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8 Outstanding Women at Trinity

Thursday, June 20, 2019
collage of women

From fielding calls from Hillary Clinton to calling for social change, these women have made their presence known on campus

by Danyal Tahseen '19

Of Trinity’s 2,480 undergraduates, more than half (53 percent, to be exact) are women. Meet some of the female trailblazers making waves on campus.

1. Jennifer Ochoa ’20

jennifer with sign on campusJennifer is a Latina first-generation student who wants to use her bilingualism and financial acumen, as a double major in Spanish and accounting, to promote financial literacy among under-resourced communities. With the Upward Bound program, Jennifer coordinated academic success workshops for high school low-income or first-generation students. Jennifer has also recently become trained as a tax preparer and wants to help working families in San Antonio prepare their taxes for free.

As community service chair for Delta Sigma Pi, a business fraternity on campus, Jennifer worked alongside finance and decision sciences professor Dante Suarez in continuing Life Launch, a program that aims to provide business literacy workshops to 10 to 15 women from Family Violence Prevention Services. No stranger to taking initiative on campus, Jennifer revived the Trinity University Latinx Association and established a new cultural event, Primavera (Spring) Fiesta Fest, that brings the San Antonio Fiesta tradition onto campus.

2. Arianna Siddiqui ’21

arianna headshotArianna advocates for marginalized voices as peer educator for the Diversity and Inclusion Office and vice president of the Muslim Student Association. She has led workshops encouraging dialogues on allyship and microaggressions and helped organize a vigil to let the campus stand together in solidarity following the Christchurch mosque shootings.

Arianna seeks to better understand and fight hate crimes through her research with political science professor Peter O'Brien. As a trilingual English, Urdu, and French speaker, Arianna tracks and translates far-right French websites to collect data on Islamophobic rhetoric and will present her findings next fall in San Diego for the American Academy of Religion.

Arianna bridges her work as a voice for justice with her goal to work in law and international relations through her role as an international student liaison for the Academic Honor Council. This summer, she will be interning with Burnam | Gray as part of an Arts, Letters, and Enterprise internship.

3. Yasmeen Alayli ’19

yasmeen doing research with test tubeYasmeen is a neuroscience major and chemistry minor who has overcome tremendous obstacles on her journey to a career of service as a physician. She is part of the Joint Admission Medical Program, a statewide program in Texas designed to provide internships, mentorship, and assistance to financially disadvantaged students passionate about medicine. Knowing what it’s like to fight for your dreams, Yasmeen babysits at SAMM Ministries to offer a break to working moms and volunteers at University Hospital, where she assists nurses in feeding and caring for neonates. As a peer tutor, she also helps her peers on campus adapt to demanding STEM classes.

Yasmeen does pediatrics research at UT Health Science Center at San Antonio. She has been published for her work using mesenchymal stem cells to treat neonatal diseases.

Yasmeen has accomplished all of this while caring for her mom through a terminal illness throughout Yasmeen’s time at Trinity. She just recently graduated summa cum laude.

4. Molly Lenihan ’19

molly in front of mountainMolly has been committed to environmental sustainability both on campus and in the San Antonio community. She has done research under biology professor Kelly Lyons about the growing practices and germination rates of the native milkweed plant, where endangered Monarch butterflies lay eggs. Molly has been a board member at Friends of San Antonio Natural Areas for nearly three years. She has also been a member of Trinity’s Sustainability Committee, a university group that promotes sustainability on campus.

Molly studied abroad for a semester at the Universidad Nacional in Costa Rica, where she performed field-based research on competitive dynamics between native and invasive grass species in Texas.

When she is not out in the field for biology experiments, you may catch Molly on a different field  playing ultimate frisbee. She is co-captain of Trinity women’s ultimate frisbee team, which is ranked No. 2 nationally for Division III women’s frisbee.

5. Carson Bolding ’21

carson in front of alamo with signCarson is a communication major who lives and breathes politics—in fact, she was personally congratulated by Hillary Clinton over a conference call for her work promoting political awareness in the community. This was made possible through Carson's fellowship with Battleground Texas.

Carson's political aspirations are also shaped by her position as Class of 2021 senator for Student Government Association. As vice president of Trinity Progressives, she helped bring Bernie Sanders to campus. During last year’s midterm elections, she ran a huge voter registration drive to encourage voter turnout. Carson was also a field organizer for the state senate race in San Antonio in fall 2018.

Next semester, Carson will be in Vietnam for a study abroad program centered on economic development in Southeast Asia. She aims to eventually work in public policy research.

6. Leah Woehr ’20

leah in costume on stageLeah is a theatre and communication double major who strives to carve out a space for Asians in theater, starting at Trinity. To this end, Leah has won a prestigious Mellon research grant to fund her study on intercultural communication within theater. For this project, she will be working with human communication and theatre professor Kyle Gillette at an international theater festival called Invisible Cities in Italy. She is inspired by how bringing one’s culture to the stage through performance can make us better humans, travelers, and artists. For her honors thesis, Leah will be conducting extensive background research to write her own play conveying the intricacies of adoption, Asian culture, and personal identity.

Practically born for the stage, Leah recently won Spotlight with an original song titled Carry Me. She also wrote music for her most recent Trinity Theatre performance, You in the Moors Now, and was a finalist in the esteemed Rosalind Vocal Competition.

7. Chikanma Ibeh ’22

chikanma headshotChikanma is a first-year student who is passionate about empowering people like her, including black women and other marginalized groups, to fight for acceptance in professional and social spaces.

Recently, Chikanma worked with a team of other First-Year Experience students to hold a workshop for Upward Bound high schoolers to help motivate them to carve out opportunities for themselves. Leading by example, Chikanma recently placed in the finals for the Louis H. Stumberg Venture Competition, earning $5,000 for her own startup.

As a Nigerian/African American Pell Grant student, Chikanma brings a unique and valuable perspective to her role as treasurer of Trinity Diversity Connection and social justice peer educator with the Diversity and Inclusion Office, where she has helped organize events such as the "How To Be An Ally" workshop. In her short time at Trinity, she has already published an article in the first ever volume of Trinity Diversity Connection Journal. She is a member of the Black Student Union (BSU) and plans to live in the first ever Afro-Affinity hall next year.

Chikanma says, “As a young black woman at Trinity, I am on a mission to create a space for people like me to thrive here. I like to spend my time doing my best to create safe spaces for POCs and lighting a path for other young students to enter higher education.”

8. Carmen Johnson ’21

carmen headshotIf the luscious taste of Chocolate Fest or the gorgeous harmonies from Spotlight sound familiar to you, Carmen Johnson was the brains behind making those fond memories possible. A leader on the Student Programming Board, Carmen has planned many events encouraging school spirit. She was also the only student on the TU 150 subcommittee, which planned Trinity’s 150th anniversary kickoff ceremony.

Besides working three jobs as a University tour guide, student assistant at the Coates Student Center and Career Services, and peer educator for Clifton Strengths, Carmen still finds time to extend support to minority voices at all sorts of cultural events on campus.

Never one to settle for stagnancy, Carmen is already looking towards the future of the accounting industry. One of her biggest career goals is to work with a software developer to design technology that could redefine the everyday accounting world.

Danyal Tahseen '19 is a biology major with a communication minor who interned in Trinity's Office of Strategic Communications and Marketing. He is now preparing to attend medical school in Houston in the fall.