Voices of Trinity: May 2022 Grads Share Their Stories

Voices of Trinity: May 2022 Grads Share Their Stories

Congratulations to all graduates in the Class of 2022!!  You have achieved so much, and all of Trinity is proud of you!  Below are just some of the amazing, courageous, triumphant stories of the Green Class of 2022 — thanks for sharing!

Daniela Romualdo Castro, CAS, BA in Communication, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Lambda Pi Eta

My name is Daniela Romualdo Castro. I am a first-generation, DACAmented Latina graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a minor in Women’s Studies. At age six I migrated from Mexico to the U.S. along with my family in pursuit of a better life and opportunities. I believe graduating from college is one of those opportunities.

I came to Trinity unsure if I was ready for college. As a first-generation college student who happened to also be DACAmented, I believed I had taken on more than I could handle. However, at Trinity, I found strength and community. For the first time in a while, I was in an environment where professors, colleagues, and other professionals supported me and encouraged me throughout my undergraduate journey. At Trinity, I fell in love with learning again. The communication and women’s studies courses I took have inspired me to work serving marginalized communities, especially women and Latinos.

These past four years were challenging yet so rewarding. I commuted to Trinity all my four years. At times it was difficult to get up for classes and come home late after a night class or a special event. However, commuting taught me the importance of time management and discipline. I was able to earn good grades and was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa and Lambda Pi Eta Honors Societies and earned Trinity’s T-Pin award. I was also able to get involved on campus. I got the chance to be a peer advisor, be a part of student organizations like WSAC, and above all work with the Admissions office as a student ambassador.

I am thankful to Trinity for allowing me to grow professionally and personally over the last few years. I am thankful for TheDream.Us who supported me financially and provided me with resources throughout the years. Most importantly I am thankful for my family and friends who have supported me and motivated me throughout these past four years.

 

Sharron-Rose Kisalu, NHP, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, cum laude, Conway Scholar, Shannon Scholar

My name is Sharron-Rose Kisalu, and I am thrilled to be graduating with a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing). This has been a long journey in the making, but I am most grateful to God, my support systems (family, friends, and church) for sticking by my side and encouraging me to keep going.

I am proud to say that I am graduating debt-free because of all the financial support from the wonderful benefactors. I cannot thank them all enough for helping me reach my goal and pursue a fulfilling career. I want to take the time to also thank all the faculty members for their dedication in teaching me the necessary information to build a strong foundation in nursing care.

I am also most grateful for the group of friends and meaningful relationships I have created for the past four years; my Trinity nursing sisters. They were an immense source of support and I love every single one of them so very much. I proud of the resilience our nursing cohort has built, especially during this COVID-19 pandemic.

I am looking forward to starting my nursing career at Holy Cross Hospital-Germantown as a Mother-Baby/NICU registered nurse. I plan to keep pursuing education in Women & Infant health to help improve the maternal health conditions in my home country, the Democratic Republic of Congo.

 

Diamond Moore, NHP, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Conway Scholar

My name is Diamond Moore, a Native Washingtonian, and a Conway Scholar. I began my undergraduate degree at Trinity in the Fall of 2017. I am more than grateful to be graduating with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. My journey as a nursing student has not been an easy one, but it has been worthwhile and very rewarding. …I am looking forward to embarking and starting my nursing career in the Emergency Department at Washington Hospital Center (WHC). Furthermore, I plan to continue my education by obtaining my sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) certificate and my Master’s degree in nursing (MSN) to then become a family nurse practitioner (FNP). Though my journey may have been different than the average nursing student, I was very determined, and I preserved despite my setbacks. My journey was not done alone, but I had an amazing support system starting with God first and foremost, family, friends. They were the ones who pushed me when I felt defeated or became discouraged. Therefore, I would like to leave future nursing student with, “Yes, nursing school is hard, but hard does not mean impossible”. Thank you, Trinity Washington University, for all the resources, financial support, and the education that you have provided me over the past five years.

 

Jessica Aguilar Rios, CAS, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, magna cum laude, Shannon Scholar

Graduating from college is a dream come true, and graduating from Trinity is a true blessing that I will forever cherish and hold close to my heart.

When I first started school at Trinity, the first thought that comes to mind is the logo “I found my strength at Trinity”. The past four years at Trinity, the logo became very real and holds a sacred place in my heart. I have many takeaways: everything happens for a reason, everything will be alright, and there is strength that lies in everyone and it lies at our core. As a first generation Latina college student, college seemed like a challenging dream because I was not sure how I was going to be able to afford it. Growing up my parents both worked hard to provide for our family. I remember, vividly, when I was 6-years-old and I told my mom I would attend college and they would not have to worry about college expenses. It would also be a way for me to give back to them and show them the appreciation for the sacrifices coming to the United States. Little did I know about the adversities that would lie ahead while pursuing my degree.

When I entered college there were a number of challenges that arose – family health issues, the challenges of the pandemic, economic concerns –  and I began to question if I would be able to maintain my grades and keep up with my classes.

In the moments of many doubts and bewilderment, I was able to push through. Trinity provided me with a safe environment where I could seek comfort in my faith through Trinity’s Sister Fellowship, reach out to my professors who were understanding, and seek new opportunities. The professors were not only supportive, but they challenged me along the way. I was able to afford my education and pursue my my passion as a psychology major.

For me being a Trinity Woman means being able to stand my ground and not be ruled by fear. It means being able to freely express my mind and stand up for what I believe in. Being a Trinity Woman also means pushing through even when the odds seem against me. Attending an all-women’s college helped me to freely express myself and find my voice. Being surrounded by women, hear their stories, and come together comes to show the power we have when we all get together, and what we are capable of.

At Trinity, I was able to unpack and put my potential and what it is that I want in life to the test That is what being a Trinity Woman means to me. Being able to share my story without shame, being able to use my voice and voice my opinions, and to keep pushing through even when it seems like I have no strength left in me. I thank my family, my mentors, my professors for their encouragement and guidance.

Martha Mendez, CAS, Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration

Nine years ago I had to immigrate to the USA and enroll in Cardozo High school. This was the place where a lot of people helped me learn English and helped me to adapt to the environment.

I’m from Guatemala and am a Mayan woman. It was my dream to attend college but there were a lot of obstacles that made it look impossible. In 2017 I graduated from high school and all the doors looked closed for me. Thankfully, one of the doors was welcoming to be part of a wonderful experience. Trinity was that door, place and family that gave me the opportunity to succeed and made my dreams true.

Since I’m an immigrant I didn’t have enough help financially to attend college. I couldn’t apply for a lot of scholarships and grants. The scholarships for undocumented students are so limited. Since colleges are so expensive, students like me and others cannot afford this education. I applied to a lot of different colleges and some of them I was accepted but I didn’t have the money to pay the tuition fee.  I was upset about it and had to accept not attending college. One day someone called me from Trinity Washington University and told me that I was accepted at Trinity and I received a scholarship at Trinity.

I started my journey at Trinity with ups and downs because I was struggling with my English but with the help of the team that make this a good experience by supporting students at Trinity, I made it. With the help of my classmates I made it. In 2020 we all had a hard time because of COVID. We went to spring break and never came back. We all had to stay home and do everything online. We all had to adapt to this situation. In 2020 I also got pregnant and had my baby in 2021. It was hard for me because my baby takes a lot of my time and I had to make time for school, work and internships as well. Thankfully, my teachers and classmates understood me and helped me a lot. I’m so glad I became part of this big family who are there to support each other.

Thank you so much Trinity Washington University! Thank you so much for my parents, family and all the people who supported me all these years.

If you have a dream work hard for it. Even if looks like it is impossible, there will be always a door of opportunity for you. Look for that door and take advantage of all the opportunity that comes with. Never give up and push yourself up for a better future.

 

Lawren McCoy, SPS, Associate of Arts in Early Childhood Education

Back in 2008, I graduated from high school but just like many of us, I did not take advantage of the amazing opportunity of a FREE college education. Life got real, I start a family and made money so going back was put on hold. Yet, God had a different plan for my life and gave me a second chance to redeem myself for the choices I made when I was a teen. Silly choices that would have had taken me down a path of uncertainty…BUT GOD. In January 2020, I was accepted into Trinity Washington University and that was the BEST decision I’ve ever made. Through a pandemic, deaths, and other life obstacles, I have been able to maintain a high-grade point average and balance work/family. I am the Jr. Rep of the BSA, I am a Graduate of the 2021 Center of Strategic and International Studies Fellowship, and a new 2022 collegiate initiate of the Iota Iota Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated.  On May 19th, 2022 I will be graduating with my associates degree in Early Childhood Education and will be starting my Bachelors journey this coming summer. I want to thank God for giving me grace, my parents for providing guidance and my family and friends for the love and support through this journey.

Chantese Jones, SPS, Associate of Arts in Early Childhood Education

My name is Chantese Jones. I was born and raised and still live in Washington D.C. which makes me a true Washingtonian. Growing up in an urban community I have experienced the advantages and disadvantages of the education system. That is why I strive to be the best educator I can be. I love being that positive role model that our youth can depend on.

My goal as an educator is to try to reach every child I encounter by learning about them all individually and as they are. I have several certifications that qualify me to teach such as child development associate (CDA), First aid & CPR, Food Handler, Mandated  Reporter, Medical Administration, 9 years of experience and I am currently earning an Early Childhood Education Associate’s degree at Trinity Washington University. I look forward to continuing my education.

I am the oldest girl out of four children. Growing up in a single-parent home taught me responsibility and independence. It gave me the strength and courage that I need to be successful and I owe it all to my mother. She is my biggest inspiration because mothers are your first teacher. She taught my three siblings and me to love with no measures,  to stick together no matter what happens, to take accountability for our actions, to be the change we want to see, and that failure is not an option. Through rough times I felt safe, she was our biggest fan, and still to this day she strives for excellence. She is currently enrolled at Strayer University where she remains on the dean’s list. You know the old saying, lead by example and practice what you preach, she is the definition of them both — and if she has not stopped why would I?

I believe all children can learn. It just takes patience, love, and consistency. The right procedures and routines can lead to success in and out of the classroom. My short-term goal is to get my B.A. in Early Childhood Education and to find a school or center that feels like home and where I can progress. My long-term goal is to have a childcare center where I can instill everything I have learned, love and honor.

Marlo Blue, SPS, Associate of Arts in General Studies

My college journey began a long time ago. I started as a full-time student right after high school but had to drop out of college due to my lack of finances. I realized I had to quit school and thrust myself into the full-time workforce to survive.

I never gave up. I took a class here and a class there from the University of the District of Columbia, Strayer University, Southern New Hampshire University, and Trinity Washington University. You could say I have been a college student for life.

When my daughter began her first year in high school in 2018, I set a goal and challenged myself to return to Trinity to complete my bachelor’s degree before she graduated.

My goal was to make her a 2nd generation college graduate and be a role model to her. A few years later, that goal has finally become my reality. Trinity has taught me to press on and never give up. I have learned so much about society, politics, and work, from homelessness in America to environmental injustices, etc.

I owe huge thanks to God, my Savior, family (Laurence & Sky), advisor Christina Lynch, Professor Sophia Young, my managers at work (Tony & Derika), and many others for the support and motivation to finish this journey. I am proud to say that I am finally graduating class of 2022.  I still can’t believe it.

Thank you, Trinity, for a fantastic journey.

 

Ronneshia Briscoe, CAS, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

“ You are not a product of your environment, you are a product of your choices.”

I was born and raised in Southeast (the “bad” part) , District of Columbia. A place that is known for its bad reputation, I knew right off the bat that I had to prove that I was not going to be another statistic.

My school journey have been amazing but there were a few bumps in the road. In elementary school, I was a star student and it made me realize that school is for me. I love to read and see my classmates.

Middle school was the start of my bullying. People made fun of me based on my appearance and rumors. I was crying daily and wanted to give up. However, I was able to gather the strength to keep fighting. I didn’t want to give them the satisfaction by reacting. At promotion, I received the only Principal’s Legacy Award.

I was also bullied in high school and was in the counselor’s office a lot. I didn’t get how I was so unliked or why my appearance bothered so many people. It took for my junior of high school to realize that I am unique and being normal is boring. I was a part of the International Baccalaureate Program which is so hard to accomplish but I did it. I graduated in the top 10.

Now, I am graduating college with a Degree in Psychology. Also, I’m a trainee in the federal government. I got inducted into Psi Chi in 2020. I also made dean’s list 3 times.

I say all this to say: “Love yourself and never give up.” Don’t let permanent obstacles get in the way of your future success.

 

Lucky Ufondu, NHP, Master of Public Health

I must say Trinity has the best professors in MPH . Getting a first degree in Nigeria and joining the MPH class was awesome. The professors will use all examples and illustrations to make you understand and enjoy the class.

I am originally from Anambra state in Nigeria.  I work at Johns Hopkins with the anesthesia team.

I choose Trinity because Originally the MPH was supposed to be in person which was my favorite….Most schools offer it online and due to my old school academic orientation I prefer in-person; but Covid-19 was a game changer.  I did the online with Trinity and it was so nice and encouraging.  The professors are so nice. Professor Betschman was my super hero. She is always ready to listen and offer advice on next steps. Even in the days of academic challenges she will try to make you wake up and put in your best.

 

 

 

 

 

Kathi McMillan, SPS, Community Health Worker Certificate

What I want the incoming students, graduating students, and Faculty and Staff to know about me is that when I set a goal I do everything in my power and God’s power to get it done!!! I would like to leave you with this ” If you shoot for the moon and even if you miss you would be among the stars” I am so proud of all of us, we persevered!!