Born in El Salvador and raised in Virginia, Karen Cornejo Guillen’s bicultural background has fueled her curiosity about the world and in particular about Latin America. In the Spring of 2018, Karen graduated from Shenandoah University with degrees in political science, Spanish, and global studies. As an undergraduate, she had the unique opportunity to attend an Intensive Summer Study Program at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, where she sat in on Security Council and General Assembly meetings and met with UN practitioners from numerous areas of the UN system, including UN Women, UNICEF, UNHCR, and more.
While at Shenandoah, Karen’s curiosity about Latin America deepened both through academics and community involvement such as serving as a Spanish interpreter with local immigration attorneys, co-founding the university’s first Hispanic-oriented student organization-Estudiantes Unidos, and organizing community conversations on topics such as DACA and Temporary Protected Status (TPS). As a TPS recipient herself, the distinct challenges faced by immigrants in the United States is of particular concern personally and academically. In addition to migration, Karen’s intellectual curiosities include international humanitarian law, refugee law, and gender-based violence, specifically femicide and rape in the Latin American context. While at CLAS, she is excited to explore these topics, as well as the intersection between the trauma experienced among survivors of such violations and human rights law.
When Karen is not binge-watching documentaries, she loves baking, painting, trying new foods (especially sweets!), and collecting maps.