Paying it Forward: Mi Madrina y Yo


The reason that I work in International Education is because of my Madrina, Dra. Nelly McRae. She is the person who inspired me to take every opportunity to better my Spanish language skills as a student at Hampton University and continues to inspire me to this day. Madrina as, I affectionately call my former professor and Spanish academic advisor has been my rock in my goal to become fluent in the Spanish language. She has been one of my supporters throughout my career in corporate international Marketing and later my transition to International Education. Since being a student in her class at Hampton University we have created an unbreakable bond that will last many lifetimes. We are so much more than former professor/student, advisor/advisee we are family.

Kory and her Madrina!

She has encouraged me to participate in each of my study abroad experiences. She inspired my pursuits to work in Education Abroad and prayed for me when through all of the challenges that I experienced while transitioning from one industry to another. She always had an encouraging word, scripture, article to read, person to connect with, etc. She also provided me the opportunity to speak to her Spanish classes whenever I visited my alma mater to share my insight on language learning, studying abroad, etc. This allowed me to hone many of the skills that I use in my current role as a Study Abroad Coordinator.  A recent highlight for me was when I got the opportunity to FaceTime with Madrina while I was in Costa Rica developing a Service Learning Study Abroad Program that I will lead next year. It was surreal to FaceTime Madrina from the country of her birth and to see the excitement on her face as we talked about my program and her childhood. It was such a blessing.

Madrina always saw and continues to see more in me than I often see in myself. Thus when asked to write about why I donated to the Jane Gluckmann and Carol Rausch “Go Global Scholarship” I immediately thought of mi Madrina, Dra. Nelly McRae!



About the Author:  Kory Saunders is a study abroad coordinator at Columbus State University in Georgia.  She is a Melibee for life, having been part of our hive family.