Featured Students

Featured Student: Alli Strong


  • Name: Alli Strong
  • Year: Senior
  • Major: International Studies and Youth & Nonprofit Leadership
  • Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Quirky Fact: I don’t really like ketchup.
  • Favorite thing to get on campus: Starbooks coffee
  • Favorite movie: Forrest Gump
  • Best book you’ve read recently: One Thousand Wells by Jena Lee Nardella
  • What you like to do on campus: Listening to music on the steps of Pogue Library.


Q & A:

Tell us about yourself:

My name is Alli Strong, I’m from Cincinnati, Ohio, and I’m double-majoring in International Studies & Youth & Nonprofit Leadership. I am really interested in international development and nonprofit organizations that work internationally to promote and protect human rights. I studied abroad in South Africa the spring semester of my sophomore year here at MSU, and I fell in love with its people and its culture. While in South Africa, I took courses in Community Development, Human Rights, and Stereotype & Prejudice Reduction. During my time at MSU, I have really loved getting to know international students who study at MSU through the Intercultural Exchange Program and the ESL Conversation Partners Program. Ever since my freshman year, I have also been actively involved in MSU’s Baptist Campus Ministry, which has been hands-down one of the most wonderful and rewarding experiences during my time at MSU.

What made you come to Murray State?

I actually did a Google search of undergraduate nonprofit management programs, and Murray State was one of the only schools in the country that offers Nonprofit Leadership as an undergraduate major! So, I drove six hours to come here for a campus tour and was able to meet with a few of the professors in that department. I ended up falling in love with MSU and our beautiful campus, and I knew that this was the place I was supposed to be for the next four years.

Who have you enjoyed working with?

I have enjoyed working with Dr. Choong-Nam Kang in the Political Science and Sociology Department. He has been really great as both an advisor and a teacher. Dr. Kang also serves as faculty advisor for the Model United Nations Club which I participate in, and last year, Model UN was able to travel to New York City for the National Conference. This year, I am serving as president of the Model UN Club, and we are looking forward to participating in either the Southern Conference in Charleston, SC, or the Midwest Conference in St. Louis, MO. Dr. Kang has worked really hard for us, and puts in a lot of time and effort into the club. In my Nonprofit Leadership major, I have really enjoyed working with Dr. Bob Long. Dr. Long was one of the very first people I met on campus, and he has served as a great mentor to me over the past three years. I was lucky enough to take four of Dr. Long’s classes, and I have learned from him more about the nonprofit sector (and about life in general) than I could have ever imagined.

Who inspires you in life?

My family inspires me each and every day. My parents are both extremely hard workers, and they have taught me how to be genuine and authentic towards every person I meet. They have an incredible amount of faith, and they have consistently encouraged me in the daily strengthening of my faith in Christ. My family is my greatest source of encouragement, and they have supported me and my desire to achieve my goals every step of the way during my time at MSU.

What made you choose the major you did?

I chose my International Studies major because I’ve always been interested in global affairs, and I thought that International Studies would really compliment my Nonprofit Leadership major. I also liked how with the International Studies major it was a requirement to study abroad. My semester abroad really helped me to get out of my comfort zone and be completely immersed in a different culture for five months. The experience really changed my life and how I view the world. I’ve really enjoyed both my international relations and political science classes and the interdisciplinary approach the International Studies major has allowed me to take in learning about world affairs.

Work related to your major?

Since my freshman year, I have been a Student Worker in MSU’s Education Abroad Office. This past summer, I completed two internships at different nonprofit organizations in Cincinnati. One was an international humanitarian aid and disaster relief organization. I worked primarily in the organization’s event-planning department, but it was really valuable to have my international relations background and to be able to speak with other employees about the different countries in which they work. During my time studying abroad in South Africa, I was able to participate in two community service learning projects. We worked in one of the townships outside of Port Elizabeth, and most of our work focused on youth development projects.

Future plans?

Right now I am deciding between several things. Graduate school is a possibility, and I’m looking into a master’s degree in International Development or a master’s degree in Philanthropy. The Peace Corps is also a possibility, and an opportunity to serve in the Peace Corps would give me a great advantage later on in either the job or graduate school search.  Otherwise, I may just begin straight into a job search for nonprofit organizations that advocate for human rights and have an international focus.


Alli Strong is not only smart and bright, but also very passionate about helping others and making a better world. Alli has impressed me a lot in many aspects. She has shown her academic excellence and work ethic in class as well as her passion and leadership skills in the MSU Model United Nations Club. She has been diligently preparing herself for her future career that can connect her study and passion, and I’m very certain that Alli will pursue a successful career. Simply, Alli is truly a remarkable student!

-Choong-Nam Kang


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