Born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Alex fell in love with the College of William and Mary after an extensive college search. It was his history teacher in high school who inspired Alex and instilled in him both a passion for history and a desire to become a teacher himself.
Entering William and Mary as a Monroe Scholar, Alex majored in History and Secondary Education. He is a member of the Phi Alpha Theta history honor fraternity, the Phi Eta Sigma and Alpha Lambda Delta academic honor fraternities, and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Alex tutored students at Toano Middle School and also served as a live-in student aide for a study abroad program for high school students in Paris. Reflecting on his time abroad, Alex wrote, "After being absorbed into another culture, it is simply impossible to return home with the same ethnocentric viewpoint we often subconsciously possess."
Alex expresses his gratitude for the Frances H. and Robert O. Nelson Memorial Scholarship he received noting that, "Education is a field that derives most of its rewards internally. The generous assistance that William and Mary has provided for my education will help me to meet the important ‘external' demands of the challenging and engaging field of teaching."
In 1990, Mrs. Nancy Nelson Diggs established The Frances H. and Robert O. Nelson Memorial Scholarship in honor of her parents. This award is given annually to a deserving student in the School of Education who is pursuing a career in either teaching or education administration, and who embodies the qualities of professional competence, commitment to education, and love of teaching and learning that epitomized the lives of both Dr. and Mrs. Nelson.