College of Charleston senior Dylan Kornegay is using her passion for the Spanish language and culture to help women – 3,000 miles away in Lima, Peru. Many college students do internships during the summer, but Kornegay is taking it to the next level, immersing herself in Latin America at Casa Hogar, a non-profit dedicated to helping teenage mothers.
“Latin America gave me the joy of the Spanish language, so I wanted to return the favor,” Kornegay says. “I love being able to use this skill that I have to serve others. Not everyone has the ability to communicate in another language, and I feel like if you do, you should take full advantage of the opportunities that skill grants you!”
Kornegay will spend 13 weeks in Peru this summer. In addition to honing her Spanish skills, she has also learned how a non-profit organization is run and the entrepreneurial spirit a community project requires.
“Dylan Kornegay is one of our outstanding and unique undergraduates who consistently pursues opportunities to use her Spanish major skills for the selfless assistance of others,” says Mark Del Mastro, chair of the Department of Hispanic Studies. “Her internship in Peru this summer is truly remarkable and a model that should be held up to all our undergraduates at the College.”
Kornegay says, “I really want to start a non-profit that works with immigrant women in the U.S. – every immigrant brings their own culture and experience with them and they come to this country with nothing. My future plans aren’t set in stone, but I am certain that whatever I do will involve the Spanish language, because I can’t think of a group of people with whom I love or relate to more.”
Kornegay is also active in the Charleston community. She is the house manager of La Casa Hispanica and the president of the Nu Zeta chapter of Sigma Delta Pi (the National Hispanic Honor Society). Through these involvements, she has translated at elementary schools for Hispanic parents who need help at registration or parent/teacher conferences, taught Spanish classes at elementary schools, and led the Rise Up and Read program.