Dr. Laura Cummings received her Ph.D. degree in cultural anthropology from the University of Arizona in 1994. Her principal focus is the US-Mexico border, its cultures, sociolinguistics, and history. Dr. Cummings has conducted research and applied projects in both urban and rural settings on both sides of the border. She resided in Baja California, Mexico for 11 years where she was consultant to the state government while employed as an anthropologist with the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California commissioned to Mexico's Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia.
Dr. Cummings has carried out fieldwork on border youth cultures in Tijuana, Baja California; Nogales, Sonora; Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua, Chihuahua in Mexico and in the United States in Los Angeles, California; Tucson, Arizona; and El Paso, Texas. As an administrator with the South Texas Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse in Laredo, Texas, she adapted and directed prevention programs in four south Texas border counties. She has also worked with the Hopi Tribe in Arizona as a linguistic consultant on the Hopi Dictionary Project and on cultural issues related to disability.
She has published in the U.S. and Mexico on substance abuse trends as a member of National Institute on Drug Abuse's Border Epidemiology Work Group, co-authored a program adaptation manual for HIV prevention programs working with Hispanics for the CDC, and has published numerous articles and monographs on US-Mexico border cultures, language, and history.