Related: Academics, Students, Women, Women's Leadership

Voices of Trinity: Student Summer Adventures


Trinity students spent the Summer of 2019 doing amazing projects all over the world.  This blog tells some of their stories.  An earlier blog also shared the stories of students who studied abroad.   If you would like to share your summer internships, study abroad and other projects, send me a paragraph and photos on email

Lesly “Sam” Murillo ’20:  Indiana University School of Medicine, 2019 Summer Undergraduate Research Experience in the Biomedical Sciences

SamSam won a scholarship to participate in this intense 10-week program in laboratories at Indiana University.  She writes,

“My experience in Indianapolis this summer was absolutely unforgettable! I developed so many skills and was able to meet many amazing people. My mentor was amazing and the PI in the lab I was working with was nothing but intelligent, productive, and hardworking.  I was assigned a project where I was to localize calcium binding proteins in the human parasite toxoplasma gondii. As summer progressed so did my project, I was able to obtain results and successfully localize one of the proteins! At the end of the 10 week program we where to present a poster explaining our research (photo above).”

Thanks to Dr. Shizuka Hsieh, Associate Professor of Chemistry, for working with Sam to secure this great internship!  And thanks to Dr. Tara Hobson at Indiana University for opening doors for Trinity students!

Adonis Mokom ’22:  Summer in London CIEE Presidential Fellowship

Along with Fozia Jafar, whose story follows this one, Adonis Mokom won a CIEE Presidential Fellowship and spent part of the summer studying in London.  She made a terrific video of her experience, above, and here is her essay:

“My journey to London was an opportunity of a lifetime that I could never imagine, that is being a first-year student and receiving the CIEE Presidential Fellows scholarship was indeed beyond my imagination. The joy and happiness that filled my heart was beyond what I could compare and all I wanted was to thank God for his unlimited favor and blessings that he had showered on me. As the day for my departure to London approached and all I could think of was the wonderful opportunity to step in a plane with my friend who is also a recipient of the CIEE Presidential Fellows scholarship to a destination of opportunity, adventure and the experience different cultures with the CIEE (Council on International Educational Exchange). Who could say my journey was an easy one after having a 2hour delay at Dulles airport, and finally spending 7hours and 30 minutes on the plane was enough but getting to the London Heathrow Airport and realizing that we did not make it in time for our ride? Walking from terminal to terminal with our luggage’s with no WIFI nor a means to call for a ride was a surprise I couldn’t have planned for, but we finally made it to our apartment safely.

Adonis and Fozia(Adonis Mokom ’22 and Fozia Jafar ’22, CIEE Presidential Fellows)

“Arriving at King cross apartment and meeting our CIEE advisors who were so nice to us made me feel so welcomed and happy to be in London. During orientation and in my Anthropology class, I learned about the history and culture of United Kingdom such understanding some words like “Bob’s your uncle” meaning “there you go,” and the monarchy which is headed by queen Elizabeth II. This was one of the most eye-opening experiences, because we did not only learn about the British culture and the monarchy, but we also learned about the different cultures that have helped to form the British culture. My Anthropology class was very transforming as it we engaged in conversations, debates, presentations and visited places such as the National Portrait Gallery, the Neasden Hindu Temple and a walking Tour in Brixton, we learned about how the pattern of migration in 1945 onward impacted the contemporary British society and their construction of their national identities.

“As the days of my trip went on it became more evident why students and travelers alike became so connected to their travel experiences.  By the end of the first week in London , I felt a connection that I still could not imagine: taking the underground tube, and walking for a long time to get to my destination was exhausting but it helped me to view and appreciate the historical buildings of the city such as the Cheese grater, Gherkin building and the London eye by the river Thames. London, like Washington D.C., is made up of diversity of people from all over the world who experience and share their cultures (food and music) such as fish and chips and the beautiful Afro-Caribbean music played on the streets of Brixton. I had the opportunity to visit Cardiff, Wales and observe the culture which though it was similar with that of London, England but it was quite a different environment as you could see so many in areas like Cardiff then going to Newport the population was less which was a surprising fact. As my friends spent our last week together eating our last fish and chips at the CIEE farewell lunch and walking by the Tower bridge I realized that this trip has changed me. Suddenly I realized that I was a completely a different person than the young woman who stepped off the plane in May. London to me wasn’t about taking a class or going on excursions, but rather about finding myself in moments where I could improve my communication skills with my engagements in both in class and out of class discussions and use this experience or learned skill to improve my personal growth. The beauty of the city taught me to find the courage and beauty in myself not only as a student but also as a leader.

“Finally, with the wind blowing in my hair and the sweet London air in my lungs, London is indeed a place that I would recommend anyone who wants to experience the beauty of a country’s culture through the diversity of people who have come together to form the peaceful and welcoming British community. My experiences and learned skills through my conversation with my peers in class, the CIEE staff and the British community has help me to appreciate the things in my life and has encouraged and motivated me to push harder in order to achieve my goals in life and to become a better leader and students. A journey that began with a step in the plane to a destination not knowing what to really expect, and it has ended with a full basket of skills and lessons learned that will help me in my personal growth.”

Fozia Jafar ’22, Summer in London, CIEE Presidential Fellowship


“My Summer in London study abroad was one of the most exciting, as well as knowledge-expanding experiences in my educational journey. I decided to study in London because it is one of the top diverse cities in the world and has English as its official language, which I believe is beneficial to make a smooth start to study abroad, along with exposure to several cultures that help me get ideas for future study abroad destinations; Such as countries that do not speak English or their official language is not English. Starting from the location of our housing to where we take classes, everything was very adventurous to learn more about the cultures and diversity of British people. Especially, the underground transportation showed us the diverse population of the British people as well as the endless tourists and visitors that come to London. There are more both to the fun experiences and critical study of the multicultural British Nation.

“The main focus of our course was to critically study multiculturalism in the British Nation by looking at several ethnic groups through the lens of anthropology, that’s the study of societies and cultures of humans. The course included wide variety of activates such as class lectures, film discussions of movies; “East is East” and “Brick Lane” which mainly entail the struggles of ethnic minorities and immigrants, excursions to “Only Human exhibition” at the National Portrait Gallery that showcases investigative projects of British identity, “BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir” one of the largest Hindu temples outside India (see photo below), tour to Brixton district in London known for its wide range of market and center for African and Caribbean foods and goods. Our overall observation played imminent role in understanding the role of diversity in defining British identity and the places various ethnic minorities have in the British society.

Fozia at Hindu Temple“To further our understanding and critical analysis of British Identity and multiculturalism, we also made our own claims and took stances on given topics that we later addressed in presentation, debate and essay form. How is multiculturalism being represented in the nation? Is it failing or being practiced properly? How do current events taking place in the nation reflect the state of multiculturalism and British identity? My overall conclusion was that multiculturalism in the British nation is still working to a degree, but also failing in multiple aspects. The existence of multiculturalism in the British society is reflected by the freedom of the diverse ethnicities to express and practice their own cultures, while also uniting as one through their British identity. But some ethnic minorities have not improved due to economic and political under-representation, and some groups feel strongly connected to their other ethnic identity and less to their British identity, while some do not even refer to themselves as British.   

“Our study abroad program included additional excursions and tours to variety of places. Such that, Camden market famous for range of souvenirs and street foods of different cultures that includes, Indian, Taiwanese, French, Chinese, Indonesian, middle eastern and many other. Astonishing tour to Stonehenge and city of Bath, exploring magnificent prehistoric monuments and the Roman Bath, respectively. Boat tour of the areas around River Thames while viewing the London Bridge, Big ben clock, unique buildings such as the Gherkin Tower. Walk on the streets of Westminster city accompanied by professional tour guide, viewing Buckingham Palace that is the residence of Queen Elizabeth II and Buildings used in the infamous Harry Potter movie.

“Besides excursions prepared by the program, my friends and I went to many places on our own, including a ride on the Coca Cola London Eye, one of the tallest Ferris Wheel in the World, shopping in one of the busiest shopping centers in London that is Oxford Street, and also went to the capital of Wales, Cardiff for a short visit and had exciting time enjoying the view, food and speed boat ride at the Cardiff Bay.

“It is impossible to share all my experiences and knowledge that I got through my study abroad in such a short writing. As I conclude my stay in one of the most diverse nation worldwide, my study abroad experience has broadened my understanding of the history, culture and social life of the British people, while helping me view the world from a different perspective to become a more informed global citizen.”

Youssra Khalil ’21:  Summer in Paris

Youssra“Trinity Washington University and the Study Abroad Grant allowed me to undertake a fantastic life journey. As an Egyptian woman who grew up surrounded by Eastern cultures, I never dreamt of traveling abroad alone. In the customs of my culture women ought to travel with a family member, never by themselves. Though at first my family was hesitant, they accepted my decision to accept the grant as it was an incredible opportunity that I couldn’t pass on. Upon receiving my family’s approval, I started mentally preparing myself for my trip. I vowed to myself that I would have the best time of my life and welcome uncertainty and new experiences with open arms.

“As I boarded the plane I started to have a wide range of emotions. I felt anxious, excited, and curious. My mind couldn’t conceive that at the age of twenty-two, I was finally going to experience popular concepts such as being an  ” Independent woman” and “Living with a host family.” During the eight-hour flight my mind welcomed Paris with an open heart and I started to ponder what type of person I would become when the trip came to an end. 

“Living with a Parisian family for a month allowed me to fully understand the French culture through the lens of my host family. This helped me rid myself of my ethnocentrism. The first time I met them, I thought that they were going to be unfriendly due to the stereotypes of Parisians having a dismissive personality, but within the first conversation, I learned that the members of my host family were some of the most genuine people I have ever met.

Youssra at the Louvre“The Barron family made me feel at  home, which helped me feel less homesick. I happened to be in Paris on a Muslim holiday, Eid. When I shared my disappointment in not celebrating my favorite holiday with my family, Phillip Barron my host dad, decided to take me to a Jewish neighborhood named Le Marias, where a famous Falafel place, L’AS Du Fallafel, served the best Falafel and Shawarma wraps in town. Inside of the restaurant, I noticed that strangers were sitting close to one another and conversing while eating their meals. The scene at the restaurant caused me to have a flashback to me being a child in Egypt and watching strangers enjoy each other’s company over good food. This memory warmed my heart and made me feel better about being away from my family, and I was grateful to Phillip for his thoughtfulness. Phillip, a retired sociology professor, became my tour guide and accompanied me to see the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty Paris, the Jardin Des Plantes and Paris-10th Arr, an area with famous street art. Having a Parisian show me the city enhanced  my experience.

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“From the day I arrived to the day I departed, I immersed myself in Parisian culture to the point where I became one. One of the first things I noticed while living in France is that Parisians love consuming rich calories such as baguettes with butter, croissants (for breakfast not as a dessert), cold soups, and pasta. I wasn’t used to regularly consuming these foods, yet on week two of my stay, those foods became a part of my regular eating habits. Another observation was that Paris had adequate public transportation that can take you anywhere in the city. Ubering to places was uncommon. To adapt to the situation, I learned how to use the Metro (which was incredibly cheap since I bought a weekly pass).  As a result of learning to ride the metro, I was able to better explore the city since everything was accessible. Additionally, I showed my appreciation to Parisians by learning a few common French phrases to communicate with them. I experienced all of these cultural changes in such a short time, and it helped me view the world differently.

“I am forever grateful to Trinity Washington University for allowing me to have a memorable summer. I had the chance to meet beautiful souls who lightened my days and pushed me out of my comfort zone.  I encourage any of my Trinity sisters who are able to,  to apply for the study abroad grant because the amount of growth that comes from this experience is almost surreal.”

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Patricia A. McGuire, President, Trinity, 125 Michigan Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20017
Phone: 202.884.9050   Email: