Edgell Shares Love of Public Service in Peru

Dylan Edgell is taking the passion for leadership and economic development that he first developed during his time as an Arkansas Tech University student and applying it to benefit people more than 3,500 miles from home.

Edgell, a 2016 graduate of ATU with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree, is spending his summer working in Ollantatytambo, Peru, for his international public service project as a student in the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.

His efforts with non-profit organization Awamaki have centered on helping local artisans set up their own businesses, connect to global markets, sell their wares and develop a sustainable business model.

“My experience here has been amazing,” said Edgell, a graduate of Pottsville High School. “Pushing myself outside my comfort zone and working in a foreign country has been difficult, but I’ve learned a lot about myself and what I’d like to pursue as a career while I’ve been here. I’ve been able to work with some amazing people at Awamaki and with the women in the communities Awamaki works with. Experiencing a different culture, working to improve my Spanish skills and being able to apply my academic knowledge from Arkansas Tech and the Clinton School to contribute to the work of Awamaki has been fulfilling. The Sacred Valley of Peru is beautiful, and I even got to cross an item off my bucket list and visit Machu Picchu.”

Edgell was the third generation of his family to attend Arkansas Tech. Scholarship opportunities and proximity to home helped convince him that ATU was his university of choice. Now, he looks back on his time as president of registered student organization Enactus as one of the most important aspects of his undergraduate experience.

“Being able to impact the community, lead, get that experience, fail and learn from that was a big highlight,” said Edgell. “I was given so many opportunities (at ATU) in terms of access to professors and other leaders around campus. It shaped my trajectory. I came to Tech initially to be a doctor, but that didn’t work out. I switched to business because I thought I wanted to be an entrepreneur. Enactus was just a club that I thought I’d join, but I really ended up liking public service. After working in a corporate setting for a year, I decided that was not what I liked so I changed paths and went back to public service.”

That led him to the Clinton School of Public Service, where he is on pace to graduate with his master’s degree in May 2019. He credits his undergraduate experience at ATU as preparing him for the rigors of post-graduate study.

“All of the extracurricular activities I did at Tech…Student Government Association, Enactus…really prepared me for the real-life challenges that I would face in my career and graduate school,” said Edgell. “Econometrics and several other classes in the ATU College of Business gave me the quantitative and qualitative skills I need in graduate school.”

Edgell’s goal after completing his master’s degree is to work in economic development, and when he achieves that goal, he’ll look back on his summer 2018 in Peru as a turning point.

“It’s been a life-changing experience,” said Edgell. “I’m excited to take what I’ve learned here in Peru back to Arkansas and see how I can apply this knowledge and contribute to my own community.”

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