Rachel Gravens, Cultural Anthropology
Anthropology of Health and Studio Art, 3rd year undergraduate
(Jan 2017 Team)
How is your expert role important to the group’s mission?
As a cultural anthropology student I have spent the last few years studying ethnography and anthropological texts that highlight the importance of sociopolitical contexts in situations of health and injustice. This background prepared me to critically analyze situations such as the tragic migrant crisis. I hope that my observations, notes, and reflections can bring further insight to this complex situation, and that I may provide on-the-ground aid in the process.
Why is this humanitarian work important to you?
I have always wanted to be involved in humanitarian work. My passion for human rights motivates me to stand up for those who are vulnerable and abused. I feel a need to bring awareness to issues of injustice and do what I can to bring aid and support to those in need. I hope to make others aware of the human lives that are stake within such a heated political debate.
What do you hope to gain from this experience?
I hope to grow in my knowledge as an anthropology student by participating in my first field work trip. I’m excited be a part of this important effort and gain a better understanding about this complex situation.
What are some of the biggest challenges you will face while in Texas?
I am expecting the biggest challenge to be the emotional toil. Working to bring justice within such a tragic context will be hard to cope with. I also expect to struggle with the many viewpoints and opinions of those involved in the migrant crisis response. Sorting through and making sense of so many observations and perspectives will definitely be a challenge, made more difficult by the exhaustion I anticipate at the end of each day.
What’s one thing people probably don’t know about you until they’ve known you a long time?
I love making lists. I make lists for everything to keep myself organized. I have a journal full of lists; plans for the day, movies to watch, books to read, grocery list, funny things people say, and anything else you can imagine. I would be lost without my lists.
What makes UIndy distinctive?
UIndy is distinctive because of the commitment between students and their professors. I have built valuable relationships with my professors and advisors that have provided me with the necessary support, guidance, and opportunities to enrich my educational experience.