| From Commonwealth | By Katie Koch (CAS'09, COM'09)
Allison Junker (UNI'09) Photo by Jessica Sharp (COM'08)
Name: Allison Junker
Major: Environmental studies, with a focus on northern Africa
Hometown: Greenwich, Connecticut
Bostonia: How did you choose your UNI concentration?
Junker: I did Model UN in high school, and somehow I constantly ended up with African countries. I started taking Arabic at BU, and that got me interested in the northern sphere. I’ve been interested in the environment forever — my dad was a Boy Scout, and we went camping and hiking all the time.
Bostonia: Have you studied abroad?
Junker: I went on BU’s Niger program in fall 2007, and then last spring I went to an English-speaking university in Morocco called Al Akhawayn. A lot of the students were children of Moroccan princes and ministers. At the school, I was dealing with people who had a lot of money, who were a bit more narrow-minded, and then on the weekends I was going out and seeing the real Morocco.
Bostonia: Any local customs that you miss?
Junker: I miss eating “African style.” Family and friends gather around one big plate of food that everyone shares. The different table setup means learning a whole new mealtime etiquette: never reach across the dish, don’t lick your fingers, break up large vegetables for everyone to share, etc. Meals are a time for everyone to come together, and the physical proximity of it makes you feel that much closer to your friends.
Bostonia: I heard you hosted a fundraising dinner for Africa in your apartment.
Junker: I worked at the national museum while I was in Niger, and when I went back last summer to work at a crop research institute, a lot of the friends I had made wanted help selling tapestries and jewelry they had made. There’s a war going on, so what little tourism they had is now nonexistent. So when I got back to the States, I had people over, cooked, and tried to sell things. It’s the most “fair trade” you’re going to get: straight from the artisan to America and back.
Bostonia: Do you have a job?
Junker: I work at Agganis Arena as an usher, and I’m interning at the American Islamic Congress. I write for their newsletter, Civil Rights in the Middle East Report, trying to get activists from around the world to work together.
Bostonia: What’s your favorite place in Boston?
Junker: The Minot Rose Garden in Brookline. It’s this tiny park with a playground, and there’s a really nice rose garden. It’s quiet, but at the same time you’re a block away from the city.