Alex Hernandez-Siegel

Alex Hernandez-Siegel

Mennonite Chaplaincy
Alex Hernandez-Siegel

E-mail:  abh492@mail.harvard.edu
Telephone:  (617) 301-2138
Special areas of interest:  Religious pluralism, Mennonite history and theology in developing nations, urban and cultural anthropology, interfaith dialogue and social justice initiatives, immigration, student advising, diversity and academic programming, Latin American and Latino/a studies, and Latin American/Latino music (plena, salsa, and bachata) and the classical music of Brahms and Joaquin Rodrigo.

We all have interesting stories to tell about our paths in life and how all of us arrived in our different ways to Harvard and Cambridge.  I often compare our journeys before and after Harvard as being very similar to plunging into the rabbit hole into Wonderland.  One twists and turns constantly, meets many interesting characters who challenge our intellects, logic, and beliefs, and eventually one lands in a garden. All of our gardens have many more flowers and areas of life to explore.  The main difference is that our journeys take place in real-world situations, and also how we are shaped by our environments, personal experiences, and how we shape the lives of others.

I am the Mennonite chaplain at Harvard and a member of the Mennonite Congregation of Boston which meets at Harvard-Epworth Church. We are located next to the campus of Harvard Law School.  I look forward to meeting you as you explore your world at Harvard and beyond.

My own story is quite different than most.  Being an individual of Puerto Rican-Jewish background, but raised in a Puerto Rican household in New York City and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, many people often wonder how “Mennonite” fits into the picture.  After attending other Protestant congregations in Brooklyn, my family joined the Mennonites once we moved to Pennsylvania.  We were deeply impressed with their goals of social justice, volunteer work on a global scale, and the importance they place on their commitment to community.  I have found this to be especially true of the Mennonites in the Boston area.  Though we are a small congregation, our energy covers much ground in terms of our outreach, strong spirit of inclusion, and service beyond our church walls.  In my time in Puerto Rico, I was also pleasantly surprised to discover small, but very active Mennonite congregations there, particularly in the beautiful town of Aibonito in the Central Mountains.

Before my arrival at Harvard, I was the Assistant Dean of Student Life in the Office of Pluralism and Leadership and advisor to the Latino and Latina student community at Dartmouth College.  My main goals in my work are being a counselor for students and developing programming to enhance their skills in academic, social, and leadership development in a diverse environment.  In addition, I was also an advisor to the religious student organizations at Dartmouth’s William Jewett Tucker Foundation for Service, Spirituality, and Social Justice.  After my arrival in Boston, I served as the Community Associate for programming at Dr. Diana Eck’s Pluralism Project at Harvard which researches the growing religious pluralism in the United States. I have also served as the Director of Academic and Diversity Programs for Genomics Training at Harvard Medical School in the lab of Dr. George Church.

As you see where your rabbit hole takes you, I hope that we meet along the way.  I always believe there should be times for reflection and seeking those individuals who will challenge you, but also support you along your journey.  This could include joining me for a cup of coffee in Harvard Square or sitting by the Charles River watching the world go by as we chat.  Please feel free to contact me if you would like to meet.  I would enjoy hearing from you.