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Massachusetts Picks Muslim Speaker for Students

AMHERST – Veiled Muslim student Elkhansaa Elguenaoui has been chosen as the student speaker at the University of Massachusetts graduation ceremony, representing 5,500 colleagues who will receive their degrees during the May 6 event.

“She will address the undergraduate ceremony that takes place on Friday, May 6 at 4:30 pm at McGuirk Alumni Stadium where about 5,500 students will receive bachelor’s degrees,” University of Massachusetts said in a statement, MASS Live reported.

Elguenaoui, who majored in neuroscience and psychology with a minor in biology, is the former president of the Muslim Student Association.

In a press release on April 25, the Medford resident said that she is most proud of serving as a resident assistant; traveling to Turkey, where she taught English; and working as a hospital intern.

She participated in interfaith programs on campus as part of the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life.

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After graduation, the young Muslim woman plans to go backpacking in Europe and then work in neuroscience research for two years, after which she hopes to attend medical school.

She added that playing intramural soccer while attending UMass Amherst has been a point of pride for her.

Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.