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Current Scholars

Katy Wyszynski

Class of: 2017
Hometown: Dallas, TX
School: Peabody
Major(s): Human and Organizational Development

Katy is not one for collecting mementos from her service endeavors. She always gives away her colored pages or handmade bracelets she has created. But sitting on her desk is a seashell, replete with scalloped edges and holes almost too tiny to identify. The summer before her senior year, Katy’s boss at a local community center brought back seashells from her beach vacation. They weren’t just any seashells; they were broken, cracked, and left stranded in the sand washed up by the tide. Katy knew that the seashells represented the kids she was working with that summer. Katy continues to look at that shell for inspiration because it brings back all the memories from her most meaningful service experience.

Throughout high school, Katy has experienced many types of service. She has volunteered at homeless shelters, community centers and retirement homes. She has tutored and mentored elementary and middle school children at local public schools lacking proper funds. One highlight of her service was completing 500 hours of service at Children’s Medical Center. In the hospital she would sit with babies on isolation and assist in the playrooms or Emergency Room. In the volunteer office she was considered a team leader, helping train new volunteers and coordinate assignments.

Katy completed the most impactful projects the summer before her senior year. She was chosen for an internship at Wesley Rankin Community Center in West Dallas to launch B3X, their first full-length summer camp focused on math, science and music. She taught a class of twenty-two second graders from West Dallas, the eleventh poorest zip code in the nation. There her boss taught her about the community while forcing Katy to reevaluate why she participates in community service. Her boss at Wesley Rankin also gave her the seashell, which reminds her of what she learned from that summer experience. That same summer Katy attended meetings with other high school students to join in the fight against human trafficking. The group wrote a curriculum for sex trafficking education with the help of the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation; since then it has been implemented in schools in Texas, Nevada, California and New York. They also created a video to promote education on trafficking, as well as to correlate with the 100 Days of Freedom Movement, a student-led crusade to proclaim freedom for victims of modern day slavery. Their video is now used for training purposes in the Dallas Police Department, as well as by the Department of Justice.

Katy culminated her service endeavors by serving as the president of the Community Service Board at Hockaday. Her main role was to plan and execute weekly board meetings, as well as oversee all service projects within the high school. She helped plan for Hockaday students to volunteer at Wesley Rankin at their after school program. Katy also worked with the headmistress to plan an assembly at their school to show the video on human trafficking. It was Katy’s mission to share her experience with the hope that her passion would ignite a community to affect change.    

At Vanderbilt, Katy hopes to continue her service with human trafficking. In addition she is interested in volunteering at the medical center to gain more knowledge about health care. Katy is blessed to be chosen as an Ingram Scholar, and very excited to start her life in Nashville.