Denis Hodžić immigrated to Bowling Green with his mother in 1999. Though his mother, Sadeta, is from Bratunac in Eastern Bosnia, Denis was born in Germany during the war. In Bowling Green, Hodžić attended Bowling Green High School and was accepted to Western Kentucky University under full scholarship. In 2017, he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry, completing his Honors Thesis with distinction. Hodžić is now enrolled in a Master of Science program in Biology with a focus on Biochemistry and is currently working as a graduate research and teaching assistant for Ogden College of Science and Engineering. In addition to working multiple jobs, Hodžić has accumulated numerous accolades and merits in academics and the arts, including being named a National Merit Scholar. He also helps coordinate events in the community, such as the annual Walk to Remember Srebrenica Genocide, and is serving on the planning committee for WKU’s International Year of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Though Hodžić arrived in Bowling Green as a child and has excelled in his work and studies here, he remains connected to his heritage and finds it important to know the history and culture of Bosnia and of his mother’s home. It is important to him to keep this heritage alive for future generations. For Hodžić, even from a young age, Bosniak identity was a way to belong.
“America is my home. This country opened its doors to my family and in doing so, it forever changed the course of our lives. However, I was raised as a Bosniak. I grew up speaking Bosnian, eating our foods, singing our songs, practicing our faith. The person I am today, a young Bosnian-American, has been shaped by both countries, both cultures, both worlds.”