Seminar facilitated by Craig Regester, discussion with program participants and invited guest lecturers.
Wayne State Elective
Cities & Food: Sustainable Food Systems taught by Professor Kami Pothukuchi of the Wayne State Department of Geography and Urban Planning.
This is a service-learning course about food and agriculture systems that involves working with nonprofit organizations and public agencies. The class is based on two central premises – one, cities and regional communities are important units of analysis and arenas of action for improving diets, reducing hunger, revitalizing economies, and building sustainable food systems; two, local planning and policy offer important tools for achieving these goals.
Volunteer partner: Gleaners Community Food Bank
Term Project: Assessing the Latino population’s opinions about Eastern Market through focus groups comprised of residents of Southwest Detroit and individual interviews with owners of grocery stores and restaurants in that area.