Comparative and World Literature and Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies Graduate Student Alex van Doren awarded Bailey Fellowship!


The Fred S. Bailey Fellowship for Community Leadership, Service, and Activism supports University of Illinois Urbana campus graduate and professional students who have shown passion, creativity, innovation, and commitment through community organizing, activism, and/or service in one or more of the following areas: social justice, environment, global engagement and/or interfaith cooperation. 

Informed by her increasingly profound knowledge of the Holocaust and the (often) blind eye turned towards refugees, Alex and another graduate student, Meg Smith, founded Three Spinners. This group gathers useful items such as furniture, household goods, and clothes and gives them directly to refugees from war torn areas such as Syria. That Alex took the initiative to found this group and has led community efforts such as a rally at Crystal Lake park in support of immigrant rights is remarkable given that she is also an accomplished scholar. 
Since its founding, Three Spinners has grown exponentially and become a crucial resource for refugees. The group not only provides aid to incoming families and individuals but also has made great strides to support the new comers to earn college degrees and have access to other fundamental educational resources. This is deeply needed and important work. Alex’s dissertation, "Topographies of Memory and Amnesia in Poland and Spain," promises to be an innovative project that puts two national traditions of trauma into conversation with each other.