Ayleen Correa

First Major: Economics

Second Major:  International Affairs

300 Word Statement

I dream of the day when society no longer confines people’s vision of themselves based on their identity. The “Lafayette ideal” does not confine their vision of who they want to be in society’s narrow, biased configuration of what an Afro-Latina, first-generation, immigrant student can become. They think more broadly; they are willing to challenge themselves and those around them.

When applying to Lafayette, I recall writing my personal statement and being in love with the word “however.” “However” was a word that made me feel like the biggest poet, a best-selling writer, and an English language guru. Realizing that this actually showed my lack of proficiency in English, I began taking ESL classes, but the learning didn’t stop there. Through Professor Stewart-Gambino’s course, “US and Latin American Relations,” I became absorbed with the topic of memory in a post-dictatorship and how it shed light on an alternative inclusive history. Although fearful, I was hungry to explore more, so I accepted the challenge. I’m now writing a thesis; language didn’t deter me, neither did fear.

Challenges that rose up in front of me didn’t stop me, and I don’t want them to stop others. As I engaged in many community projects throughout college, I made it my goal to evaluate my impact. I made conscious decisions as a leader in the Teens in the Community camp to empower teens in Easton to recognize the agency that they possess to reach their goals. As a photographer, I envisioned ways to engage community members through multi-media art projects such as a #BlackLivesMatter mural raising awareness that this movement is more than a hashtag. In many ways, I have drawn on topics of justice to highlight the agency that we have to challenge popular narratives in our communities.

In our community, we find the narrow and biased configurations of what our stories should be according to our identities. However, in this same community, I also found the power to defy these narratives and forge my own path. The “Lafayette ideal” not only defies expectations for themselves but extends this belief into the broader community allowing others’ futures to be defined by more than identity.

Academic Activities/Awards – Total Years Involved

  • Excel Scholar program (Spanish Department) (1)

Editor and research assistant on 18th Century Literature in the Caribbean. This has been recognized by the Ministerio de Educacion de Espana.

Excel Scholar program (Engineering Studies) (1)

Research assistant in creating community proposal for a MakerSpace in Easton. It was a team effort where we met with stakeholders and proposed the idea as the city attempted to revitalize the Simon Silk Mill.

  • Tutor (Economics) (1/2)

Tutored students in developing stronger skills to understand the material in Economics 101.

  • Jenkins-Hunsicker Fellow (EEGLP) (1)

Collaborated with a team and asset mapped Appalshop, a culture hub in Whitesburg, Kentucky, through sociological research to identify three core assets as a social enterprise; cultural sustainability, Appalachian humanness, and first voice. From this experience, we were also able to support the re-imagination of a post-coal economy into a creative culture hub, which led to the formation of a new local radio station WWMT. Here, community members were empowered to share their narratives.

  • Senior Thesis (1) Post-Trauma Memory: Reconciliation after the Trujillato

Explores the ongoing effects of the Trujillo regime’s  human rights abuse on civilian life in the Dominican Republic, focusing on public sites, analyzing the public and private processes for reconciliation of traumatic memories. Through the combination of photography and a theoretical framework stemming from cultural memory studies, I explore the ongoing effects of the Trujillo regime’s human rights abuse on current memory.

  • Omicron Delta Epsilon Honor Society (1)

Honor society for Economics

  • Sigma Iota Rho Honor Society (1)

Honor society for International Affairs

  • Studio Art Laboratory Teaching Assistant Program (1/2)

Assisted students with photography projects, helping students brainstorm and execute creative ideas using photography.

  • Language Proctor (Spanish) (2)

Assisted students with homework and projects in the Language Department

Campus Services/Activities and Awards – Total Years Involved

  • Hispanic Society at Lafayette (2)

Initially was a member and then became secretary during the second semester of my first-year in college

  • Kaleidoscope (3)

I have been a Scope since the second semester of my first-year, inviting people to engage in conversations that may seem challenging, and similarly engaging in conversations that are outside of my comfort zone

  • Lafayette Activities Forum (LAF) (3)

I became a Chair of the Culture, Media, and Entertainment committee my first year of college, transitioned to Director of the same committee as a junior and currently stand as the President of the organization

  • Engineers Without Borders (EwB), Team International (1)

Community Liaison for a project in El Manantial, Dominican Republic. I also assisted in the closing of a previously opened project that inhibited EwB from starting new projects.

  • Lafayette College Ambassador Program (3)

Was an active tour guide for 2 years and currently am a office worker

  • Salsa Club (1)

Performed my first-year of college

  • National Conference for Undergraduate Research (1/2)

Presented my thesis to a wider audience at Kennesaw State University, with the opportunity of publicizing my findings in an academic journal.

Community Service – Total Years Involved

  • Pre-Orientation Service Program (4)

First-year was a participant, second year camp coordinator and summer fellow, third year Camp Director for Teens in the Community (TIC), fourth year Executive Director

  • Alternative School Break, “The Present is Female” (1)

Co-team leader for this trip focusing on women empowerment, learning from The Leadership Center women

  • Teens in the Community, MOSAIC (1/2)

Weekly participant. Helped teens all around Easton with their homework and engaged with them in many after school activities.

  • Community Partners at Lafayette (1/2)

Front office intern; conducted research on the role of the arts in community engagement and healing which led to modifications of the community service opportunities offered on campus

  • Community-Based Learning and Research Prize

Given to a senior that has made significant contributions to the community through course projects, an honors thesis, EXCEL Scholar work or some other form of academic community engagement.

  • The Journey Home: Restorative Justice Arts Program (1/2)

Student Volunteer

Special Interest – Total Years Involved

  • Creative and Performing Arts Scholar (4)

Used photography in various mediums to exercise first voice and engage the campus in interactive art exhibitions.

Exhibitions: “Broken Dilemma” (2016). Photography Exhibition. Pennsylvania State Theater.

  • Dean’s List (4) 

All semesters except Spring 2016

  • Posse Scholar (4)

Leadership-based full tuition scholarship. Posse believe that “the key to a promising future for our nation rests on the ability of strong leaders from diverse backgrounds to develop consensus solutions to complex social problems.” Therefore, it empowers the leaders of tomorrow to create the inclusive broad-based change.

  • Bill & Melinda Gates Millennium Scholarship (4)

Merit-based scholarship and network to support minority leaders reach their greatest potential.

  • Hispanic Scholarship Fund (4)

Merit-based scholarship assisting leading Hispanics in the country to make an impact in their communities by developing meaningful careers.

  • Royal Dynasty Entertainment (2)

In hopes of gaining better insight in the relationship of social justice and economic development, I co-founded Royal Dynasty Entertainment, with the goal of utilizing network theory and community-focused strategies to increase the access of upcoming minority artists to the mainstream music industry. We connected artists from Georgia to Pennsylvania, from North Carolina to Texas, creating an inclusive democratic space where all artists were welcomed.

  • Basta Fellow (1)

Project Basta fellow, selected among top first-generation college students to go through a professional immersive 10 week program

  • McKelvy Scholar (2)

The program is designed to provide a small number of students, interested in being a part of an intellectual community, an opportunity to participate in a residential program of study, discussion, and daily interaction that would significantly enhance the intellectual lives of all members of the program.

  • International Honors Program: Social Entrepreneurship (1/2) – Uganda, India, Brazil

Studied abroad and learned from a large range of leaders creating innovative change in their communities.

Publication: “Selfie of a Story” (2017). IHP/SEN Social Entrepreneurship Magazine, pp. 8–11.