A collage of portraits of various students from the Class of 2027
Trinity Welcomes the Class of 2027
Even before arriving on campus, the incoming first-years are standing out

From playing in the World Cup to writing a book, the members of this year’s incoming class are already impressing us. Meet nine members of the Class of 2027 who are ready to make their mark on Trinity’s campus.

a portrait of Malea Cesar in her soccer uniform

Interested in watching Malea Cesar play soccer? Just turn on the TV! This incoming first-year is playing in the Women’s World Cup on the Philippines Team, where she has already scored her first international goal. She earned herself a spot on the Philippines national team after two weeks of tryouts in Southern California in August 2021. While Cesar was training with the Philippines team for a year and a half, she played for Blacktown FC, a semi-professional team located outside Sydney, Australia. 

A top soccer recruit for Trinity, Cesar was team captain of her high school team her senior year and was awarded 1st Team Metro League and 2nd Team All-State honors.

Cesar intends to major in mathematics with a minor in Spanish. “I'm really excited about the challenging academics and academic curriculum available at Trinity,” she says. “I am also excited at the opportunity to be in a competitive atmosphere and develop as a soccer player at Trinity. I'm also a huge fan of the warm weather!" When she’s not playing soccer, Cesar likes to hike, read, and learn how to play the ukulele. 

a portrait of Tudor Constantinescu

Tudor Constantinescu used to believe that engineering and entrepreneurship were two completely different topics. However, after getting involved in a group called Creative Motion, he realized that the two were actually quite similar.

Constantinescu has been involved in robotics since an early age. He quickly developed a passion for solving and creating but had never thought to apply this to entrepreneurship. After his friend convinced him to join Creative Motion as a product design engineer, Constantinescu dedicated his time to all of their projects. 

“At some point, I caught up and realized I had solutions to problems they couldn’t figure out … slowly the passion grew more and more, and now I’ve found a way to translate what I do best, robots, into a way to better people’s lives,” he says.

With two potential projects, Constantinescu’s team enrolled them both in Romanian Shark Tank. Both projects were offered deals, and Creative Motion as a company was offered a deal worth $1 million. 

Constantinescu looks forward to continuing his passions at Trinity with an intended major in engineering science and a minor in philosophy. He is eager to join extracurriculars that are nature-focused and be immersed in American culture after growing up in Romania.

a portrait of Steele Herndon in his football jersey

As a young author and philanthropist, Steele Herndon comes to campus as a top football recruit. 

When Herndon's younger brother was diagnosed with juvenile Batten disease, he decided to found a nonprofit called the HOPE Youth Group, a part of the Will Herndon Research Fund. With this, Herndon hopes to spread awareness and raise money in the fight against juvenile Batten disease.

On top of raising awareness, Herndon has just completed his first novel, The Final Plague, and is in the editing process right now. His book is a post-apocalyptic dystopian novel that follows three teens through their chaotic journey to find a new home. Herndon started this novel when he was 13 years old and hopes to have it published within the coming year.

Herndon intends to major in psychology and minor in creative writing. “I chose Trinity because of its phenomenal academics paired with a nationally ranked football program, so I knew I was competing with the best both on and off the field,” he says. “I’m looking forward to bringing Trinity University to a national championship and making lifelong friends with both my teammates and classmates. Can’t wait to get to work!”

A portrait of Colin Johnson standing by a river

Colin Johnson took local broadcasting to new heights after having his video broadcasted on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) YouTube Chanel. 
“I’m very proud of my video going on the PBS YouTube channel. My partner and I worked hard for months, using every second of our time to create something we felt was professional quality,” he says. 

Johnson loved the opportunity to get to work with PBS and felt nostalgic for his video since it was about his elementary school.

Johnson’s work didn’t stop there. In March 2023, he filmed an interview with former U.S. Olympic figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi and assisted another school with filming its On The Minds podcast. He also continued his film work within his local community.

Johnson is looking forward to joining Trinity’s tight-knit, personable community and feels that Trinity’s environment will help him learn how to grow. He intends to major in computer science with a minor in new media. Johnson is excited to continue his passion for film and media as he plans to join the TigerTV program and various extracurriculars on campus. 

A portrait of Minkyu Lee

Born in South Korea and raised in Guatemala, Minkyu Lee learned to adjust to a different set of cultural customs. 

“At first, it was a little challenging adapting to their culture and language, but in the end, it was worth it and unique. Overall, it was fun and exciting building friendships with many different people,” he says. By listening to reggaeton, interacting with the country's social life, and participating in his studies, Lee widened his lifestyle to encompass both his culture and Guatemalan culture.  

Having applied Early Decision, Lee knew he wanted to attend Trinity because of his older brother, Sun Lee ’24. “I liked the way Trinity is small, but at the same time, it’s like we’re all united and together,” he says. 

During his time at Trinity, Lee looks forward to continuing to play volleyball and basketball through club sports. He's also excited to build connections with friends, professors, and faculty members. Lee intends to major in accounting and finance.

A portrait of Tias McClarty in a Trinity t-shirt

Tias McClarty has found his home and family at Trinity University. As a top football recruit, McClarty notes that as he grew older, a Division I school for football was no longer his top priority.  

“I just wanted to play football, and I found Trinity. All it took was one official visit, and I cried on the way home. I cried because of the relief of having a new home for the next four years,” he says. However, it wasn’t just football that made McClarty choose Trinity.

McClarty chose Trinity because of the opportunities it presented both athletically and academically. He looks forward to learning to develop the right skills to thrive independently. “Being out of state doesn’t mean I am alone,” McClarty says. “I like the thought of being able to do even more things as an adult and taking on more responsibilities.” He intends to major in business management and minor in entrepreneurship. 

a portrait of Jose Mora in his high school graduation cap and gown

Jose Mora became valedictorian not by succeeding all the time but rather by learning how to embrace failure. 

Born in Madrid, Spain, and raised in Quito, Ecuador, Mora attended the American School of Quito, where he learned that his time in high school was not just about academics but also life lessons and getting involved in clubs such as Operation Smile, the school newspaper, and the National Honor Society.

“I have learned to embrace failure and recognize opportunities at school as new chapters in my story that life has bestowed upon me,” Mora says.

At Trinity, Mora intends to major in business marketing and minor in entrepreneurship. Mora values Trinity because he sees it as a small private liberal arts institution that not only sees students as learners but as genuine change-makers.

 “Trinity University didn’t only stand out for me for its excellent academics, but for its sense of welcomeness and its warm community,” Mora says. He plans to found a chapter of Operation Smile here on Trinity’s campus to help fundraise and raise awareness for children with cleft lip conditions.

a portrait of Kristen Padilla

Recently, Kristen Padilla had the opportunity to attend the National LOFT (Latinos on Fast Track) Leadership Institute Summit, a leadership workshop launched by the Hispanic Heritage Foundation and Trinity University, which was hosted on Trinity’s campus in July 2023. At the summit, Padilla was able to connect with Trinity staff, upperclassmen, and fellow incoming first-year students. 

“There was something moving about knowing that there were people my age just as passionate about changing the world as I was,” she says. Padilla reflects that the summit held open discussions where they opened up about their struggles with their cultural identity, changing the concept of the American dream, and other current issues. 

Since she was in elementary school, it has been Padilla’s dream to attend Trinity University. This San Antonio native is now fulfilling her dream and knows that a small liberal arts education is the best for her. Padilla intends to major in psychology with a minor in Spanish. She also looks forward to getting involved with the Inclusive Excellence Advisory Council, the Trinity University Latino Association, and the Mexico, the Americas, and Spain Program.

a portrait of Eva Tatum

Eva Tatum has always loved music, but her passion for it continues to grow as she watches the lasting effect music can have on people. Since she was young, Tatum has been involved in choirs, bands, and musical theatre. When she hit high school, her passion for musicals began to take off. 

Not only did she love performing, but she loved the way she felt after performing for an audience. “Hearing the way the music touched each person and their favorite parts of a show is what makes everything worth it for me,” she says.

Tatum looks forward to coming to Trinity even though it means leaving her home state of Tennessee. However, Tatum recognized that Trinity was going to give her opportunities she couldn’t find elsewhere. She felt a pull from Trinity’s music department, specifically associate professor James Worman, and wants to continue her musical passions at Trinity. Tatum intends to double major in marketing and music and is interested in joining Greek Life and Outdoor Recreation (O-Rec). 



Ella Charbonnet '25 helps tell Trinity's story as a writing intern for Trinity University Strategic Communications and Marketing.

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