Morgan Carrillo ‘13
Morgan Carrillo ’13 came to Trinity knowing she had found the perfect setting: “Where better to study international affairs and women’s studies but at a women’s college in Washington, DC?” she says. Morgan, who travelled from Jupiter, Florida, to attend Trinity, says she was also drawn by Trinity’s Catholic identity and its mission of social justice.
As a young girl she was fascinated by learning about different countries and cultures and she discovered women’s oppression plays a big role in many of the conflicts and weapons of war. “I recognized that many conflicts in the world seemed to coincide with the oppression, abuse or exploitation of women and girls and that was something I wanted to study more.”
When she arrived at Trinity, she hit the ground running, getting involved in many activities on campus including a leadership position in residence life. Her passion for women’s issues motivated her to join the Women’s Student Action Coalition (WSAC), which tries to give focus to issues that affect women worldwide. As a senior she is the president of the club and coordinated screenings of “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.” After the screenings Trinity faculty and students engaged in a roundtable discussion of women’s issues. Morgan and her friend Taylor Smith brought the screenings to campus because they want to inspire all Trinity students to explore and become informed about women’s issues.
The Women’s Student Action Coalition also hosts the Clothesline Project, a national art project to raise awareness about violence against women. This spring the WSAC is coordinating the Clothesline Project in conjunction with Take Back the Night—an international march and rally to protest sexual violence against women. The Violence Prevention Week is sponsored by the Trinity women’s studies department.
The unique academic environment at Trinity provided the opportunity for Morgan to study her passions. She is an international affairs major with a minor in women’s studies. Her senior thesis paper is about the use of rape as a weapon in war and conflict. “The small university and small classes are great and my professors have inspired me to create my own course of study here.”
“I came to Trinity because of its location in Washington, DC, and the small classes. Here I am not just a number and I have grown as a student and person. At Trinity leadership is fostered. The faculty and the entire Trinity community want you to become involved and are interested in what you have to say.”
Morgan says one aspect of Trinity that convinced her that Trinity was the place for her was the university’s mission of social justice based on the charism of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. “The best part of Trinity is the mission of social justice, which has inspired me.” Morgan is active in her faith community in Florida, is a cantor at her church, and is attending confirmation classes with the Director of Campus Ministry Sr. Mary Ellen Dow, SND, with four other students. She will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation in April. She says she loves the chance to interact with the sisters and the Women’s Student Action Coalition works with the Campus Ministry office on events and activities.
As a sophomore she interned on Capitol Hill for Congressman Ronald Klein of Florida and later worked on the campaign for Congresswoman Lois Frankel of Florida. She enjoyed those experiences, noting both gave her the chance to understand the inner workings of politics and deal with conflict—she answered the phone and listened to constituent’s concerns. While she sees politics as an avenue to effect change, she doesn’t want to start her career in politics. Next year she hopes to stay in Washington, DC, working for a human rights organization. She is also applying to graduate schools and for fellowships. Morgan is interested in focusing her studies on the Middle East, because that region is so engulfed in conflict, and hopes to study Arabic.
Find Your Place
Taking the bold move from a relatively small town in Florida to the big city of Washington, DC, wasn’t easy but at Trinity she says she immediately found her place—the small size, the all-women’s environment, and a school that nurtured and encouraged her to find her voice. She experienced her first snowfall with “Snowmageddon” in the winter of 2010 and she has found life-long friends who share her interest in social justice and women’s issues.
A scholar, Morgan graduated from high school at age 15. She is a member of the International Studies Honor Society and on the dean’s list. She received scholarships to attend Trinity, which made her Trinity education a reality, and hopes to one day give back to Trinity by establishing an international affairs scholarship for a student who is passionate about women’s issues. “Trinity encourages you to have a voice and use it!” she says.