- Lindsay Marie Vaughan
- Samira Yasmeen Mustafa
- Tiffany Abney
- Tanzi W. Tayyab
- Zenia M. Henderson
- Jaleya Leonard
- Carlos Vazquez
- Shaundrea Brown
College of Arts and Sciences
“I took a class with Wendy Thorbjornsen, whose encouragement and enthusiasm inspired me to pursue creative writing seriously, rather than as a hobby or side interest,” said Lindsay Vaughan. She graduated summa cum laude with an English degree. At Commencement, she was awarded the Mary Boyle McCrory ’22 Award for Excellence in Writing.
She is taking a year off to focus on creative writing before going to graduate school. “At the moment I am working on a collection of poems and a screenplay,” she said. She intends to apply to master of fine arts in creative writing programs and, in the more distant future, a doctorate in literature.
During her year before graduate school, Vaughan has tasked herself with “something possibly insane,” creating a literary journal in Takoma Park, Maryland. “I have lived in Takoma Park for the past three years and, while it is a thriving center for musicians and there are many poets in residence, there aren’t many venues for writers to express themselves here,” she said. “I hope to pair the journal with regular literary salons and creativity workshops in order to get people working and creating together.”
When asked who she had to thank at Trinity for her successful graduation, she said, “Wendy Thorbjornsen, who advised me flawlessly; William Beverly, who worked with me on my undergraduate thesis; Jacqueline Padgett for the passion and love she brings to the classroom; Elizabeth Child for getting me to fall in love with Jane Austen; and Joseph Sheridan for showing me that I can accomplish whatever I set out to achieve.”
“Trinity will always be a home for me, and I imagine many of my sisters feel the same way,” Vaughan said. “The English department is so small that it is impossible for students not to become friends while working so closely together. My closest friends from Trinity are women I met through my English courses. It was more than the place where I took my classes and ate my lunch for three years. It is an intellectual haven and the perfect space for women to challenge, encourage and inspire one another. The greatest thing I gained from Trinity is this appreciation for sisterhood.”
College of Arts and Sciences
Though Samira Mustafa only graduated in May, she has already put her bachelor of arts in business administration to good use. She was accepted into the Teach For America program in San Antonio, Texas. Once she passes her entrance exams, she expects to teaching mathematics special education.
“Tori Hornstein, who works in the Development Office at Trinity, helped me so much throughout my entire application process,” said Mustafa. “Because Tori was a Teach For America alum, she gave me so much insight on things. Without her help I would have been so lost throughout my application process.” Mustafa’s Trinity education impacted her teaching position in a huge way. Because she was a business administration major and economics minor, the San Antonio Independent School District expects her to be a great fit to teach math.
Mustafa owes a great deal of thanks to Dean Michelle “Meechie” Bowie, Trinity’s dean of students, for “everything she has done for me while I was at Trinity. She became my second mother. Without her encouraging words and her constantly pushing me to do bigger and better things, I would not be the woman I am now. At my lowest points she was there to motivate me and push me to do better. For everything she has done, I cannot thank her enough.”
“My favorite memory that I have from Trinity is the bonds I formed with so many incredible women from all over,” said Mustafa. “The friendships that I made here will last a lifetime. These women have become not only my friends but my sisters. I will never forget the experience I had at Trinity. Now many of my sisters have entered the ‘real world’ and are doing amazing things.”
School of Nursing and Health Professions
Tiffany Abney graduated cum laude with her bachelor of science in nursing degree. After graduation, she passed her boards to become a registered nurse and is pursuing a nursing career in the D.C. area. She reflected, “I believe the education I received at Trinity, the knowledge the professors imparted onto me and the educational experiences made available to me have given me confidence in moving forward with my nursing career.”
Abney was granted many interviews and has received several job offers after finishing at Trinity, and she is currently selecting among the offers to find the best fit for her. “I do think the education from and reputation of Trinity has contributed to my being availed these opportunities,” she said. “I also believe that having integrity and civility, and blessing, play a huge part in the opportunities I have been offered.”
A master’s program is on the horizon for Abney, but she would like to get a year or two of nursing experience first so that she can apply that experience to her master’s curriculum. She said, “I feel prepared for success as a professional nurse and prepared for success in any master’s program I pursue.”
“As a returning adult student it was challenging to work full-time, attend classes, complete clinical rotations, and manage home life all at the same time,” Abney said. “I would like to encourage others who juggle a plethora of responsibilities that anything you commit to doing is possible; you can do it all and be successful.”
“I am a Christian woman and have had to have faith every step of the way through this educational journey,” Abney said. “Prayer, not only for myself, but for others’ needs, is what I believe is a necessary component of life. I have met many people and have bonded especially with those in the nursing program. We have gone through a roller coaster of emotions as we’ve stressed over exams and research projects. I think it is because of our immense support of one another that our bonds of friendship will be life-long.”
School of Nursing and Health Professions
“Trinity allowed me the opportunity to be exposed to different types of nursing in many different settings,” said Tanzi Tayyab. “This made it easier to decide what area suited me best.” After graduation, Tayyab will work full time as a registered nurse, gaining experience before pursuing her nurse practitioner degree.
After graduation, Tayyab stayed in touch with her professors, who became her mentors. “The advice they gave me was invaluable,” she said. “They helped me pinpoint what area of nursing was right for me and prepared me for the interview process.”
Tayyab credits her Trinity experience with helping to prepare her for nursing in the “real world.” She enjoyed working alongside the diverse student body at Trinity. She also owes her success to her family, “specifically my husband who was my support system and motivation through all the challenging times,” she said. “I cannot imagine how difficult it would be to complete this program without his support.”
School of Professional Studies
Zenia Henderson currently works to implement community change strategies in order to prevent substance abuse in local communities. She is a first-generation college graduate, and earned her master of science in administration, with a concentration in organizational development. She is now seeking to grow with a new professional opportunity more closely aligned with her degree. Through her time in the MSA program, Henderson learned just how much she enjoyed working with people at a more strategic and organizational-change level. “My time at Trinity, coupled with the firsthand experience I received in the nonprofit sector, has contributed to me feeling more academically prepared,” said Henderson. “I have become more confident in pursuing challenging professional leadership opportunities.”
“Obtaining my master’s degree was an important next step for me as a nonprofit professional,” she said. “Now that I have my MSA, I feel better equipped to pursue a career more in tune with my passion.”
Dr. Kelley Wood was the first person who came to mind when asked who she would thank for her successful graduation. “He served as a mentor in the field of organizational leadership for me. He showed genuine interest in my research topic, Latina leadership, and supported my academic and professional growth as well.”
Reflecting on her time as a student, Henderson said, “I met some really amazing people during my tenure at Trinity, especially professional women of color, which was refreshing on so many levels. It was very rewarding to be able to connect with like-minded people and work with such a high caliber of intelligent and creative women. I think the program at Trinity is set up exceptionally well for professionals seeking to further their education. My professors were really understanding and supportive of my professional and personal responsibilities, and the schedule made it easy for me to fit classes into my life.”
School of Professional Studies
Jaleya Leonard earned her bachelor of arts in human relations at Trinity, and immediately began her master of science in administration program here. Her concentration is in nonprofit management and she expects to graduate in December of next year. During her undergraduate human relations coursework, she concentrated on psychology in order to better understand how to interact with others, learn more about social work, and gain insight about at-risk youth.
“I have always had a passion for service to the community. I have been involved in community service since I was about 5 or 6 years old,” said Leonard. “Having grown up in the inner city since I was born, I always wondered what I could do to make a significant impact on my city. I also witnessed my grandmother giving selflessly back to her city and the community. I knew that I just wanted to help, inspire and change lives. Now, I am a mother and it is apparent that God has led me to be an advocate for youth. I have always wanted to start a nonprofit organization focusing on youth and education.”
Leonard shared her Trinity experiences with her twin sister, who is now enrolled in the MBA program here. “I can tell that she is pleased with her decision to attend Trinity,” Leonard said. She’s very positive-minded about her classes and professors and I know she is focused on her academic goals she has set for herself.
“I definitely wish to thank God for my successful graduation,” Leonard said. “He is the best thing that ever happened to me. The triumphs and tribulations I have overcome in my young life let me know that God is real and continues to move in every facet of my life daily. With Him, all things are possible.” She also wanted to give thanks to her grandmother, who raised her from birth until her passing in 2006, and her 3-year-old son, who gave her a reason to achieve her goals and look forward to her future. Leonard closed, saying, “To be honest, Trinity was one of the best decisions I have made thus far in my life.”
School of Education
“Trinity prepared me to be an excellent professional in the counseling field,” remarked Carlos Vazquez, who completed his master’s degree in counseling. “I truly enjoyed my time studying at Trinity. I considered it a privilege to be there, and I hope more people will be presented with the same opportunity.”
Vazquez made many lasting friendships at Trinity, and he still keeps in touch with the friends he made. In addition to fellow students, he has others to thank for helping him along his college path. “I’d like to thank Dr. Cynthia Greer for her guidance and patience, as well as Scott Swinney in the Writing Center. They encouraged me and helped when times were tough.” Faculty and staff assisted Vazquez in many aspects of his career, but he always had his own clear plan and professional goals. “Trinity was a perfect fit, assisting me in reaching my goals – it was instrumental in helping me get there,” he said of his degree completion.
Vazquez has a desire to help people get into the right profession and is working to accrue enough hours to apply for his District of Columbia licensed clinical practitioner license. He is also applying for school counselor positions in the Maryland suburbs of D.C.
The Sr. Helen Sheehan Library was a special place for Vazquez. “I love the library. I still drive by the building and think of the time I spent there with fondness,” he said. “I want to thank God and the Trinity professors for such a marvelous experience. I will share them always in my heart and new career.”
School of Education
Shaundrea Brown completed her master of arts in teaching. She will use her concentration in early childhood education to not only work with young children, but also their families. “I would like to help children develop physically, cognitively, and socially while also giving support to their families,” she said.
Though she was apprehensive about going back to college, she started her degree in the spring of 2010. “I believe that each of my classes prepared me to become more knowledgeable of the early childhood field. I enjoyed learning and connecting from the knowledgeable professors and well as my peers. I treasure these relationships as I continue into this field,” said Brown. Through her student teaching experience, she was referred to a principal in the D.C. Public Schools. “I will begin my journey as a preschool teacher at Neval Thomas Elementary School in the fall,” Brown said.
Reflecting on her time at Trinity, Brown shared, “I remember experiencing the blizzards of 2010 when I first started at Trinity and though I was home, as schools were closed, I still thought about completing my schoolwork! I remember collaborating with my peers and working on projects. But most importantly I remember the day I graduated. Not only were my family, peers, professors and administrators proud but I was proud of myself.”
“I just want to tell anyone who is thinking about going to school…just do it,” said Brown. “There will never be the ‘perfect time,’ there will always be something happening in your life whether good or not. While spending my roughly two and a half years at Trinity, I experienced four deaths in my family, the first three within the first six months of 2010. I credit my fiancé, family and friends for supporting me while I initiated, continued and finished my journey at Trinity. Trinity is a great school to go to. I appreciate the small classroom sizes and the intimacy it brings – professors and deans actually know your name. Everyone here is here to help and support each other…and that’s amazing!”