Major: Government and Religion
School: Wesleyan University
Sponsor: Islamic Scholarship Fund
Executive Director at Council on American-Islamic Relations, Connecticut
Bio: Alicia Hernandez Strong is a senior at Wesleyan University double-majoring in Government and Religion. Alicia grew up in New Britain, Connecticut where she witnessed firsthand the plight of the inner city. The summer before she began at Wesleyan, she became interested Islam in the Balkans after meeting a Muslim family who had come to the United States as refugees from Kosovo. The next summer she participated in a study abroad program in Kosovo. Her sophomore year she received the Mellon-Mays Undergraduate Fellowship for her research proposal that sought to explore the Muslim identities of the Albanian population in Kosovo. During the spring of her junior year she studied abroad again, splitting her time between Bosnia, Serbia and Kosovo. At the end of her semester she conducted a month long research project and published a paper titled “The Patriarchy Knows No Bounds: The Intersection of Gender and Islam in Kosovo”. Her paper focuses on debates among Kosovar Albanians concerning their Muslim identity and how many of these debates were centered on women. Currently she is working on her thesis that will be an extension of this paper. Eventually Alicia hopes to obtain a PhD and become a professor. She will either obtain a PhD in Islamic Studies with a focus on Eastern Europe or a PhD in Eastern European Studies with a focus on Islam.
Outside of her academic work Alicia is a community activist. She sits on the executive board of the New Britain Democratic Town committee where she focuses on electing candidates locally and statewide. Last election Alicia worked with Islamic communities across the state to register and educate voters. Alicia has a passion for doing advocacy work on behalf of marginalized populations and aspires to one day run for office.
Areas of Interest:
Bosnian, Albanian Muslims, Identity