Banner with Murchison Tower in the Background, reading "2020 Distinguished Faculty Awards"
Trinity Faculty and Staff Honored for Distinguished Achievement
A total of 26 employees receive recognition

On May 5, 2020, Trinity University recognized a total of 26 members of its faculty and staff for their contributions to the University in areas all across the campus.

The University presented five faculty and staff Distinguished Achievement Awards in recognition of their dedication and accomplishments at the University. Both Sarah Beth Kaufman, an assistant professor of sociology and anthropology, and Andrew Kraebel, an assistant professor of English, were honored for their teaching and research as early-career faculty, and Tim O'Sullivan, professor and chair of the Department of Classical Studies, was recognized for distinguishment in advising. Peter O’Brien, a professor of political science, received an award for his distinguished research, scholarship, or creative work or activity, and Rubén Depertuis, chair and associate professor in the religion department, was awarded for distinguished service both in the community and at the University.

For the first time ever, Trinity presented the Trinity Tomorrow award to five faculty members: Dania Abreu-Torres, James Ivy, Luis Martinez, Lauren Turek, and Wilson Terrell Jr. The Trinity Tomorrow Award, named after the University’s 10-year strategic plan, is a brand new award meant to recognize faculty members who have made significant contributions to the educational mission of Trinity. The faculty are selected annually based on the recipient’s contributions in either international education, experiential learning, career planning and preparation, inclusive pedagogy, the First-Year Experience program, recruitment of prospective students, or alumni outreach. 

Now in its third year, the President’s Award for Excellence in Student Advocacy was presented to Christina Pikla ’04, the director for Financial Aid, and Jacob Tingle ’95, the director for Experiential Learning. The award recognizes Trinity employees who have been significant partners in supporting student success, both inside and outside of the classroom.

Distinguished Achievement Awards

Sarah Beth KaufmanDistinguished Teaching and Research by an Early Career Faculty Member

Sarah Beth Kaufman

Sarah Beth Kaufman is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. This year, she was one of Trinity’s inaugural Public Humanities Faculty Fellows for her work on To Be Honest, a documentary theatre project about political discourse surrounding Islam. A critical criminologist, ethnographer, and death penalty expert, her first book, American Roulette: The Social Logic of Death Penalty Sentencing Trials, was published in May 2020 with the University of California Press. She is one of a group of faculty who originated, organized, and regularly teaches the Social Justice First-Year Experience. 


Andrew KraebelDistinguished Teaching and Research by an Early Career Faculty Member

Andrew Kraebel

Andrew Kraebel is Associate Professor in the Department of English, while also teaching courses in the Interdisciplinary Program in Medieval and Renaissance Studies as well as in the HUMA program. His study of the earliest English translations of the Bible, Biblical Commentary and Translation in Later Medieval England: Experiments in Interpretation, was recently published by Cambridge University Press, and he is nearing completion of another book, a critical edition and translation of a Latin work by the medieval English mystic Richard Rolle, who has been the subject of several of his articles, and whose writings frequently appear on his syllabi. 


Tim O'SullivanDistinguished Advising

Tim O'Sullivan, professor and chair of the Department of Classical Studies, has worked at Trinity for 17 years. He is the faculty mentor for Eta Sigma Phi, the classics honor society, and the departmental representative for the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome. O'Sullivan has served on the Faculty Senate, the Faculty Development Committee, and the Academic Standing Committee. He is also a very accomplished adviser.


Rubén DupertuisDistinguished University, Community, and Professional Service

Ruben Dupertuis

Rubén R. Dupertuis joined the Department of Religion in 2006 as an assistant professor and currently serves as co-director of Trinity's Humanities Collective and as a Humanities Division Councilor for the Council on Undergraduate Research. In his time at Trinity, he has worked tirelessly to make sure that his students have a learning environment where everyone is contributing to the learning experience. Dupertuis has also worked hard to transform the University’s undergraduate research programs and has helped Trinity receive multiple grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Dupertuis also created a foundation for humanities labs at the university with the successful implementation of his Roman World Lab in the summer of 2017.


Peter O'Brien Distinguished Research, Scholarship, or Creative Work or Activity

Faculty headshot: Peter O'Brien

As a professor of political science, Peter O’Brien is well-liked by students, and as a member of the community, he is very involved. He is a member of the San Antonio Symphony Chorus,an avid fan of Trinity’s resident SOLI Chamber Ensemble, and a regular volunteer at the Center for Refugee Services. O’Brien is likewise dedicated to his research, working to investigate the way in which Europeans view and interact with those perceived to be non-Europeans both in the past and in the present. He has more than twenty publications on the subject, including three books. 

Trinity Tomorrow Award

Dania Abreu-Torres

Dania Abreu-Torres

Dania Abreu-Torres is an Associate professor of Modern Languages and Literatures who co-created the Inventing Mexico First-Year Experience and serves as the group’s coordinator. She helped develop the itinerary for Inventing Mexico’s fall trip to Mexico City, the first study-abroad component in any FYE. An advocate of open educational resources, she redesigned her Spanish composition and conversation class using OER materials, saving her students the cost of textbooks used by the department. Abreu-Torres was integral in developing the new International  Studies major and the Global  Latinx Studies major, and she is now the director of Trinity’s Mexico, the Americas, and Spain (MAS) program.


James Ivy, ‘78, MA ‘82

James Ivy

James Ivy is a veteran Trinity instructor who has held appointments in the English and History Departments and now teaches multiple First-Year Experience courses, including the makeup  FYE course, Ideas that Still Matter, each spring. Ivy is thoroughly committed to the success of the FYE program, as demonstrated by his regular teaching in HUMA and Arts and Ideas as well as his eagerness to take on new responsibilities. In the Fall 2020 semester, he will coordinate the Arts and Ideas group while adding a fourth FYE topic, Science Fiction, to his schedule. Ivy has actively advocated for greater representation and compensation for Trinity’s contingent faculty.


Luis Martinez '91

Luis Martinez

Luis Martinez is a constant advocate for Trinity and for strengthening relationships between the University and the tech and entrepreneurship communities in San Antonio. As Director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, he has facilitated the launch of more than 40 Trinity student ventures, and he led a recent salon dinner, organized by Alumni Relations, where he engaged civic leaders in a discussion on the University’s role in San Antonio. Martinez pushes his students to see a world without borders: he supports students on programs to Mexico, China, and Spain and is constantly thinking of ways to connect Trinity with schools and centers around the world. 


Lauren Turek

Headshot of faculty member Lauren Turek

Lauren Turek, an assistant professor of history, embraces innovative pedagogies through her course Public History, Memory, and Interpretation, which maximizes the potential of the software program Omeka to allow students to create innovative digital exhibits. She has been generous in sharing her expertise on digital literacy with her colleagues in New Faculty Orientation and the recent Faculty Learning Community, sponsored by the Collaborative for Learning and Teaching. Turek was the primary architect of the interdisciplinary minor in museum studies, which was recently approved by the academic faculty. She connects students to internship opportunities within the history and museum studies fields. She is also a frequent contributor to Admissions events and regularly volunteers to teach sample First-Year Experience courses.


Wilson Terrell Jr.

Headshot of faculty member Wilson Terrell Jr.

Wilson Terrell Jr., an associate professor of engineering science, has worked to incorporate active learning strategies into lecture-based courses. He recently redesigned the introductory course in engineering science, infusing principles of the University’s Quality Enhancement Plan, “Starting Strong.” In recent years, Terrell has become a tireless champion for the CSI Makerspace, where students can create with tools such as 3D printers,  laser cutters, and computer numeric control (CNC) machines. He has connected with students and faculty members from multiple disciplines in an effort to make the benefits of the Makerspace available to everyone, and he stands out among the faculty for his support of Student Accessibility Services and the Accommodated Testing Center. 

President’s Award for Excellence in Student Advocacy

Christina Pikla ’04

Staff Headshot: Christina Pikla

Christina Pikla joined Trinity’s financial aid staff in 2006 as a financial aid counselor. She was promoted to assistant director in 2008, associate director in 2013, and then to her current role, Trinity’s Financial Aid Director, in 2018. Christina appreciates the balance of art and science required to be a student-centric financial aid professional. Christina’s strengths lie in the ability to work with each student as an individual while simultaneously working within the bounds of regulatory compliance. “I see the promise in each student that comes into my office. It is my job to bridge the gap between what is possible from a regulatory standpoint and the unique needs of the student.” For her, the ultimate goal is for Trinity’s students to obtain their degree so they can go out into the world and leave their unique mark on it. “I feel so privileged to have the opportunity to play a part in the journey of a student’s becoming.”


Jacob K. Tingle ’95

headshot of Jacob Tingle

Jacob Tingle is a prominent figure on Trinity’s campus. In addition to chairing the sport management minor, he is the director of Experiential Learning in the Center for Experiential Learning and Career Success and teaches courses in the First-Year Experience, sport management, business administration, and Arts, Letters, and Enterprise. He is a constant voice for his students. One thing that makes Tingle such a strong student advocate is his teaching philosophy: the idea that the best learning takes place through "doing and reflecting" and by using constructivist teaching and learning methods.

Sydney Rhodes '23 helped tell Trinity's story as a writing intern for Strategic Communications and Marketing.

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