John Cioci Lazur, A22

School: Arts and Sciences 

Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology 

Home: Somerville and Minneapolis, but also anywhere I can explore comfortably, get lost just a little bit—just for the moment—and then find my way back. 


What did you do at Tufts that would most surprise your first-year self? 

I took a gap year as part of the Tufts 1+4 Bridge Year program. I had graduated from high school thinking I would become an environmental science and chemical engineer, but I fell in love with the program’s mission and the idea of living somewhere else and developing relationships with other people in the world. I lived in Nicaragua with a host family and worked for an NGO at a technical school, helping on a few different community development projects. While I was there, I realized that I really love talking with people and being in conversation, so I totally switched tracks and found my way into social science and the humanities. 

Who most positively impacted your time here? 

Shelby Carpenter, the program coordinator at the University Chaplaincy. I met Shelby in my first year, but in my sophomore year, I started working at the University Chaplaincy, and I expressed interest in working on the programming side of things. Shelby tapped me to work on the MLK Day of Service that they were planning. That was a huge undertaking for me–a huge learning moment. Working closely with Shelby, I realized that she had seen me as someone who can organize people, and this got me interested in the world of student affairs programming. It was a spark moment, where I understood that I really enjoy the interfaith leadership thing and I want to keep doing it. She made that possible, and she’s still my go-to mentor on campus. 

What one course (real or imagined) should every Tufts student be required to take?  

I think every student should have an invitation—or at least the opportunity—to take a class that looks at Tufts’ history. There’s a lot to be wary about in asking people to commit to a class about the institution, but I’ve been doing research about Tufts’ religious history, and the process of learning about where my school has come from has been very helpful to me in my thinking about what my education means. There are so many different ways to tell the history of Tufts, and it can be beautifully done through different disciplines.  

Complete this sentence: From my time here, I will always remember… 

The week that campus closed in Spring 2020. I don’t say that in a particularly sad way. There was a lot of grief in that moment, but the thing I remember most, and that I'm hoping I will remember for the rest of my life, is the way that my communities came together during that week to support one another and to literally find moments of light when everything felt like it was falling apart.  

This profile originally appeared as part of the series “Profiles in Inspiration: Commencement 2022 Spotlights."

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