Nikki Dahan '15

Unless you don't have Facebook, have been hiding out in a cave Osama-status, or gave up the Internet for Lent (in which case, tsk tsk for being online right now!), you've probably heard of Tufts Confessions by now. But what do you know about its creator, sophomore Nikki Dahan? After sitting down with her for an interview, I can assure that you do not know enough about this week's Campus Celeb. Not only is this girl a creative go-getter, but she is incredibly bright, friendly, and ambitious, as well. (Oh, and before I forget, she is funny as hell!) So take a study break and get to know a little more about the girl behind the newest guilty pleasure on the Hill.

Name: Nikki Dahan

Hometown: Lexington, MA

Major(s): Human Factors Engineering

Year: Sophomore 

How did you first become interested in Tufts? I really wanted to skip my math class one day in high school and there happened to be a Tufts Engineering Open House that day, so my mom signed me out of class. The second I walked onto campus I knew that I wanted to go here.

That’s so funny! It sounds like you have always had a soft spot for Tufts. What activities are you involved in on campus? Off-campus?

I’m on the Tufts Hybrid Racecar Design Team. We’re building a hybrid racecar to race against other schools in the spring. I also participate in guitar making at the SMFA, when it fits into my schedule. I’ve volunteered for Habitat for Humanity in the past, and I’m in the process of trying to form a club volunteer at local animal shelters.  Off-campus, I intern at MITRE as a Human Factors Intern for control center design and web design.

Wow! It sounds like you’ve got a lot on your plate. And then, of course, there’s Tufts Confessions. Speaking of which, how would you describe the page? It’s a mix of hilarious personal stories and struggles with trauma.  I love how students have been so supportive of survivors of sexual assault and depression without even knowing who the people writing the posts are! I also love how crazy some people’s stories are.  

What inspired you to create the page? My friend at the University of Wisconsin at Madison showed me a similar page that the have there, and I quickly became addicted. I wanted to give Tufts students the ability to tell their crazy college stories and confess their secret crushes without having to reveal their identities. It also allows people to get things off their chest, and it offers students a great source of hilarity. I actually didn’t anticipate that students would use it as a way to seek help, and I’m very happy with the support for them that has developed on the page.

What has been most surprising to you about what people are posting? Are there any posts in particular that you can think of? "I, a mother, check Tufts Confessions frequently to make sure nothing horrendous is written about my son! Honey if you do anything horrible while you're at Tufts, I WILL find out." I guess I didn't anticipate that parents would use this page to prowl on their kids' social lives.

When you spoke with The Daily last week, you said that you had been managing the page single-handedly. That sounds like a lot of work, especially during midterms! Have you had to enlist any help since?

Yes, I have 16 other students right now who are helping me with the page.

Have you posted any confessions on the site?

The only one I posted was “I have a dog named Darwin.” I think everyone in the world already knew that, but I wanted to get it off my chest.  

Switching gears, who are your heroes, and why?

My older sisters, because even though when I was four they repeatedly told me that there was a man in our basement who was going to eat me for dinner, they still managed to show me that one person can make a huge difference. One of my sisters has raised tens of thousands of dollars for Darfur and for hunger in America, which inspired me to do the same for hospitals in Uganda. When I was three, my other sister told me that a ghost would cut off my arms and legs while I was asleep, which inspired me to want to design robotic prosthetics for amputees that can be powered by signals in the brain. She also advocates for both racially profiled prisoners and women’s rights.  

What is your proudest accomplishment?

On my first day on skis I went off an 8-foot jump, grinded on a rail, and went on a Black Diamond that had moguls. When I went off the jump, I obviously wiped out. A snowboarder didn’t see me, and narrowly missed landing on me. I felt accomplished that I survived.

Do you have any words of wisdom for fellow and future Jumbos? Don’t pee in hotel lobbies! And spay and neuter your pets.