Alejandra Molina, director of the Office of Intercultural Affairs and assistant professor of Spanish, was honored by the Geneva League of Women Voters and received the 2013 Agnes Slosson Lewis Award at the organization’s annual dinner on June 20. The celebration also featured a keynote address from Professor of Political Science Iva Deutchman.
The Agnes Slosson Lewis Award is given in honor of Agnes Slosson Lewis, the president of the Political Equality Club (which had more than 7,000 members in 1917) and then the League of Women Voters when women gained the right to vote in New York State in 1917. The award is now given to recognize women who have great wisdom and foresight and an innate ability for leadership and the courage to inspire others.
Molina works with agencies to provide local migrant workers with community services and she and her students have assisted with programs organized by the Geneva Community Health Clinic, Geneva Human Rights Commission, Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes, the Salvation Army and many other local and regional organizations to improve the quality of life for members of the Geneva and HWS communities.
Deutchman was welcomed as the event’s honored speaker, addressing the challenges of polarization in American politics and the opportunity afforded by electing more women to office.
Deutchman reasoned that the unique perspective afforded by increasing the number of women elected would help create the progress necessary to overcome the partisan political atmosphere in Washington. “These are complicated issues with no single solution,” said Deutchman. “However, I do believe that increasing the percentage of elected officials who are women is one powerful option.”
Molina has lived in Geneva since 1995. She began her career at Hobart and William Smith as assistant professor in the Spanish and Hispanic studies program in 1997. In 2007, she became assistant dean/director of the Office of Intercultural Affairs at HWS and also has a faculty appointment in the Latin American Studies program. President Mark D. Gearan appointed Molina chair of the President’s Commission on Inclusive Excellence, a position she held for three years.
She currently serves on the Finger Lakes Health Foundation Advisory Community Board, Liturgia Workers Center of Rural and Migrant Ministry, the Geneva 20/20 Initiative and the Center for the Finger Lakes for which she serves as secretary. She is member of the steering committee of the Geneva Community Compact, whose mission is “to foster mutual respect regardless of ethnicity, repudiate racial and cultural bias and strengthen the City’s workforce diversity by drawing on the talents of all segments of the community.” Beginning in the fall 2013, she will serve as the HWS community liaison for the race and racism coalition, an HWS initiative seeking to create a constructive dialogue around issues of race and racism and to work to resolve its effects on the campus community.
Molina received B.A. and M.A. in Spanish linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin in 1987 and 1990. In 1997, she received an M.A. in Latin American literature and completed her Ph.D. in Spanish American colonial literature at Cornell University. In recognition of her service to her community, she was nominated for the Athena Award in 2007; received an NAACP Award of Excellence in Education in 2008; the NAACP Mary Ann Mallard Community Service Award in 2010 and the Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes Sharing the Light Award in 2011. At HWS, Molina was recognized by student life and leadership with the Advisor of the Year Award, the Latin American Student Association Award for Faculty Support, the Hai Timiai Honor Society Faculty Recognition Award and, most recently, the Academic Opportunity Programs Senior Class 2013 Award.
Deutchman holds a Ph.D. and a master’s degree in political science from the University of Pennsylvania, and a bachelor’s degree from Hofstra University in political science and economics. She is a professor of 20 plus years who has worked on two continents (Australia and North America). She has a long list of publications in major journals, the latest of which are “Electoral Challenges of Moderate Factions: Main Streeters and Blue Dogs, 1994- 2008,” The Forum, Vol. 8: Iss2, Article 2 (2010) (with DeWayne Lucas); “Five Factions, Two Parties: Caucus Membership in the House of Representatives, 1994- 2002,” Congress and the Presidency, 36:62-84, 2009 (with colleague DeWayne Lucas); and “Fundamentalist Christians, Raunch Culture and Post-industrial Capitalism,” Journal of Religion and Popular Culture, Summer 2008.