Mika Alexander

mika-alexander.jpegPronouns: she/they 

Graduation year: 2023 

Hometown: Skokie, IL 

Currently living in: Denver, CO 

Current occupation: Policy Fellow at the ACLU of Colorado



What was your experience at CC like as an Anthropology major?

While attending CC as an Anthropology major, I had so many opportunities to work in the field. During the summer of 2022, I conducted research with Professor Hautzinger regarding the early closure of the local Martin Drake coal-fired power plant. Later that year, I was able to attend COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, as an ethnographic researcher focusing on youth-led climate action. Being able to apply theory to practice in real-life settings was such a valuable learning experience.



Why were you interested in focusing on Anthropology as your major?

As a low-income person of color, attending CC a predominantly white and wealthy institution was a big culture shock. So, after taking my first Anthropology course during my freshman year, I became fascinated by the discipline’s ability to reframe mainstream narratives that perpetuate systems of oppression. At the same time, I began to understand Anthropology as a discipline rooted in colonialism and white supremacy, particularly in its early history. At that point, I decided I wanted to actively work against the harm Anthropology has committed against marginalized peoples by using my voice, that of a marginalized person, in order to push for antiracism and decolonization within the field. 



How are you using your major in your post-CC life?

Currently, I am working as a policy fellow at the ACLU of Colorado. My work is research-heavy and depends on input we get from the communities with which we work. Because my work is so influenced by what is happening in communities all over Colorado, I find myself engaging in ethnography constantly as I am talking with people and conducting research. With the help of the skills I gained as an Anthropology major at CC, I am able to understand what is happening at the grassroots level of civil rights activism and use that information to reframe important issues that affect our lives as people living in America.

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