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