‘There are endless opportunities’: Public speaking passion pushes ASU grad forward


May 24, 2022

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2022 graduates.

For many people, public speaking is something that often elicits a slew of negative emotions. But not for Trinity Winton — a recent second-time Arizona State University graduate. Portrait of ASU grad Trinity Winton. This spring, Trinity Winton graduated from New College with a master's degree in communication studies. Download Full Image

“I'm one of those rare people that absolutely adores public speaking, and being able to polish my craft has really helped me flourish in college,” Winton said in a 2019 interview, when she was recognized as the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Science’s Outstanding Undergraduate.

After completing her bachelor’s degree in communication with a minor in public relations and strategic communications in 2019, Winton continued to hone her public speaking skills at New College in the communication studies master’s degree program.

Winton was closely involved with CommLabASU and worked her way up from undergraduate mentor to graduate student coordinator. In these roles, she explored a number of opportunities, including working with students, creating and delivering lessons and co-hosting a podcast. She also served as a student writer with ASU Project Cities, where she completed two reports analyzing risk communication practices with the City of Peoria and affordable housing with the Town of Clarkdale. 

In addition, Winton completed an applied project with Assistant Professor Nicole Lee, where she conducted a communication audit for the Washington Elementary School District. Through her research, she provided the district with evidence-based recommendations on how to improve their stakeholder communication practices.

As the first in her family to graduate with both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree, Winton said this moment is especially significant.

“This degree means the absolute world to me and my family,” she said. “What's really important is that while this degree means a lot to them, I want them to know how much their support means to me, and this degree was a team effort. It wasn't just me; it was everyone around me.”

Here, Winton shares more about her experiences at ASU and what’s next for her.

Question: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study communication?

Answer: My decision to study communication at both the undergraduate level and the graduate level really came down to childhood dreams. I never could stick with one thing; I always wanted to do everything. When I finally sat down to apply for college and then apply for a master's degree, I still had that thought in my head, and a communication studies degree allows me to go anywhere, help anyone, do anything and achieve my childhood dream. 

Q: What’s something you learned while at New College — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

A: Something I learned at New College throughout the duration of my degree was the concept of intrapersonal communication — or communication with yourself. I never really thought about what I say to myself and how I propel myself to do my best every single day. In learning that concept, I learned how to talk better to myself and remind myself I can do this, I can achieve this, I can go to graduate school and I can make my dreams come true.

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?

A: One of the most meaningful and surprising lessons I learned while I was at New College came from Professor Michael Walker. He told me at any point in your life, you are allowed to say no if you can't handle something. It's OK to take a step back and say, “No, I don't think I can handle this right now.” Hearing that might sound silly, but it's really meaningful to have the power in college to say no.

Q: What was your favorite place or spot on the West campus for studying or meeting friends?

A: My favorite spot on campus is definitely CommLabASU. I have been there for all of the time that I’ve been at New College and I've always found that when I want someone to talk to, when I’m having a bad day or when I'm having a good day and I want to share good news — that's always where I ended up. The moment I toured the West campus, I knew it was for me. The calm vibe of the campus really just spoke to me. 

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: My best piece of advice for those who are still in school is if you don't have everything figured out or if you don't know exactly what you want to do after you graduate — that's OK. Keep exploring and keep learning. You don't have to be confined to your degree. If something captures your interest, explore it. If I could tell them anything, it would be to go for it. Do what makes you happy and explore relationships and find meaning within your degree.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I always say there are endless opportunities, and I'm ready for them. Whatever comes my way and excites me, I'm ready to hop on it. Through my fondness of public speaking, I have the confidence and motivation to meaningfully communicate my personal message as well my organization’s message. Public speaking allows me to competently share all the wonderful things my organization accomplishes and what we hope to accomplish in the future. During my time at New College, I discovered that I have strong attention to detail and a knack for administrative work. Because of this, I was led to a wonderful position I currently have with ASU’s School of Life Sciences as a graduate recruitment program coordinator.

Emily Balli

Multimedia specialist, New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences

Where are they now? Alumna applies valuable lessons from ASU to her work as an attorney


May 25, 2022

Carolina Lopez, a triple-alumna of Arizona State University, said she learned valuable lessons as a student that inform her work as an attorney.

Lopez currently is an assistant attorney general for the state of Arizona Attorney General's Office in the Child and Family Protection Division. Portrait of ASU alum Carolina Lopez. Carolina Lopez is a triple-alumna with a bachelor's degree in journalism, a master's degree in mass communication and a juris doctorate from ASU. Download Full Image

She graduated from ASU three times, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in mass communication in 2015, both from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Her bachelor’s degree came with honors from Barrett, The Honors College at ASU. In 2019, Lopez graduated with a juris doctorate from the ASU Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law.

“While I was at ASU and Barrett, I was building great soft skills, and these ultimately helped me succeed in law school. These skills still serve me today as an attorney,” Lopez said.

“I learned the importance of engaging in your passions, getting involved with your community and building great relationships,” Lopez saod. “I learned to take an active role in my education by asking questions, meeting with professors, meeting with counselors and seeking out opportunities, not just for myself, but for others, too.”

While an undergraduate, Lopez worked for Barrett Honors College and completed a variety of internships, including with Arizona Public Service and Allstate insurance company. Prior to attending law school, she worked for the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. While a law student, she was a teaching assistant and research assistant, a legal extern for the American Civil Liberties Union and an intern for a judge in the United States Court of Appeals in the Ninth Circuit and a judge in the U.S. District Court of Arizona.

Before joining the state Attorney General’s Office, Lopez worked as an associate attorney at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP and as a Maricopa County deputy public defender.

She serves as a board member for the Pipeline Committee of Los Abogados Hispanic Bar Association and as the District 4 representative of the State Bar of Arizona Young Lawyers Division. She previously served as a member of the city of Phoenix Youth and Education Commission.

“It was my Barrett supervisor that connected me to people in the legal community and wrote my letter of recommendation for law school,” Lopez said. “While in law school, I remained involved with student and community organizations, and this helped me on my career path.”

We asked Lopez to reflect on her time at ASU. Here is what she had to say.

Question: What drew you to ASU and Barrett, The Honors College?

Answer: What drew me to Barrett was the smaller community support it provided. When you're part of such a large university like ASU, it can be difficult to navigate and understand all the available resources. The Barrett staff was always so helpful and supportive of students, and that drew me in.

Q: Looking back on your time at ASU and in Barrett, what is your favorite memory?

A: My favorite memory from Barrett was living on campus with my Barrett cohort in the ASU downtown (campus) dorms, and attending all the community events. Specifically, the downtown Barrett staff organized a trolley ride tour to all the local businesses and art galleries downtown. The staff organized other events throughout the years, and it was so valuable getting to know everyone and immersing myself in the community, especially as a first-generation college student. Within our Barrett cohort, we were supportive of one another, and that made a big difference in my experience.

Q: If you were to give one piece of advice to current and future ASU students, what would that advice be?

A: Remember that you are here to make friends, and it's so important to build community. In one of my freshman year classes, I overheard a student say, "I'm not here to make friends." I don't think things worked out as brilliantly as they could have for that person. And don't be afraid to reach out to people. More often than not, people are willing to help.

Story written by Alex Marie Solomon, a Barrett, The Honors College student majoring in communication.