A collage of Trinity faculty, staff, students, and alumni either in action shots or in portraits
Humans of Trinity: 2022
Check out what these 11 Tigers have been up to this year
Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Every year, Trinity University’s students, alumni, faculty, and staff show us what it means to be a Tiger. From leading the University to leading trips to the White House, from conducting research on Alzheimer’s disease to evaluating fragrances at a French perfumery company, our Tigers have spent 2022 doing almost everything you could imagine. Here’s what 11 of them have been up to.

A portrait of President Beasley smiling by the Magic Stones

Vanessa Beasley was named Trinity’s 20th president in the summer of 2022. In her first term this fall, Beasley enthusiastically met faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community leaders at various events, embracing Trinity traditions and making her mark on the local and campus community.

Beasley comes to Trinity from Vanderbilt University, where she served as vice provost for academic affairs, dean of residential faculty, and associate professor of communication studies. She graduated from Vanderbilt with a bachelor’s degree in speech communication and theatre arts and received her doctorate in speech communication from the University of Texas at Austin.

This fall, Beasley has prioritized ensuring that Trinity is recognized nationally as a leader in the 21st-century liberal arts. That includes emphasizing the University’s unwavering commitment to the student experience through interdisciplinary experiential learning and undergraduate research in one of the nation’s most vibrant urban areas. 

“Trinity is one of the few spaces where ideas can circulate, experiments can happen, and where we can experiment with failure and learn from that, too,” Beasley says. “As a leader, it's my job to make those opportunities available to as many people as possible.”

Jacob Galan '22 kicks a soccer ball at a game

This year, Jacob Galan ’22, captain of the men’s soccer team during his time at Trinity, won a prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship only awarded to 126 student-athletes nationwide. The $10,000 prize is given to those who excel athletically and academically while also exhibiting specific skills in leadership and service.

 Galan graduated from Trinity in May 2022 with a degree in cellular and molecular biology. He plans to attend the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston McGovern Medical School.

 “To be recognized for something like this is an amazing thing,” Galan says. “I honestly felt more honored than anything to be able to receive this honor while representing Trinity and Trinity soccer.”

 On the pitch, Galan was an All-American in 2021 as well as the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year. In the classroom, he served as a teaching assistant for chemistry professor Kristina Trevino, Ph.D., and has participated in summer research focused on finding a cure for AIDS.

“To see Jacob succeed, and not only make it but kill it, says so much about him and us as a University that we’re pulling in these fabulous kids that can excel with various passions,” Trevino says.

A portrait of Kathryn Santos smiling

This year, English professor Kathryn Vomero Santos was awarded a Paul Oskar Kristeller Fellowship from the Renaissance Society of America to support archival research for an anthology of Borderlands Shakespeare plays, The Bard in the Borderlands: An Anthology of Shakespeare Appropriations en La Frontera. Volume 1 of The Bard in the Borderlands will be published as an open-access book by ACMRS Press in early 2023, and Volume 2 will be published in early 2024. 

For Santos, finding a way to bring more attention to these Shakespeare play adaptations, many of which are being told by marginalized artists, musicians, and creative minds, is of the utmost importance. She eventually wants to see these plays taught in border-region classrooms the same way as traditional Shakespeare plays. “We're hoping that this anthology not only transforms Shakespeare research, but especially impacts teaching,” she says.

Santos and her collaborators will be running two workshops based on the anthology: one at Arizona State University as part of their Mellon-funded "Crossing Latinidades" Humanities Research Initiative, and the other at the annual meeting of the Shakespeare Association of America in Minneapolis. They will also present their work on Borderlands Shakespeare at the 2023 meeting of the Renaissance Society of America in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

A portrait of Robert Santos '76

Robert Santos ’76, a product of San Antonio’s Holy Cross High School who graduated from Trinity with a degree in mathematics, spent his year leading the United States Census Bureau as its first Latino director

Despite early difficulties, Santos notes that his professors’ investment in him and his education at Trinity made all the difference in encouraging him to attend graduate school and eventually jumpstart his career as a statistician. 

After working in a variety of high-level positions around the country, Santos most recently served as the president of the American Statistical Association. His term came to an end when the United States Senate confirmed him to become the 26th director of the U.S. Census Bureau in November 2021. His appointment by President Joe Biden, J.D., and eventual confirmation made Santos not only the first Latino to lead the agency but also the first person of color to hold the position permanently.

In the office and beyond, Santos continues to help those around him value their heritage, saying that “the traditions, the culture, the music, everything—it's part of me, and it allows me to be better at whatever I do,” and encourages others to embrace what makes them unique.

A portrait of Thao Dinh in the snow

Thảo Đinh ’23, an international studies major with a concentration in international development and a creative writing minor from Hà Nội, Việt Nam, spent her summer working in downtown San Antonio as a full-time marketing intern for the writing arts center Gemini Ink. Through her internship, she participated in the Sterling Houston Festival, a month-long series of citywide events honoring the late African-American writer and San Antonio native, Sterling Houston.

At Trinity, Đinh is the president of the Bullet Journal Club, which she started on campus in 2019. She has also been a member of the Michael Neidorff School of Business Dean’s Student Advisory Council, the president of the International Club, a writer for the Trinity Review, a HOPE Hall leader, a Vietnamese Student Association officer, an O-Team member, an First-Year Experience Creative Genius peer tutor, an Admissions intern, and a member of Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership National Honor Society.

Outside the classroom, Đinh enjoys creating art. She recently had her short stories, photography, and artworks published, had her short film screened at a film festival, and played the lead role in the theater production “Waiting for Godot.” This fall, Đinh studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark.

A portrait of Terrell Wilson

In May 2022, associate professor of engineering science Wilson Terrell Jr. stepped into the University’s first-ever associate vice president for Academic Affairs – Inclusive Excellence position. Over the next five years, Terrell will be charged with helping Trinity foster an environment where people can connect across differences, act with radical empathy, and nurture enduring relationships.

Terrell’s 19 years with Trinity have been rich with collaborative efforts. This spring, Terrell helped lead an interdisciplinary class called “Academic Making for the Built Environment,” which brought together Trinity students to create a colorful, dynamic “Discovery Cube” for The DoSeum children’s museum. The project, a modular series of machine-crafted, interlocking boxes, was meant to inspire children to think creatively about the concept of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math).

Throughout the year, Terrell and the rest of the Division of Academic Affairs focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practices within the hiring of tenure track positions to ensure a talented, diverse pool of candidates. They also began to open discussions with the faculty senate, who has placed DEI issues as a top priority for the senate’s agenda for 2023. 

“If we want Trinity to keep growing and rising in the national rankings, we can’t be missing out on talented individuals,” Terrell says.

A portrait of Erin McCormick '07

Erin (O’Donnell) McCormick ’07 spent her 2022 as the first female general manager of the Atlanta Braves’ Triple-A minor league affiliate, the Gwinnett Stripers.

McCormick graduated from Trinity with degrees in business administration (marketing) and communication along with double minors in communication management and history. After interning with her hometown Corpus Christi Hooks while at Trinity, she went on to work with four other Minor League Baseball franchises before landing in Gwinnett. Over her past three years with Gwinnett, McCormick has overseen advertising, sponsorship implementation, ballpark entertainment, digital and social media, media relations, community relations, and merchandise. 

As a member of the Braves organization, McCormick received a World Series ring after Atlanta won the championship last season. With the Stripers’ season beginning this past April, she served her first season as general manager this year. 

“Coming up in the industry, I really didn't have anyone to look up to in that role, so I’m very honored and humbled to be one of the people that hopefully generations can look up to,” McCormick says. “At the end of the day, I don't just want to be a female leader, I want to be a successful leader as well."

a portrait of Juan Sepulveda smiling

Trinity’s Juan Sepúlveda has worked for two presidents in 2022: University president Vanessa Beasley, Ph.D., and United States president Joe Biden, J.D. At Trinity, Sepúlveda is the President’s Special Advisor for Inclusive Excellence and the Ron Calgaard Distinguished Professor of Practice in the Department of Political Science. For the White House, Sepúlveda serves on the Commission on Presidential Scholars, which recognizes the nation’s most distinguished graduating seniors.

"I am humbled and honored to have been appointed to the Commission on Presidential Scholars by President Biden and look forward to selecting the next cohort of U.S. Presidential Scholars,” Sepúlveda says. 

This is not Sepúlveda's first time working at the White House. He served on the Biden-Harris Transition Team as part of the Arts and Humanities Agency Review Team and was the executive director of the White House Initiative on Education Excellence for Hispanics during the Obama-Biden Administration. 

Sepúlveda most recently applied his national connections to support Latinx college students from Trinity and across the country. In collaboration with the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, Sepúlveda created a two-day event this past September in Washington, D.C., that focused on leadership development, community building, and professional networking. 

A portrait of Emma Treadway '11

This year, engineering science professor Emma Treadway ’11 secured a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant of $178,171 to delve deeper into what makes an engineer an engineer. Her project, in partnership with another collaborator, plans to focus on the interactions between affect and identity in first- and second-year engineering students, with a lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion in mind. 

Treadway hopes her project—a two-year effort that will follow two groups of about 16 students to and (partially) through the engineering science major at Trinity—will shine a light on something not often talked about in a world of chemical processes, mechanical gears, and electrical circuits: the inner workings of students themselves.

As a graduate of Trinity’s engineering science program, Treadway is excited to study something she lived firsthand: being a young engineering student during the years when you make decisions about your own path.

“Both [my research partner] and I have these experiences of being women in a largely masculine engineering space,” she says. “I imagine that we're going to find additional things with students who have intersecting identities or other identities than being women in engineering."

a portrait of Mengyu Liu '19 in his lab coat smiling

Mengyu Liu ’19, a Trinity alum dedicated to producing art that appeals to the nose, spent his 2022 working for a global fragrance company in Paris specializing in consumer insights, marketing, and fragrance evaluation. 

Liu discovered an interest in the fragrance world while pursuing a biochemistry and molecular biology major at Trinity. 

“From the beginning, I really liked chemistry,” he says. “During my second year, I was fascinated by the olfactive (fragrance) world, so I thought, ‘Maybe I can combine those two.’” Liu spent long hours working with chemistry professor Corina Maeder ’99, Ph.D., studying how different constituents of a molecule affect its olfactive content. His undergraduate research further cemented his future goals in perfumery. 

After graduating from Trinity in 2019, Liu moved to France to pursue his dream of working in the fragrance industry. He received his master’s degree from ISIPCA, a prestigious perfumery school. 

Although his current job may sound more artistic than scientific, chemistry still plays a major role in fragrance evaluation. “There are a lot of sides to perfumery,” he says. Liu has even grander plans for his future. He hopes to eventually open a fragrance school in his hometown of Chengdu, China.

A portrait of Meagan McKee '24 examining a test tube

Meagan McKee ’24 has spent 2022 continuing the research she began in her first year on campus in the lab of engineering science professor Dany Munoz-Pinto, Ph.D.

McKee has been fascinated by engineering since she was a child. Her curiosity and passion led her to receive the Semmes Distinguished Scholars in Science Scholarship, which covers her tuition as she pursues a STEM-related major at Trinity. Winning this scholarship plugged her into the Trinity community and connected her to the research faculty. 

In the Munoz-Pinto lab, McKee is helping develop hydrogels that simulate the nervous tissue of a diseased brain to aid with the study of Alzheimer’s disease. 

“We put cells into these gels that have similar mechanical properties, or similar composition, to brain tissue. It’s a more natural environment for the cells,” McKee says. “We are working on fine-tuning the mechanical properties of the gels so that other researchers can use these instead of plastic plates for future studies.” 

On campus, McKee also works as a peer tutor in the Quantitative Reasoning and Skills Center and the Writing Center and plays cello in the Trinity Symphony Orchestra. She plans to pursue a doctorate in biomedical engineering after graduation.

 

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