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NOW on SPOTLIGHT

Tenzin Thargay

Interview by: Nicole Dotzenrod
Posted 4/28/15


Political science major Tenzin Thargay has only been at the University of Massachusetts for two semesters, but has already made a name for himself on campus and beyond.

Thargay, who is from West Roxbury, Mass., is the child of Tibetan immigrants. In 1951 the Chinese invaded Tibet, and after a failed Tibetan uprising in 1959, hundreds fled Tibet due to the oppressive invasion. Thargay’s grandparents, who were affluent merchants in Tibet, fled to India where they became foster parents to newly orphaned Tibetan children. Thargay’s maternal grandparents raised over 100 children in addition to their four children.

Both of Thargay’s parents were born in India, where they attended university. Their lives were changed when the U.S. passed the Immigration Act of 1990 which allowed for Tibetans to apply for a visa in America. His parents, who were dating at the time, were both approved for a visa, immigrating to the U.S. in 1992 and 1993.

Thargay, who was born in Boston in 1995, lives with all four of his grandparents, who are all currently naturalized citizens of the U.S. “I get to keep my culture alive not only from the Tibetan food that we make but from the history they tell me,” he said. “It has absolutely shaped me. I definitely have a high regard for the elderly. I have a strong affinity for not only my grandparents but older people.”

Thargay’s respect for the elderly manifested in high school with a community service program called Connective Living, which he participated in for four years. In the program, Thargay taught senior citizens how to use computers.

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Danielle Hill

Interview by: Nicole Dotzenrod
Posted: 4/28/15


University of Massachusetts alum Danielle Hill has dedicated her life’s work to advocating on the behalf of indigenous tribes. She works as the Senior Planner for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, helping to facilitate the strategic planning for the Tribe, as well as writing grants and creating new programs for the tribal departments.

“I will always work on behalf of the betterment of Tribes, whether it be my own or for other Native organizations,” Hill said about her work.

Hill is charged with increasing the financial capacity of the Tribe and helping to expand and make positive changes to the vision and services provided by the tribal government. Hill, who is from Mashpee, Mass., has been working with the tribal government since 2010, and is dedicated to advancing community and economic opportunities for the Tribe.

“I grew up on the shores of Cape Cod, living amongst friends and family of the Wampanoag Tribe and embracing the beaches and natural beauty of Cape Cod,” she said. She has also lived and worked in Washington, D.C., New York, and Chicago on behalf of Native American Affairs.

Hill earned a bachelors degree in communications from UMass in 2007. “UMass Amherst provided the outlet to some great internships and semester exchange programs. I left for a semester at studied at American University and interned with the Department of Treasury and the National Science Foundation in Washington DC with a program called WINS- Washington Internships for Native Students, I also interned in Boston with former Governor Deval Patrick and I was also the president of the Native American student support services and a senator with the student government association.”

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Previously on Spotlight