I am proud to call Alexandria home. It is where I've been living for a decade, where my wife and I are raising our two kids, and where my parents and two brothers have lived for the past seven years. My daughter is an Alexandria City Public Schools student and my son will be one next year.
My story, however, begins in a different Alexandria. Like so many of my fellow Americans, it starts in a different corner of the world. It begins in Alexandria, Egypt, when in 1978, my father graduated at the top of his class and was accepted to pursue his Ph.D. in the United States.
I was born in Chicago, where my father and mother, also an Egyptian immigrant, lived while my father was teaching at the University of Illinois. A few years later, we moved to Falls Church, Virginia, where I attended kindergarten and first grade.
When I was eight years old, my parents moved our family back to Egypt. There, I experienced firsthand what it means to live under a dictatorship, where corruption leads to wealth flowing upwards, income disparities, broken government services, poverty, and despair. I knew I had no path to success there and that I would eventually need to come back to my country of birth.
I came back to the U.S. seeking opportunity and knowing that if I worked hard, I would succeed. I put myself through the City College of New York by working a minimum wage job delivering pizza, working evenings and weekends, and 16-hour days in the summers. Thanks to affordable college and financial aid, I was able to graduate debt-free.
Soon after, I moved to Alexandria, Virginia to work at the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Alexandria was a chosen home, but one that has also adopted me. Ever since moving here, I've strived to be active in my community as a volunteer, leader, advocate, and friend.
A TALE OF TWO ALEXANDRIAS
ABDEL IN THE COMMUNITY
PTA: I served as president of the Parent Teacher Association at Samuel Tucker Elementary School, and I’ve stayed on since as PTA secretary.
Alexandria City Boards: I currently serve on the Alexandria City Community Criminal Justice Board and the Alexandria City Building Code Board of Appeals, appointed by the City Council.
Community Advocate: I’ve been advocating for police accountability and data transparency, restorative practices to end the disproportionate suspension of students of color, fair labor laws, and workers' rights.
MORE ABOUT ABDEL
Abdel holds an MS in Engineering Management from George Washington University and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the City College of New York. Abdel is currently an engineering project manager at WMATA, more commonly known as “Metro.” He is also a licensed professional engineer and a graduate of the University of Virginia’s prestigious Sorensen Institute. Abdel lives in the Landmark Area of Alexandria with his wife Salma, their eight-year-old daughter, and their four-year-old son.