SOPHIA GOURLEY ’19
The Trinity Tripod sat down with one of the Trinsition Fellows, Consuelo Pedro ’15, to learn more about her experience at Trinity as an undergraduate and her role on campus. As one of the five Trinisiton Fellows, all of whom are recent college graduates, Consuelo is a prominent member of the Bantam Network program which launched last year. The Bantam Network assigns first year students to one of ten Nests to help ease the transition from high school to college on an academic, social, and personal scale.
Originally from Trinidad, Consuelo began her college search by looking at liberal arts colleges, after a close family friend who attended Middlebury advised her that these types of institutions would be an ideal fit. After exploring several liberal arts schools, “Trinity seemed like the place that would appreciate what I could bring and seemed like a place where I knew that I could be challenged,” she said. Consuelo also noted that the international admissions officer at the time took a real interest in her and her multi-ethnic background which reinforced her decision to attend Trinity.
In terms of academics, “Another thing that drew me to Trinity that no other NESCAC was offering was the Interdisciplinary Science Program (ISP),” she said. Through ISP, students can begin conducting research as early as their first year, which is something that Consuelo was really eager to do having a life-long interest in physical therapy. “I got placed in a neuroscience laboratory studying memory and brain injury and through that I fell in love with neuroscience,” she said. Now holding a degree in neuroscience, Consuelo reflected on the unique experience she got by being able to work with Hartford residents with cognitive remediation, which is something that not many undergraduates get the chance to do.
Besides academic work and research, Consuelo had a lot of other involvements on campus including membership in the Chemistry Club, the Bantam Brew Club and the Caribbean Student Association. Consuelo also got the opportunity to live in in Doonesbury Hall, which is a dormitory that is centered around a community service program called Praxis. Through this program, Consuelo was introduced to the Hartford area through a variety of different projects and fell in love with the city. “I felt so empowered to take the amazing education Trinity had given me and be able to translate it into things in the community,” she said.
While looking for job opportunities after graduation, Consuelo heard from a few professors that there was a job posting for Trinistion Fellows. After reading the description Consuelo immediately felt like this would be a great fit, even though as a scientist, she never really pictured herself working in higher education. She says that the job, “Is getting someone from high school to a place of independence in the end.” She later described that this actually has a lot of parallels with physical therapy since both as a Trinisiton Fellow and as a physical therapist, “you have done your job when they no longer need you.”
As a Trinisiton Fellow, Consuelo is responsible for the Elms and Olmstead nests which make up about 125 students. During the day, she focuses on administrative work but through nightly events, trips to downtown Hartford and a variety of other activities, she has made a conscious effort to get to know everyone in her nests personally. She emphasized that this is definitely not a 9-5 job when she says, “late evening events are pivotal to the foundation of my nests.” Since students are in class during the day, evenings are some of the only times they are available to unwind and seek advice from their peers and mentors. Consuelo also noted that she loves the flexibility of the job since she is able to plan events that are of interest to the students, which is a great way to keep the nests lively and fun.
The Trinity Tripod lastly asked Consuelo what pieces of advice she would lend to first year students as they embark on their college careers. She said that it is very important to, “never stop asking questions and trying new things.” She also added, “it is okay to feel uncomfortable.” Often times when students begin their college search, they are advised to find “the perfect fit,” in terms of which school to attend. However, Consuelo explained that it is important to feel challenged, especially at this point in the lives of students, and that not everything will come easily at first. Luckily, first year students have supportive, caring and enthusiastic individuals to help them “trinistion” into college.
Brooke LePage ’19, was a part of Consuelo’s Olmstead nest during her first year at Trinity. She stated, “Consuelo has been a significant piece of my Trinity experience thus far. Freshman year, she was like my mom away from home. Because she went here, she is an expert at all things Trinity. If I ever had questions about picking classes or what clubs to join, Consuelo was the first person I went to. Seeing her around campus and getting a big hug from her is always the highlight of any day. She is someone I will always be grateful for and always look up to.”
Consuelo certainly has done an excellent job mentoring first year students and Trinity is definitely lucky to have such an ideal member in the Bantam Network during its inaugural years.
SOPHIA GOURLEY ’19