by Darin Mackender —

My daughter said, “I knew you would cry.”

“I’m just so happy for you,” I said as I wiped a tear from my cheek. “I’m so glad you decided to study abroad.”

I had landed in Copenhagen 12 hours earlier and was getting my first glimpse of the city that my daughter, Ally, a rising senior at Trinity University, had called home for the past semester. She had predicted my reaction. I’m a soft touch. For the next two weeks, Ally guided my wife, son, and I around Copenhagen, Berlin, and Iceland. We saw her school and housing, ate at her favorite restaurants, visited her favorite museums and castles, and enjoyed time together after four months apart.
Trinity University senior Ally Mackender, at left, with her dad Darin, mom, and brother in Copenhagen
In the months since, I have had an opportunity to reflect on Ally’s experience. I am confident her semester abroad expanded her horizons in all of the expected ways. Her academic program, which was arranged through Trinity, was thought-provoking and challenging. Focusing on gender and social justice issues in Europe, she was forced to think critically about U.S. policies and reexamine her own opinions. Her extracurricular and study-travel experiences exposed her to different political, social, and cultural perspectives, some of which continue to be cornerstones of her personal beliefs and attitudes.

Ally also grew immeasurably as a person. As her mom and I watched her disappear, by herself, into the Denver airport, we struggled to imagine how she would handle living and traveling in Europe for four months, which was her first experience living outside our house or the Trinity dorms and traveling independently. She was fine. She shopped and cooked, got a cell phone, got her card for health services, figured out the trains and buses, and did all of the things necessary for day-to-day life. She immersed herself in the rhythm of Copenhagen. She visited 13 countries.

At times, she traveled with large groups from her program. At other times, she traveled with one or two friends. She traveled by plane, train, bus, car, and bike; and slept in hotels, hostels, and even a tent. She visited or hosted three of her best friends from Trinity, who also were studying in Europe. She returned more confident, more worldly, more mature, and more prepared to succeed at Trinity and life thereafter.

An unexpected benefit of Ally’s semester abroad was our growth as parents. Like many parents, we always have been eager, perhaps too eager, to solve our children’s problems, offer advice (sometimes unwanted), and generally meddle in their affairs. We try to strike the right balance, but are never quite sure that we have succeeded. Our relationship with Ally changed, permanently and for the better, when she stepped off the plane in Denmark.

We knew that, in addition to the much greater geographic distance between us, there would be a knowledge gap. How do you fix a laptop in San Antonio? Same as Denver. How do you fix a laptop in Copenhagen? Sorry, dear, you are on your own. The change became apparent to me when Ally returned from a weekend trip to Switzerland. I realized that I had known very little about her plans. She went to Switzerland with friends, had fun, called when she got home, and was fine. It was an epiphany for her mom and me to realize she’s “got it covered.”

It likely would surprise Ally to know that one of my fondest memories of her semester abroad doesn’t involve a museum or castle, performance, restaurant, or even our family. When I arrived in Copenhagen, Ally had just said goodbye to her housemates and classmates for the past four months. She was the last to leave. Ally told me about a particularly difficult goodbye to a new, close friend the day before. I knew immediately what she was feeling. At some level, we all have experienced it. The story is familiar. You begin a new, challenging adventure with a group of strangers. Through the highs and lows, you become friends with those strangers and develop a special bond, a deeper connection, with some. Then, the adventure ends, and everybody goes their separate ways.
Ally and Darin Mackender
As adults, we don’t experience those situations much, it seems. But, we know the feeling. The transcendent joy of deep connections forged by overcoming, followed by the sweet sorrow of the adventure coming to an end. You carry those memories with you forever and know that things—you—will never be the same. Ally experienced that, and it is priceless.

About Darin

Darin Mackender received his undergraduate degree from Nebraska Wesleyan University and his law degree from the University of Nebraska College of Law. He is an attorney with Fisher Phillips in Denver. His daughter, Allyson, will be a senior at Trinity University this fall.

Trinity University Career Fair

by Twyla Hough —

Greetings, all! As Trinity prepares to welcome new and returning students to campus next month, my mind returns to the 2015 Trinity Bunch video recorded last summer.

This five-minute video shares campus information in the style of the television sitcom, the “Brady Bunch,” and although a few roles have changed in the past year, such as Dr. Sheryl Tynes’ recent promotion to Vice President of Student Affairs, I believe there is still much to be gleaned from it. Please note that the registration dates on the video are incorrect; registration this year will be Aug. 22-23.

In fact, as the director of the Office of Career Services, I encourage you to pay special attention to my advice in the video for all students to visit the Center for Experiential Learning & Career Success sooner than later to meet with their career advisor for career planning and exploration, including information on applying for graduate school. As parents, you will continue asking yourself questions related to your child's career. My simple advice is to encourage your child to visit our office, get involved, make connections through internships, and really explore all the city (and our Tiger alumni network) have to offer. It is never too early.

To help bring advice and tips to you, we've created a YouTube playlist that will continue to be a source for career information. Hope you enjoy watching! If you have suggestions on topics, let me know.

Current students and alumni can schedule an appointment by logging into Hire a Tiger at Additionally, our office can be reached at 210-999-8321 or if assistance is needed. Trinity's Career Services team is here to help equip students to actively explore, strategically plan, and successfully launch into their personalized career journey.

All of us at Trinity, especially the Career Services team, look forward to meeting you to celebrate #TigerPride.

About Twyla
Twyla Hough is director of the Office of Career Services in Trinity University’s Center for Experiential Learning and Career Success.

Dr. Arturo Madrid with Trinity University students

by Jorge Mora –

We always knew we wanted our son to attend college, but when the time came for him to make his decision, we had lots of questions. Would he receive the support he needed to thrive academically? Would he be able to make the transition to a different social setting?

One of the biggest challenges he faced being a first-generation student at Trinity University was definitely doing everything on his own. We worried whether Isaiah could make the transition from a high school environment to a rigorous college setting.

Our journey started one month before classes his first semester as he participated in the First-Generation, Under-represented Students summer bridge program. The program was designed to provide first-generation students a head start in college to ease the transition.

The program had a lasting effect on Isaiah. However, when he first began classes he doubted if he belonged at Trinity. Did Trinity make a mistake by accepting him? Should he have gone to another university?

Like many first generation families, we did not know there was help. Thankfully, his professor in the summer bridge program, Dr. Arturo Madrid, made it known that they were there to help students like my son when they needed it. Dr. Madrid was always available for assistance. Like many of the professors and staff at Trinity, he came to know my son personally. A distinct memory of mine is Isaiah coming home and telling us he met with Dr. Madrid that week during office hours for questions on an assignment. As they were walking Dr. Madrid encountered a colleague and introduced Isaiah as his friend. That day Isaiah found one of his many mentors on campus.
Trinity University student Isaiah Mora and family
Members of the Mora Family, from left, are Ainara, Elizabeth, Jorge, Eilidh, and Isaiah.
With the focus on adjusting to life away from the family and concentrating on grades, my son has also been able to have fun in college. As an active member of the Trinity University Latino Exchange, he has made a family away from home. It has given students like my son a new sense of pride in their cultural heritage, as well as their academic background. Needless to say, Isaiah made long lasting friendships that will go beyond his four years on campus.

Now entering his third year in college, with affirmation, I can say that Trinity was the best place for my son. I am also proud to say this past semester my son made the Dean’s List.

About Jorge

Originally from Laredo, Texas, Jorge Mora is a CNC engineer at Mission Metal Fabricators in San Antonio, where he lives with his wife Elizabeth Mora. They are parents to three children. Their eldest, Isaiah will be a junior at Trinity. His passions include spending time with his children, yard work, and storytelling.

by Gregory Shervanick—

Many Division I colleges have a tradition of great football or basketball teams, and others, especially those in Division III, have the added tradition of family. Trinity University has both. It is a close community, and I’d like to share both my daughter’s story about being part of the Trinity family and how I came to be part of it, too.

Although I did not attend Trinity University, my daughter Kara joined the Trinity family in 2009 and graduated in 2013 with a degree in biology and environmental studies. Each year that she returned to Trinity as a student, she became increasingly involved with faculty, friends, and activities, culminating in being named a Distinguished Representative.

Student Involvement was Key for Kara

During her enrollment and participation in campus life, Kara cheered for Tiger athletics, worked with the Trinity Cat Alliance, participated in Interhall Olympics, and assisted newcomers as well as returning alumni for Homecoming (also known as Alumni Weekend) with information from the desk at Coates University Center.

Also every year, upon her return to Trinity, her campus family grew larger and the faculty and staff became more a part of her life as a caring extended family. She felt the ideals of Trinity even as she took part in a study abroad trip to Australia. As a parent, I never really considered myself as a member of this intimate family group until a few weeks ago.

The Feeling of Family Reaches from New Mexico to Texas

A local newspaper carried an article about resident who was having a birthday, her 104th. The article also noted that she was an alumnus of Trinity University. I forwarded the notification to the Office of University Marketing & Communications, which arranged to send a birthday card to the centenarian. During a subsequent correspondence with one of the Trinity staff, I realized that not only was my daughter part of the Trinity family but I also was a part of that history. So in order to follow in my daughter’s footsteps as a Distinguished Representative for Trinity University, I offer this view of #TigerPride.

Expanding Opportunities

Representatives to
Increase the
Diffusion of

Thank you for making family a Trinity tradition!

About Gregory

Gregory Shervanick lives in southern New Mexico and is a proud parent of Kara, who graduated from Trinity in 2013 and in May 2016 completed a Master of Environmental Management in Coastal Management degree from Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment & Marine Lab. She now lives in Washington D.C. and works to save the oceans and its animals at Oceana.