Alexandra Leber

School: College of Liberal Arts  
Degree: BA, anthropology, 2018  
Hometown: Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania  

Alexandra Leber, CLA ’18, is proof that you really can make a living from doing work you love. After using her time at Temple to experience both urban and rural environments and landscapes, she has turned her focus to supporting Native communities and promoting their sovereignty.

Worldwide wayfarer 

Leber grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs, and when she enrolled at Temple, she was looking to explore locales outside of the area. As an Honors student with a full academic scholarship, Leber applied her merit-based stipends toward the cost of two study away experiences that opened her eyes to the world around her and formed the foundation for her career.  

One of those trips was to Derry, Ireland, a city in Northern Ireland known for a history of violent sectarian conflict. 

“I was largely impacted by seeing the vastly different experiences of the two different communities (Catholic and Protestant) within just one city. The scale to which the violence had impacted the city and Ireland as a whole impressed upon me the importance of conflict mediation and resolution, something that has come into my work five years later.” 

The other trip was to Montana, where Leber and her classmates travelled to rural communities and Native American reservations, learning about the relationship between humans and the land they live on. 

“These trips really drove home for me that people are having a wide variety of experiences,” she said. “How differently each person views the world, and their beliefs and political perspectives are often based on where we have grown up.”

A passion project 

Focusing her career on a passion, instead of something that was perceived as “profitable,” was a lesson Leber learned in her religion classes.  

“My religion classes taught me the importance of putting aside your own experiences and biases and trying to see the world the way that others do. Whether religious or not, religion has impacted everyone's life in one way or another.”

Leber chose to minor in religion because it fascinated her, at the recommendation of Professor of Religion Rebecca Alpert. 

Despite those courses not being tied to a “traditional” successful career outcome, Alpert encouraged Leber to follow her heart. This mindset had a huge impact on how Leber approaches her career now. 

“She encouraged me … and helped me believe that you can make a living doing things you’re actually passionate about,” Leber said.

Alexandra Leber poses for a photo.
Alexandra Leber writing in a journal.

“I had to see different kinds of people to understand what wanted to do, and how I wanted to contribute. Getting outside of the classroom has always been my favorite way to learn.” 

–Alexandra Leber
Tribal support specialist

Positive outcomes 

Today, Leber works as a tribal support specialist with the North Wind Group. In her role, Leber supports a committee that engages tribal governments impacted by the storage and shipment of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel. She’s passionate about ensuring all people have equal access to a safe, clean environment. With how much Native Americans have lost, she feels it’s paramount to ensure tribal sovereignty and make certain that the federal government fulfills its federal trust responsibility to the tribes. The job aligns exactly with her experiences in Montana and helps her feel like she is contributing to the world in a positive way. 

“We’re the staff support to those tribes,” she said, explaining her job. “We do the heavy lifting to bring them information and we arrange for them to meet with officials, so we can make sure they have a voice. Our government has a responsibility to engage with Native communities with respect.” 

Leber also sees her study abroad experiences as the key to helping her make choices that would be right for her, and ultimately help others. 

“I had to see different kinds of people to understand what wanted to do, and how I wanted to contribute” she said. “Getting outside of the classroom has always been my favorite way to learn.”