Voices of Trinity: Triumph of Winter Graduates!
I am so pleased to recognize and congratulate all of Trinity’s Winter 2022 graduates! We conducted virtual graduation ceremonies last week, and all graduates are welcome to participate in the “live and in-person” commencement in May! Here are the stories of some of Trinity’s newest alumnae:
Breonna Bailey, BA in Business Administration (CAS)
“We strive to build success in our lives, As women we are queens on the rise, So don’t let your light lose its shine, As Trinity sisters we will continue to thrive” . – Breonna Bailey.
Over the past four years with my Trinity sisters I am so grateful to have accomplished more than I ever imagined. From the day I walked on campus in August of 2017 to the last day of classes in December of 2021 I have learned so much about myself and my capabilities. It’s been 4 years full of both blessings and lessons and it feels odd not hearing my favorite Professors teach while class is in session. I would have never thought I’d accomplish so much in a span of only 4 years. From becoming a student ambassador, being president of the Business Club as well as President of Campus Activities Association, or even Vice Chair of Student Athlete Advisory Committee as a student athlete(Tennis ) I am beyond grateful for each and every leadership skill and lesson I learned in the process.
In 2020 when Covid began I experienced one of the most difficult obstacles I could ever imagine. I had an anxiety attack where I lost my voice for an entire year. It was extremely stressful and tearful. However it has returned mostly although I’m still dealing with some unfortunate issues with my voice here and there but in the end it made me stronger. I can honestly say that “You’re Bigger “ by Jakalyn Carr is my power song and it definitely keeps me from giving up as the days go by. This year although still in Covid I lost two of my uncles, and two of my aunts but I think they would be so proud. Thank you so much to everyone who supported me throughout my journey. I have many more goals to achieve as I open this new chapter filled with memories and blessings. Those who believe will strive to achieve not one, not two but all of their dreams.
Jacqueline Alvarez, BS in Forensic Science (CAS)
My name is Jacqueline Alvarez, a Forensic Science Major and one of three in my family to attend and graduate college. It is truly a dream come true to reach my goal of graduating with my bachelors in a field that I have been passionate about since I was 13 years old.
As everyone else, my college experience was not easy. There have been a number of times where I just wanted to give up and quit but I knew that was the easy way out and knew what I was capable of. I started Trinity right after high school in 2014 and was forced to take a break the last month of my junior year in 2018. I worked up the courage and strength to return back to Trinity spring semester of 2019 and even through COVID. I was motivated than ever before, regardless of the long nights and early mornings, the tears, and stress.
If it weren’t for my fellow Trinity sisters, my amazing support system consisting of close friends and family, and the unconditional love and continuous guidance from Father God, I would not have made it this far. Thank you Trinity for an amazing college experience, thank you to my professors for being so encouraging and always reminding me of what I am capable of. Now I am certain that I can do anything I put my mind to. This is only the beginning of a new chapter!
Irene Isabel Salazar, BA in Psychology (CAS)
My name is Irene Isabel Salazar, I am from Tamaulipas, Mexico, and I am a DACA student.
My education journey has not been an easy one, but it has been worthwhile. My parents left everything they had in Mexico so that I could have a better future. The moment I realized all the sacrifices they had made was the day I started to change my perspective on higher education. While my peers were opening college letters, I was working two jobs to help my parents out financially. It was sad living in Marietta, Georgia as a DACA recipient. No one at my high school was equipped to guide me except for one extraordinary woman, Dr. Rona Roberts. She guided me through many obstacles in my life and gave me an abundance of wisdom to move forward.
After graduating high school, I found Freedom University, a modern-day freedom school for undocumented students that are banned from higher education in Georgia. I was able to get a full-on college experience and realized that I was not alone. Dr. Emiko Soltis opened many opportunities for me and gave me the confidence I needed to continue following my dreams.
I am grateful to thedream.us and all the private donors that gave me an amazing opportunity of attending university. Just like my father, I made the tough decision to leave home and pursue my goals for a better future. Although I might be behind the rest of my peers, I am exactly where I should be. Henry David Thoreau once said, “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” This saying is something that has allowed me to reflect on the woman I am and will become. I hope to one day be a resource, not only for my siblings but also for other undocumented students in hostile states like Georgia who don’t have a lot of opportunities of attending college.
“Thank you” will never be enough to express all the gratitude I have for each and every one of the people behind my success. ¡Gracias!
Kimberly Ortiz, BA in Medical Sociology (CAS)
Graduating from Trinity has always been a dream of mine. I still remember being really excited as I was graduating High School when I found out that I would be attending my dream university for my undergraduate degree. I always said I wanted to attend the same university my sister attend ever since she graduated from Trinity in 2013 with her undergraduate degree in Business Administration and Psychology. Being a student at Trinity, I have always felt seen and heard by all of my professors, classmates and the faculty. Throughout these past four years, I have realized just how much I have grown not only academically but also personally during my time at Trinity.
I want to thank all of my professors for their support and the opportunities that they have shared with me that has allowed me to continue to grow. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to meet and get to know them. All of their support and guidance has made a positive impact in my life. Thanks to my professors I now believe that I have found a future career path that I feel very passionate about as a Medical Sociology major and Health Services minor. I feel that this career path allows me to have a personal connection with what I learn and experience throughout my life as a disabled Latina. Now I can confidently move on to the next chapter in my life as I work on pursing my Masters degree in Public Health with a focus in Community Health at Trinity. I would like to thank my parents, sister, brother-in-law and the rest of my family (photo below) for their full support and encouragement to continue pursuing my education. I truly believe that without them I would not be where I am today in my career. I dedicate this achievement to all of you! Thank you so much for everything!!
Veronica K. Brunnel, BA in Human Relations (SPS):
My academic journey at Trinity Washington University started in 2015 with a dream of finishing college and showing my daughter that failure is not an option and to finish strong. This year we graduated together. She graduated from KIPP DC college prep and currently studying criminal justice at Delaware State University. I plan to attend the graduate school of Social Work at Howard University this fall. Trinity Washington University- Thank you for everything!
Minette Egbe, BA in Human Relations (SPS):
My name is Minette Egbe and I’m graduating with a bachelors degree in psychology human relations. I honestly never though I would get to the end of this journey. When I first applied for Trinity I was so nervous because I have not been in school for so long, I was also a mom of 2 and married. I was so afraid and not sure how I would balance everything. So while in school things started good and I was adjusting well but then in December 2018 I lost my best friend unexpectedly which was my mom. It was so hard for me because I lost a piece of my heart. Everyone questioned me if I needed to take a break from school but I was determined to make my mom proud even if she was not here anymore. It was so hard for me emotionally but I had a goal to accomplish school and was not going to let anything push me backwards. God gave me the strength and now we are in 2022 and I’m so proud of myself. Funny thing is my graduation date is the same day we buried her. I know she’s smiling and watching over me every day. I’m so glad I did this for me and I’m able to be a great role model to my daughter. I want students to know that you should never give up towards your goals, life will bring you all types of obstacles but look straight forward and focus on the finish line. Also, this is not my list stop, I have so much more goals to achieve.
Tammy Wright, BA Human Relations (SPS):
I would like to thank all of my professors during my journey here at Trinity Washington University. The encouragement I received from the Trinity staff, and my family is beyond words. When I decided to go back to school I was keeping a promise I made to my mother after graduation from high school. I followed in her footsteps by going to Cosmetology School and becoming a successful entrepreneur. My mother was diagnosed with cancer and passed away as I held her in my arms. After her passing I became very depressed and lost my way. After much prayer and self-reflection God rescued me from a very dark path. I am now a grateful recovering person blessed with many accomplishments. I am most proud to have become a graduate of Trinity Washington University. I am sure that my mother and father are having a big celebration in heaven along with many family and friends. I am the youngest of six children and there are just three of us living. I am so grateful for the opportunity to go back to school and complete this academic journey with honors. I would like to thank my family for all of their support and encouragement during times when so many friends and family passed away during this pandemic. Most of all I am thankful to God who kept me through many tough times and blessed me to keep going while suffering from COVID-19. I am so grateful that I made it and I am ready to celebrate this achievement. To God be the glory!!!
Lakiha D. Wilson-Speed, BA Health Services (SPS):
I grew up here in Washington, DC where I attended DC Public Schools. Upon graduation from high school the plan was to go into the Army. The following year I became a single mother to a beautiful baby girl named Diamond. After she was born September 26, 1995, I was able to spend every day with her for the first year of her life. I returned to work shortly after her first birthday.
After working as a security officer for a short period, I decided that I wanted to work in healthcare so that I could help others and also help provide a better life for me and my daughter. I enrolled in Sanz School in 1999. In 2000 nine months after enrolling, I graduated as a Certified Medical Office Specialist which assisted me with getting a paid internship at Georgetown University Hospital. After the internship was completed, I was offered a permanent position. I had just celebrated my eighth year at Georgetown when a good friend-Reesha encouraged me to enroll in school. In the summer of 2008, I applied to Trinity Washington University. The day my acceptance letter arrived in the mail was one of the best days of my life. I continued working full-time at Georgetown and taking classes in the evening, in the fall of 2008 I started my journey for a degree in Business Management. I would be at Georgetown for eleven and a half years before being offered another opportunity at George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates.
In 2009 I reconnected with the love of my life Kevin. He asked me to be his wife in 2010 and we married in 2012. So, there we were a lovely blended family Kevin, Lakiha, Derrick and Diamond and one year later we welcomed our beautiful baby boy and first child together Kevin II on July 23rd, 2013. I continued taking classes, however it became difficult managing time and family life, so in 2014, I made the difficult decision to take a break from school.
Five years would go by and there were many moments during this time that I would think about school. Also, my husband would encourage me and let me know that I had his full support whenever I was ready to return. I told him that my last couple of semesters were not great so when I go back, I have to give it one hundred percent. In the summer of 2019, there was a college fair downtown, and I went with the intention of finding the Trinity Washington University table. I was able to meet with an academic advisor that day. We reviewed my transcript and put a plan in place for me to complete my program, a new program Health Services. I was so excited! Thank you Dr. Betschman.
I did so well my first year back that I felt that I had redeemed myself from doing so poorly the last couple of semesters I was at Trinity. I owed it to myself to focus solely on school. After nine and a half years, I made another difficult decision to resign from my job at GW MFA to become a full-time student. I know that I had the support and was not by myself (Isaiah 41:10). That was another great decision and then covid-19 came and turned the whole world upside down. Now me and my son Kevin whos’ six and in the second grade are in virtual classes from home. My husband continued to work outside of our home. Covid put a few speed bumps in the process and being in class from home was a learning curve, however I wasn’t showing any signs of slowing down. And then I received a call that my favorite person in the whole world had passed. My grandmother was the sweetest person ever. I was heartbroken anyway, however I was not able to see her for many months because of covid. I hope that I made her proud because I kept my word to give it one-hundred percent by being an honor student and being on the Dean’s List twice. I had become a better student than I ever was before at the proud age of forty-five. And now this January 2022 I will be graduating from college with my first degree. I am proud and I’ve made my family proud. Unlike the first time, this time around I learned to use my success network. I want to thank my personal success network of my family and friends and my academic success network of professors, academic advisors and student tutors at Trinity who were very instrumental in helping me accomplish this goal. I am thankful for the opportunity and the experiences I have had at Trinity. #TrinityProud #GoTigers #TrinityAlum
Tiffanie Edwards, AA General Studies (SPS)
My journey at Trinity was fulfilling, and it was great. I am so excited to be graduating with my associates, and moving on at Trinity to receive my Bachelors degree in Early Childhood Education! This journey was not easy, however it is doable, and was worth every minute of the time. My Professors were the best. I want to give a special shout out to Professor Bernice Seals, she really motivated, pushed, and made me a better student early in my college journey. Thanks to Professor Seals I rocked out on all my papers through this journey. Thank you Trinity see you next semester to start the next chapter in my educational journey!
[President’s Note: Congratulations to Tiffanie who is now enrolling in the BA in Early Childhood Education! We love it when Trinity Women continue their education to the next level!!]
Brianna Roche, BA in Business Administration (CAS)
This has been a long time coming: 4 years and two colleges later and here I am. Graduating from Trinity Washington University is yet another milestone in my life that I can cross off. Being able to transfer to this college from an HBCU was a big change but I sure am glad I made the change. Trinity has allowed me to gain life long sisters and to continue out my sports career from playing basketball as well as volleyball. Growing up education was always important for me and my grandfather was a big inspiration in the career path that I am in now; Accounting. Unfortunately he died when I was 13 years old and everything thus far has been for him and to continue to make him proud. My college career has definitely not been easy but I managed and I am here now graduating with a 3.1 GPA, a secured full time position, and on the road to take my CPA exam to become a Certified Public Accountant. My education journey does not stop here and I will be pursuing a master’s degree in Forensic Accounting in 2023; college is still being decided. Trinity has been nothing but good to me from my advisor’s, professors, coaches, teammates, and even classmates. Thank you Trinity Washington University, my Alma Mater.
Darnetrice Gallion, BA Health Services (SPS)
I’m a mother of 4 kids, work full time, and went to school full time. This journey for me as a student wasn’t easy and it took me 13 years on and off to finish school. I transferred from UDC where I was studying biology to come to Trinity to finish my degree and it’s been an amazing experience since I have been here. All the staff and professors do their best to help you succeed, meet yours and graduate. It’s a joyful experience for me and I’m excited to be graduating from Trinity Washington, a school I always dreamed of attending. I will become a physician assistant and open my own practice. I will help advocate for the community, women and children. I’m passionate about reducing the fatality in pregnancy deaths. I’m blessed to be a part of an amazing school. Thank you all so much for having me and I appreciate it. For any mothers out there, continue to push through no matter what life throws at you. Don’t quit, don’t give up, keep pushing until you give birth to your dreams. We are strong women and we can conquer anything with God, faith, and courage. If i did it so can you all. If God can do it for me, he can do it for you. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, it’s no race to the finish line and the goal is to make it to the finish line.
Shinel Mullings, BA Health Services (CAS)
I was born and raised in Clarendon, a central parish of my tropical island, Jamaica. In this small, beautiful land, surrounded by the Caribbean Sea, I enjoyed the warm sunshine, delicious food, and a rich heritage cultivated by people like Bob Marley, a world -renowned reggae singer, and Usain Bolt to name just a few. I left my homeland on January 12, 2012, when I embarked on a new journey with my mother. We left our sunny island home to live with my grandfather here in the U.S, a much colder place but one with opportunities for a better education. While I was excited, I also felt heartbroken because I had to leave my family and friends behind. As my mother and I entered the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, Jamaica, I told myself, “This is it; the beginning of my journey of a thousand miles.”
As I adjusted to living in the United States of America, I started participating in acting showcases/international events, community clubs and being involved in extracurricular activities in Middle & High school. I was also privileged to serve as a leader in my school community. Through these activities, I learned to be bold and confident as I took advantage of the educational opportunities that America offers. While I experienced pressure in my transformation to become “Americanized,” I have never forgotten my roots. I still listen to Jamaican music, reminisce about the island’s sunshine, keep in touch with my family and friends, and of course, delight myself in some of my favourite cuisines.
It seems like yesterday that the puzzle of entering Trinity Washington University was presented to my fellow graduates and I to put together. Most of us were nervous, anxious, or scared. We concerned ourselves with how we would fit in and the challenges we would face in our freshman, sophomore, junior and senior years. I must say a big thanks to President McGuire for being attentive to us students when we are all in need, special shout out to Dr. Nicole Betschman and Professor Stacey Baugh just to name a few professors who I came across and appreciation to the wider staff and faculty members of this noble institution who never gave up hope on any of us but guided our steps along my journey. I was eager to become a nurse [but] … I came across the Health Services program and switched my major. I spoke with my advisor, and she guided me right on track with the classes I would need and luckily, I completed most of the classes which I would need to graduate.
I became very comfortable and noticed there were many routes to take in the Health Services program, and with advice from my mother I’ve found my passion. I am very grateful to have completed my internship at DC department of Health (DOH) while attending Trinity. I will continue to work in the field of ABA therapy with young adults & children who are diagnosed with autism. My future plans include working in the HR department at a hospital or in a clinical setting, earn my (BCBA) Board Certified Behaviour Analyst licensure and also to hopefully come back to Trinity and earn my master’s degree in Public Health or Psychology.
The journey was very rocky, but I remain very confident and determined while attending Trinity. Thanks to Nelson Mandela who once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” To my Trinity graduates, we all worked hard to be armed with this weapon and we are on our way to changing the world. A college degree is an enviable tool that opens many doors of opportunities, and we are all blessed to have obtain our degrees. Graduation, however, is not an end goal. It is a part of the larger journey of one’s life. I am very thankful and grateful to say I am a Trinity Tiger Alumna. CONGRATULATIONS to ALL, we did it through a pandemic, so let’s continue achieving our goals and be successful.
Donnia Thomas, BA Human Relations (CAS)
After graduating from High School in 2011, I just knew I had my life figured out. I attended Penn State soon after for a year and a half, with a major in Criminal Justice. While there, things took a turn for the worst, financially, so I officially declared myself as a “broke college student.” I needed to work while I was in school so I decided to come back home, so I transferred to Trinity in January 2013. For three years, I consistently worked in various fields while attending school, I was once a bartender, administrative assistant, a barista at Starbucks and an aftercare teacher. During this time, I have also found my dream career, to be an educator. So I have been in the education field ever since. In 2016, I found out I was having a baby boy so I impulsively decided to quit school my senior year. Four years and a pandemic later, I was working from home so I impulsively decided to finish school and show my now 5 year old son, Kairo, that education comes first! Post graduation, I plan to teach in a DC school and become an owner of an education facility. I’ve decided to live out my dreams so that my son would never have to struggle.