Mixed on Campus #4 – Andre Nandi

Name: Andre Nandi
Mix: Bulgarian & Bengali
Major & Year: Computer Science; Sophomore

Q: How has being mixed affected your campus experience?

A: It has put me in a unique position to look at situations from two very different perspectives. While it’s hard to find people exactly like me, I’m able to find some commonalities with a large spectrum of identities

Q: What do you wish more people knew about the mixed experience?

A: Being mixed means you are in a very interesting middle ground between identities. Every mixed person has a very special relationship with the cultures that make them who they are. While some embrace one and look like the other, others may embrace both and look like outsiders in both. Everyone navigates these complexities and finds a home in very different but beautiful ways.

Q: Who is the most influential person in your life?

A: My parents are the most influential people in my life. Whether it’s coming from poverty to living through the end of communism in their country, they took massive risks to come to the US and make a life for themselves. They constantly teach me very vastly different perspectives, and while I don’t always agree with them, these two sides make me who I am.

Mixed on Campus #3 – Alanna Grace-Marie

Name: Alanna Grace-Marie
Mix: Black, biracial (German & Nigerian)
Major & Year: Sociology – Afro-American Studies; Junior Transfer Student

I am a visual sociologist and multimedia artist. I use my art to tell my unique story as well as share Black history and culture to uplift my community with positive representation. My business instagram is @equitable.arts

Q: How has being mixed affected your campus experience?

A: Being a Black presenting biracial woman at a predominantly white institution, representation is hard to find. So I create my own! And I collaborate with others who have intersectional identities to share their stories too.

Q: What do you wish more people knew about the mixed experience?

A: The mixed experience is unique for every individual and it can be complicated in unique ways too! This isn’t always a negative experience, we can use our unique perspectives to brighten this world. So please, refrain from placing us in stereotypical boxes.

+1: I will write an autobiography one day soon to show the world how being both Black and biracial has informed me and shaped my experiences in this world. I was raised to act a certain way and certainly, society put more pressure on me to conform. But now, I reject this! I am all of my ethnicities and identities, uniquely me! No need to pick a side.

+2: Blair Imani is an educational inspiration of mine. She also rejects stereotypes of her identities and lives an authentic life to uplift all marginalized individuals.

Mixed on Campus #2 – Indira Sankaran

Name: Indira Sankaran
Mix: Indian, White-American
Major & Year: PitE and EEB; Junior

Q: How has being mixed affected your campus experience?

A: It has definitely been an experience! I have always had difficulty understanding where I fit into society and coming into a new environment, without any strong cultural foundation, is hard. Especially with so many ethnic and cultural organizations, I always have a difficult time joining them because I did not have a similar upbringing or experience from others. However, being a junior and meeting so many new people from many backgrounds, I have cultivated a community where I feel safe to express myself.

Q: What do you wish more people knew about the mixed experience?

A: That my mixed experience is soo different from others who identify as mixed or multiracial. We should not be defined into a category and everyone expresses or represents in so many different ways!!

Q: What is your proudest moment?

A: My proudest moment was recently when I realized that my school or academic success doesn’t define me or my future.

Q: What are you most anxious about right now?

A: Presently I’m nervous about internships! But overall, I’m anxious about leaving college and my safe community in a year.

Q: What kind of person do you aspire to be?

A: That is a hard question but i aspire to be a kind and grounding person. I want to be the person that is independent and kind to herself and others 😌

Q: Who is the most influential person in your life?

A: Would it be narcissistic to say myself haha. I’m proud of myself and how much i have grown these past two years! I aspire myself to work on myself and I think that is the most influential thing a person can do.

Mixed on Campus #1 – Alice Conner


Hi, my name is Alice Conner! The first post of this series is a self-portrait. I’m a 2nd-year undergraduate student majoring in Industrial & Operations Engineering. I racially identify as mixed (Japanese and White-American) and drawing is one of my hobbies! This series is called Mixed on Campus and was inspired by the Humans of New York project. The purpose of Mixed on Campus is to give a voice to this university’s mixed community and shed light on its members. Being mixed means to be multiracial, multiethnic, and/or a transnational adoptee. Through Mixed on Campus, mixed students have the opportunity to have their portrait drawn and share their experiences!

Being mixed has been a defining part of my life, even when I didn’t fully understand it myself. Growing up, I struggled to find a community that would accept my whole identity as it is without judgement or discrimination. Since coming to this university, I’ve been able to find a place within a supportive and inclusive community that has helped me understand my identity and uplift myself. I’m very grateful to the student organization Mixed@Michigan, whose purpose is to foster a community of mixed, multiracial, multiethnic, and transnational adoptee students at the university. I joined in the fall of 2022 and now serve as a board member for the org. This project would not be possible without Mixed@Michigan!

A Little Themed Tour in UMMA: What Clothes Tell Us

Exploring UMMA is one of my favorite things to do in my spare time. I enjoy wandering in the quiet and cozy museum, stopping by whichever painting that draws my attention, and trying to appreciate it by looking closely at it and reading the label. However recently, rather than try to learn more about each painting, I found a more interesting thing to do: to look at several paintings together, to compare them and to find the subtle similarities or underlying relationships among them. Today for my little themed tour, I picked four portaits in UMMA, in each of which the costumes of the figures can tell us the story behind the painting itself.

The first painting I’m gonna introduce is Portrait of a Lady by Johann Tischbein, which is located in the European Gallery on the first level. It is a portrait of a well-dressed lady. We can see her elegant blue silk dress with delicate lace cuffs, her resplendent earrings and necklace, her elaborately braided hair and the matching hair ornaments. Although we don’t know her exact identity, but from her costume we can infer that she is a lady from high social class. She is also holding a fan in her right hand, which may give us a clue of the fashion trends back the time she lived. Fans became fashionable decorations for women in 18 centuries and can be seen in many portraits in that period. Ladies used fans not only to cool themselves but also to enhance body languages.

Right next to this portrait is another portrait of a man. Like the lady in the former painting, he is also dressed in a sumptuous way. His red coat and waistcoat seem to be velvet, with rich gold embroideries on them. His powdered wig is also noteworthy. Pamela Reister, one of the curators in UMMA, once told me that the size of the wig could reflect the man’s rank to some extent. She said bigger wig would suggest higher social rank of the wearer, and was also considered to be more fashionable. The identity of the figure is indeed Pierre Bachelier, the director of customs at Lyon, according to the title of this painting. Therefore, the outfit of the figure in this painting can tell us much about his profession and also his social status.

One of the most eye-catching pieces in the apse is Portrait of Maximilien-Sébastien Foy by Baron François Gérard. Maximilien Foy was a French general and statesman. According to the label, Gérard painted this portrait after the death of General Foy, in other words, the painter didn’t have General Foy posing for him as a model but painted this portrait based on his memory. Thus, the choice of the painter to paint the general in French army uniform could be explained as an attempt to emphasize the figure’s identity as a former military leader. His cloak billowing to the wind reminds us of the famous portrait of Napoleon by David, who was shown as confident and ambitious. The medals on his uniform imply the honors he received as a general, who was severely wounded 15 times and eventually died on the battlefield.

Costumes could be deceptive sometimes, too. If you go upstairs and turn right, you would easily spot a portrait on the balcony of a woman in a blue dress. The lady is shown in a elegant position, with her head raised a little bit and his eyes confronting the viewer with confidence and dignity. Her dress doesn’t even look outdated now, which was probably of the highest fashion back the time the painting was made. However, if you are guessing she was a bourgeois woman, you would be surprised to find out that she was actually a working class widow who could find no other jobs but modeling for the painter. She was in poor health and could hardly pay for the medicine or support her two children. The discrepancy between her dress and her actual identity makes this painting more intriguing and thought provoking for the viewer.

Ok. Here ends my special tour of UMMA:) Btw, you are welcomed to come to UMMA After Hours this Friday (which is Oct.15 and I’m gonna be a volunteer, too!). And if you come, don’t forget to check these paintings out!