Kids These Days: Rachael Burke ‘15 is Making a Name for Herself on the Comedy Scene

Kids These Days: Rachael Burke ‘15 is Making a Name for Herself on the Comedy Scene

Comedy has always been a way of life for Rachael Burke ’15, and she began making waves in the New York City comedy scene even before graduating from Trin. In 2018 she founded Kids These Days, a sketch comedy group formed with some of NYC’s best comedians who work at The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, and more. I talked with Rachael about honing her craft, performing on NBC’s Bring the Funny, her inspirations, and how her experiences at Trin helped her uncover her ideal career.

You should call these Trinterviews! In fact, I’ll start: Thanks for having me at this Trinterview.

Where are you originally from?

The Boston area

What was your major at Trin?

Writing for film and television, minor in writing, rhetoric, and media arts. I was one credit shy of a double major in film studies and English (creative writing), but I left Trinity early to accept a job offer at “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon!” I finished up my final coursework in NYC and have since graduated from Trinity.

What are some of your favorite shows from your childhood? How have they inspired you and your work? 

“The Amanda Show” was my first example of seeing a fearless young woman performing characters, stand-up, sketches, parodies, host, and dramatically act. That show made me realize that it was possible to perform and make people laugh in multifaceted ways. I also loved “The Carol Burnett Show” as a child, so I had two great examples of what a woman could do all by herself and with excellent cast members (and friends). I also loved “I Dream of Jeannie,” “Bewitched,” and “Get Smart,” and they helped me realize that you never have to go “blue” to make the most clever comedy.

Do you have a favorite comedian or comedy movie?

I love “Airplane!” It has an exclamation mark in the title, but I would have used that punctuation anyway to talk about it. My favorite comedians are Steve Martin and Carol Burnett.

When did you first realize you could make people laugh? Was it something immediate? Or is it something you’ve had to work at?

I have a hilarious family and extended family, so making people laugh was a big part of my upbringing. I used to tell people that I was 14 years old when I was four years old, and believe me, the bit killed every time. That age is probably when I got my first taste of the performer’s high.

What inspired you to pursue comedy?

From an early age, I watched as much comedy as I could find on TV because I knew that was exactly what I wanted to do someday. My family has always encouraged my creativity from impromptu Earth, Wind, & Fire dance parties to empowering me to follow my desire to become a drummer.

How did you come up with the idea to form your own comedy troupe? And how did other Trin Alum (Nick Reichheld ’15) get involved?

I perform a lot of solo comedy, but I started Kids These Days because I wanted to learn how to be a better writer and performer through collaboration with amazing writers and performers with different perspectives than me. I also wanted to work with people who had the same intention with their comedy: to improve the quality of life of others, provide healthy escapism amidst life’s challenges, and bring more positivity and understanding of differences into the world. Initially, I just wanted to put on one show, and then see the cast members who fit together best, but the group worked so well together during the first show that it became the permanent Kids These Days. Nicholas Newell Reichheld ’15 is one of my closest friends from college, so when I was first looking to invite people to perform in the first show, I asked Nick, one of the funniest performers I have ever seen, to help out. Kids These Days magically formed after the very first show, with all of the performers from that show. Carefully choosing people with a similar intention in their comedy but with different life experiences and perspectives was the key to our early success.

Has Kids These Days Comedy had a most popular or well-attended performance? What do you think contributed to the turnout? How do you deal with just getting started and possibly encountering low attended performances?

Kids These Days group photo
Another sold-out show at the Out of Bounds Comedy Festival

Kids These Days has sold out every show in NYC and every show during our national tours, so all of our shows have been equally as popular. From my days as a member and the PR director for the Trinity College Quirks, I learned how to get booties into seats. Back at Trinity, I developed a knack for building an audience and securing opportunities including, for example, the Quirks’ first ever off-campus gig, which led to a TV appearance on NBC-CT, at a Red Sox-Blue Jays Game, and finally culminating in my ultimate goal as the PR director: a performance at the OBAMA White House. (Putting that name in caps for a reason.) Of course, with Kids These Days, it helps to have a cast of the funniest young comedians in New York City! Kids These Days has developed a loyal following as a result of our positive, unique, and diverse brands of comedic writing and performing, making it easy to sell out our shows.

What was it like learning that Kids These Days would be a part of the new international NBC show “Bring the Funny”? Was it something that just happened? Or did you have to fight for the spot? And what exactly is the troupe’s involvement in the show?

Kids These Days group performs on Bring the Funny TV show
Kids These Days perform on NBC’s “Bring the Funny” in 2019

It was so exciting for Kids These Days to learn that we would be on “Bring the Funny,” especially after only being together as a group for a year. We were one of only 40 acts selected for the show, out of thousands of international acts! The show has three categories of comedy: stand-up, sketch, and variety. We were in the sketch comedy category. On the show, we performed original material written and performed by us in front of a live audience, along with celebrity judges Kenan Thompson, Chrissy Teigen and Jeff Foxworthy, and host Amanda Seales. The final winner after 10 episodes wins $250,000. Although we didn’t win, being selected to be on the international comedy showcase show was quite an honor for such a new troupe, and we learned a great deal about comedy and got experience performing and writing for a show on a major network.

Why should ppl tune into the show?

Watching “Bring the Funny” will make people become well-versed in different types of comedy, bring more network television exposure to sketch comedy, and hopefully brighten the days of people who watch it.

Would you consider yourself a celebrity? Why/why not?

I am definitely an A-list celebrity, but somehow I still can go out in public without ever getting recognized. It hasn’t happened yet, but I know fans are just respecting my space and letting me have a semblance of a “real life.” On a more serious note, I am not an A-list celebrity and not famous, but I definitely feel special and “celeb-like” when people approach us after a Kids These Days show. I am recognized from time-to-time in New York City, but now that Kids These Days has appeared on national TV, who knows what will happen?

Do you have any performances that have been very meaningful to you? Please elaborate.

Kids These Days had a show in June, in which I performed in a sketch as an Irish mother whose baby’s first words are a hilariously operatic version of the entirety of the famous Irish tune “Danny Boy,” a sketch brilliantly written by my friend Kids These Days’ Maggie Maxwell. In the sketch, my mother character joins the baby in song, and soon, other members of Kids These Days (not even in the scene) walk on stage to join in, much to the shock and confusion of the baby’s American father. My real life parents are my biggest fans, and Kids These Days invited my REAL first-generation Irish-American father from the audience to croon “Danny Boy” onstage with the cast at the end of the sketch. It was heartwarming and hilarious to have my biggest advocate, my dad, singing a song from our Irish heritage while onstage arm-in-arm with my best friends in the comedy world. We didn’t tell my mom that my dad was going on stage, and so she sat in the audience shocked at the audacity of my dad for crashing the scene! The audience interaction added to the hilarity of the sketch.

Most memorable experience in the past 5 years:

I had an “okay” peanut butter and jelly sandwich about two years ago. Life can be wild… On a more real note, having the opportunity to perform on national TV in a comedy sketch I wrote myself featuring a song promoting women’s rights and gender equality was a beautiful feeling. It doesn’t get much better than that in terms of reaffirming my personal mission and the intent of my comedy group Kids These Days to create unique, positive comedy, bring it into people’s lives, help open minds through humor, and also to improve the quality of life of the audience.

Did you take away any gem of knowledge/advice from your time working with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show? What has that experience meant to you?

Rachael's Staff Badges from Late Night With Jimmy Fallon
Many roles at “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon”

I absorbed lessons every day from working at “The Tonight Show.” My main mantra, “work hard and be kind,” was also the mantra of everyone at the show, so I learned that it’s possible to find a workplace filled with similarly-minded, fun-loving yet hard-working people. I would also say that one should not be afraid to unleash your wildest imagination, which was definitely encouraged at “The Tonight Show.” Doing so allowed me to land jokes on the show and also to propose outlandish ideas such as Ariana Grande’s ponytail coming alive to fight crime—an idea I had initially written for myself for my own Ariana Grande impression, which was then turned into a sketch starring Jimmy Fallon and Ariana Grande herself using an anthropomorphic ponytail that did many unusual things, including stopping a purse snatcher. The Ariana sketch aired on the show and has been viewed 14 million times on YouTube and Facebook, so I was glad to see so many people across the world embrace such an out-of-the-box concept conjured up in my imagination!

What role did your Trinity College experience play in your career and passions path?

Trinity Quirks singing the National Anthem at Fenway Park
That time in 2012 when the Trinity College Quirks sang the Canadian National Anthem at Fenway Park during the Red Sox/Blue Jays Game

Being a part of The Trinity College Quirks, one of Trinity’s all-female a cappella groups, reinforced my inner knowledge that I have the capacity to do anything. The Quirks helped me to always remember that what makes you different is often your most important asset, and that being weird is not just ok, but wonderful. It also helped me to develop the core values to found Kids These Days, centered on hard work coupled with positivity, having leaders and members who treat everyone equally, value every voice, and promote the limitless imaginations of our unique cast of writers and performers in the comedy safe space that I created and we all foster together in Kids These Days.

Trinity Quirks at the White House
That time in 2013 when the Trinity College Quirks performed at the White House

What was the best piece of advice you received for life after college? And what advice would you pass along to current Bants with big dreams looking to pursue them successfully?

One memorable piece of advice that I heard during a Trinity career-development program for sophomores was: Think about what you love to do on Saturdays and then figure out how to make a career path out of that love. Whether it is volunteering, going to the movies, tutoring, writing, bird-watching, or trying out different makeup styles—how you choose to productively spend your rare free time often dictates what your path to happiness should be. Following that advice seems to be working for me. The key is to find out what that love is and to work tirelessly to excel at it because even though it will be a lot of work, the fact that it is work that you love is the key.

Also, a lesson that I read from words of wisdom from Lin-Manuel Miranda is that sometimes you have to say no to social events for a while in order to be able to focus and spend the time it takes to truly reach your greatest goals. As Casey Neistat famously stated: “Do more!” We all have the same number of hours as Beyoncé in the day, so let’s get to work.

Finally, I believe that everyone can achieve the dream they have inside (once they find it). Even if you aren’t the best musician, basketball player, stylist, or coder, you can be the best you if you do what you love. You’ll find people in the world that see and understand that. They are out there looking for you too.

Let’s Be Social

Check out Kids These Days on social media:

Follow Rachael on social media:

What I Wish I Knew: Your #TrinColl & Hartford Head Start

What I Wish I Knew: Your #TrinColl & Hartford Head Start

My first year at college was crazy, stressful, and fun. Trinity became my new home in just a matter of months. As a senior in high school, I remember the endless slew of advice from relatives, teachers, and anyone else who knew I was going to college. Sometimes, I would gladly listen. I wanted to know everything! Other times, it felt as if I was hearing the same “helpful tip” for the thousandth time. So, even if you’ve heard this before, I have some advice I’d like to share. These are things I wish I knew before coming to Trin: 

Put Yourself Out There
Students in ponchos out on a trail for Quest training
Quest leaders during a May 2019 training to prep for pre-orientation kicking off this week at Trin

Looking back, I wish I’d done some of the pre-orientation programs like rock climbing with Quest or biking around Hartford for Bantam Beginnings. Take advantage of them! These programs are a great way to meet people before everyone arrives on campus and they would’ve helped me get my footing a bit better during my first couple weeks. Orientation may seem long, but you get the opportunity to meet so many people. I wish I’d realized EVERYONE is trying to make friends. My recommendation would be to talk to AS MANY people as possible. The first few weeks are just as new and as intimidating for everyone else, so get out there!

Especially in your Dorm… 

Living in a residence hall is honestly amazing. I wish I got to know more people in my building. Although I had my wonderful roommate, I didn’t get to meet many other people besides saying a friendly “hello” at the bathroom sinks. So, go out and meet your hall buddies the first couple days because they’re the ones with whom you’ll want to have your late night study sessions, your movie nights in the common room, your spontaneous trips ice skating, and your Chick-fil-A runs.

Appreciate the Food
Bants eating dinner in Mather Hall at Trinity College
A bunch of Bants enjoying our last dinner in Mather Dining Hall before our recent break

If only I had appreciated from the beginning the luxury of having someone else cook for you. Yes, of course, everyone reaches a point when they just refuse to step into Mather Dining Hall. Luckily, there are plenty of other dining options on and off campus. Try a new restaurant! I love the empanadas from Aquí Me Quedo on Park Street. When you don’t even feel like popping off campus, we have Vernon Street food trucks that often come in on the weekends thanks to Trinity S.A.I.L. During finals, we’ll have an ice cream truck stationed by Mather that gives out FREE ice cream! I am a big fan of free food. Various Trin clubs will host food-centric events like a “Mochi Social” with the Hawaii club and “Crêpe Night” with the French club. Common hour talks usually have lunch, too, where you feed your stomach and your brain.

Make Hartford Home, But No, For Real

I wish I listened when I was told to venture off campus my first year. Go on the Downtown Friday trips with the Bantam Network because who doesn’t like free things? These trips often involve activities like celebrating Halloween at the Six Flags Fright Fest, enjoying the latest show at the Bushnell, reclining back for the newest movie at Spotlight Theater, and meeting up for a tasty dinner at some of the many nearby restaurants. On one adventure, my friends and I ended up with a big box of cannoli from Mozzicato Bakery, which was the best decision ever. They were delicious. So, use your bus pass to wander the city: tour The Mark Twain House & Museum, admire the art in the Wadsworth Atheneum (free to Trinity students, btw!), and find your favorite restaurant. Make Hartford yours!

Time Management

Budget your time! This sounds simple, but I wish I knew it would be so hard. It is certainly more difficult than it seems. Keep trying out new things until you find a balance that works for you. Here’s something to keep in mind:
Procrastination does not work in college. Believe me, studying at 4 a.m. is just not worth it. Sometimes people consider late-night studying a bragging right. When you do this EVERY time, you WILL be overwhelmed by stress. From someone who wished they realized this sooner, I recommend you carve out time in your schedule for studying and homework.

Do Something

Get involved! College is not ALL about your classes. Go out and try new things! You’ll make some of your best memories, I promise. Some of my favorites to highlight include eating pastries at high tea with the ballroom dance team and i-House, making mini gingerbread homes at the decoration party for “Lessons and Carols” in the Chapel, and exploring Montreal with the Trin French club.

Self-Care is Key
The gym in Ferris Athletic Center
The gym in Ferris Athletic Center

Most importantly, factor in some “me time” so you don’t get stressed. Whether it’s a 30-minute trip to the gym, a quiet meditation in your room, an episode on Netflix (no binge watching though), or a relaxing face mask. I found rock climbing. I finally made the time to try it out after getting TrinRec emails for the last year. The extra hour or two I took on Thursdays to rock climb turned out to be one of my favorite activities.

Experiment & Explore
Growing an algae culture in Bio class at Trin
Growing an algae culture in Bio class at Trin

It is seriously SO okay to not know what you want to study. I’d heard this advice so many times before and I thought “yeah, okay, I get it”. I didn’t. I kept pressuring myself to make a decision and have a plan. When I changed my mind for the third or fourth time, I actually ended up in a class I loved: Marine and Freshwater Botany. I had always liked biology, but only tolerated the labs. Since lab work reflects what biologists actually do, I was a little concerned that biology wasn’t for me. With this class, I finally found a lab I enjoyed. I waded in the ocean in my jeans to get a good temperature reading, walked across a bog as it started to snow, and grew a culture of bright green algae that I then identified. My advice is to take the class that sounds cool or interesting. You may end up finding what you love.

And above all else, HAVE FUN, and remember you aren’t in this alone! If you get lost or have questions, just ask a fellow Bant, we’re here to help make your transition to Trin a smooth one.

Summers on TrinColl’s Campus: What are Bants Up To?

Summers on TrinColl’s Campus: What are Bants Up To?

Every Summer here at Trin, students are always looking to take advantage of the variety of opportunities our campus has to offer. I recently toured around campus with my camera to catch some of the summertime action. Here’s a look at a handful of the Trin spaces you can find Bants during the warmer months:

Trin offers students opportunities to participate in research on and off-campus during the summer months. Bants can create independent research projects, work in close collaboration with professors from all academic departments, or join research projects conducted in collaboration with CHER and our community partners in Hartford.

New Student Orientation (NSO) is intended to assist incoming students and their families as they prepare for the goals, transitions, and expectations of college life. Trin’s NSO would not be a success without the hard work and dedication of our student orientation chairs and S.A.I.L staff. The orientation chairs lend a rich student perspective to orientation activities and are heavily involved in event planning, designing orientation gear, and training other orientation leaders. Planning has been underway all summer. Curious what is in store for TrinColl2023 in just a few short weeks? Check out the NSO schedule.

Trinfo.Café aims to “bridge the digital divide” between Trin and the surrounding neighborhoods by creating a multi-use space for city residents to access technology services. Current Bants also have the opportunity to be student-workers at Trinfo. Student workers assist with everything from teaching computer literacy courses and assisting individuals at the front desk to helping with summer programming at surrounding elementary and middle schools in the Hartford community. During the academic year, students even use the space in their classes to help community residents with useful skills like tax preparation. 

Trin’s Office of Admissions is one department that always stays busy. During the summer, you will see current Trin students giving tours to prospective students all around campus. These admissions student workers are in close collaboration with Admissions Counselor Maddy Dickey, to make sure that prospective students have a worthwhile experience during their visit to Hartford. Have you scheduled a campus tour yet? Find all the details to make a visit to campus a reality. 

After a long day, Bants often gather in the Summit Suites courtyard where they have mini cookouts, game nights, or participate in events organized by the summer resident assistants (RAs). In the midst of all of this, there is a hidden gem that peaks out at the end of the day…. Hartford SUNSETS! The Sunsets at Trin are beautiful! Students either watch the sunsets on the main quad or walk to the rocks at the end of Summit and Vernon street. These views are truly a sight to see!

Although I’ve photographed and highlighted only a few summer opportunities here, there truly is so much more you can get involved with during the summer at Trinity. Opportunities that immediately come to mind include working in the Information Technology Services (ITS) department in the library, alongside Residential Learning Community staff, or as a campus counselor for Dream Camp, just to name a few. So, what do you think? Will you consider spending your next summer here at Trin?

So, what DO alumni get up to after Trin?

So, what DO alumni get up to after Trin?

Meredith Veach ’12 was one of the first female students to graduate Trinity with a major in film studies, and since her graduation, she has relocated to Los Angeles and currently works in the film industry. Her most recent project is a romantic comedy entitled THRE3BOUND. The indie film, which she edited and color-corrected, premiered at the SOHO International Film Festival in NYC on June 21. Veach was present for the screening, and she shared her favorite moments with us in a photo journal.

Let’s Be Social!
You can follow Meredith on Instagram and Twitter: @rarerarefind to discover what else she gets up to in LA, & if you are curious about pursuing a film degree at Trin, dive into what our Film Studies program offers.

Giovanni Jones ’21

Giovanni Jones ’21

Hello everyone, my name is Giovanni Jones ’21, and I’m currently majoring in sociology with a minor in legal studies. During my time here at Trinity, I have been an active member of the Men of Color Alliance (MOCA), the Office of Student Activities, Involvement & Leadership (S.A.I.L.), Budget Committee, Multicultural Affairs Council (MAC), and I’m currently a member of the Obama Foundation Community Leadership Corps. I am also a photographer! I enjoy capturing precious moments and bringing my visions to life.

I’m super excited to share my experiences and everything Trinity has to offer, through the lens of my camera.

Favorite TV Shows: Power, Breaking Bad, The Chi, Insecure, and Our Planet
Favorite Food: Avocado
Let’s Be Social: @Gio.Vision & @Gio_Bwoy
Favorite Place on Campus: It’s a Secret ?
Favorite Dance: The “WOAH”

A Seat at the Table: Brooke LePage Celebrates & Builds on 50 years of Coeducation at Trin

A Seat at the Table: Brooke LePage Celebrates & Builds on 50 years of Coeducation at Trin

AXO national convention in Austin, Texas. 2018

Over the short time I’ve gotten to know Brooke LePage ’19, I’ve seen her serendipitous smile shine, her personality promulgate positivity, and her mind mitigate any malevolence. Brooke is passionate about women’s rights, education, and advocacy, even working as part of a student group focused on addressing sexual misconduct, which looked at the college’s Title IX policies and made sure that they were accessible for ALL students. Brooke is a busy woman, involved with many organizations and playing integral roles in establishing or improving them.

NEED TO KNOWS:
Born in Minnesota. Lives in Franklin, MA 
MAJOR ~ Public Policy major with concentrations in education policy and law & society
SOCIETIES/ORGANIZATIONS ~ Apha Chi Omega, SoMA (Social Media Associate)

I like to be busy and the more that I got involved at Trin, the more that I felt a part of the overall community and like I was making a positive impact on that community.

Brooke’s conviction to lead and get involved comes from her constant motivation to seek out solutions to the problems she encounters.

The times I’ve been inspired to get involved and try and make experiences better or easier for other students have occurred after seeing or experiencing things that I didn’t like, or had a hard time going through myself.

Hartford Women’s March. 2019

Brooke has always tried to stand up for what’s right, but you cannot fight every battle alone. I believe that college is supposed to teach us how to intellectually engage with the world around us by allowing us to use the skills we’ve learned to stand for what we believe in. Without the support of our institution, we will likely fall short of our goals. So, I asked Brooke: Do you feel like Trinity has supported you in standing for what’s right and what you believe in?

Definitely, in a lot of different ways too. Professor Adrienne Fulco, Associate Professor of Legal and Policy Studies at Trin, has been one of my greatest inspirations and biggest advocates on campus. She’s instilled a lot of important values in me. Her support and guidance alone have really allowed and encouraged me to pursue the types of study that I’m passionate about. I think my thesis is a great contribution to this point. When I was a part of the “Addressing Sexual Misconduct” student group working to address sexual misconduct at higher ed institutions, I really felt like I was being supported by the institution and really making an impact on Trinity’s campus. And I felt the same way when I was chapter president of Alpha Chi Omega.

And she’s right! Brooke’s thesis is powerful and a great contribution to what she strove to do at Trinity. So what was her thesis work about?

My thesis on Title IX in the age of President Trump was inspired by a course I took with Professor Fulco my sophomore year entitled “Title IX: Changing Campus Culture.” The course really opened my eyes to gender inequity in higher education and the role that sexual assault and sexual harassment can sometimes play in that space. It was a really rewarding project for me, not only because it was a capstone of all of the skills that I’ve learned in my public policy courses, but also it was a huge passion project for me. I think if you read the piece, it’s clear that I tried to be unbiased in my methodology portions, but I think you can see my feminist undertones throughout the project. I consider it my little way of contributing to literature and trying to empower women. So, it was a super rewarding project for me.

TENACITY

Currently, Trinity is celebrating 50 years of coeducation, and while Brooke notes that many of her predecessors did not always have the opportunities to advocate for women’s rights in the same way that she does today, she feels fortunate and excited to see all the progress over the years and moving forward.

We have a lot of women in leadership roles on campus, and we have a female president of the college. Those things are really important. But, I think there are definitely ways that the college can continue to improve gender equity on campus in the future. For example, working to ensure that more programs are inclusive, and that there are balanced representation of genders in classes and on campus overall.

A recent accomplishment I can think of was the addition of three new sororities on campus. Prior to that, there were only two sororities on campus and a lot more fraternities. It’s really important for there to be outlets, greek-based or otherwise, where women can gather together and empower one another.

PATIENCE

As a graduating senior, I wanted Brooke to reflect a little. I asked her If she could go back in time to tell high school Brooke something, what advice would she give herself for college?

I think I would tell myself that everything is going to work out. All of the internships I’ve had, the opportunities I’ve applied for, in one way or another, they’ve all worked out in the end. I think I would tell myself not to stress about it because things will happen the way they are supposed to happen at the time they’re supposed to happen.

Although hindsight, that kind of patience for the process and trusting in your work ethic, passions, and ability to grow are paramount in easing your worries about the future.

AUTHENTICITY

Brooke also went on to talk about the importance of authenticity.

I think something I didn’t know when I was a freshman but have learned since being at Trinity, is just how important it is to be yourself. I would want to tell my freshman self to just stay true to herself and always be real.

It’s good to be different. It’s cool to be different and important to just be yourself.
And that’s exactly what Brooke has done over the past four years.
The lessons Brooke learned while being herself at Trinity have helped her to get the most out of her college experience. Learning how to form ideas, testing them intellectually, and taking risks.

REMINISCE

Reflecting on her favorite moments as a member of Alpha Chi Omega, Brooke recalls that the little things can make a big impact.

There’s so many opportunities on campus for anyone to support and empower women, whether it be big or small.

And I definitely agree. It’s the small things that add up for EVERYONE. Sometimes it’s as simple as saying “hi” to somebody—asking them how their day was.

I think people forget that a lot. I think people assume that they’re not doing enough if they’re not making these big monumental changes, but people forget how much of an impact individual interactions have on other people, and just how much their presence alone can positively benefit the people around them.

LOOKING FORWARD

Brooke is now more focused on growth than ever before. She knows she’s working her way to grabbing herself a “seat at the table,” so to speak. So I asked her: As someone that’s graduating this week, how do you feel looking forward to life after Trin? How will you continue to empower yourself as a female in your industry?

I think something that I’ve been reminding myself is that your first job isn’t necessarily your last or your greatest job—it’s the first step on your journey. That doesn’t mean that your first job is unimportant, but it just means that it’s one of the many steps that you’re going to be taking to achieve your goals and your dreams. All those steps matter.

One of the biggest critiques of millennials and our generation is that we’re too focused on trying to be the “number one” person that’s in charge, or that we always overlook the small things that matter.

I think there’s something to be said for appreciating the process, or for being happy and grateful for where you are and the steps that you’re taking towards achieving your goals—even if you’re not there yet.

Before wrapping up my interview, I really wanted to ask Brooke what her dream job looks like—hopefully getting her to dream without any boundaries.

I’ve learned that the policy areas that I really care about are education and women’s advocacy. So, basically, any opportunities that allow me to become an expert in one or both of those two policy areas, I’d be happy with.

I would REALLY love to be an expert on women’s advocacy or education policy in the White House. I envision myself as an advisor to a future president that I really believe in and feel honored to work for. All I’ve ever wanted to do is be an advocate for people who can’t necessarily advocate for themselves, and I’d love to make positive changes and contributions to society overall.

You can hear what else Brooke has to say, and the wisdom she’ll leave with the Class of 2019 during her student speech at Trinity’s 193rd Commencement ceremony on May 19, 2019. Be sure to follow along with commencement festivities on social media @TrinityCollege and use #TrinGrad to join the conversation.

Wrestling Challenges to the Ground & Excelling at Trin

Wrestling Challenges to the Ground & Excelling at Trin

Senior Grant Sorensen ’19 is a student-athlete on Trinity’s campus who has excelled both academically and athletically. Hailing from Moore,OK, Grant is a co-captain on the wrestling team and majored in English literature. Want to get to know Grant even better before he embarks on his life after Trin? I sat down with Grant to learn a little more about his academic and athletic pursuits, as well as his aspirations for the future.

Grant came to Trin from a private high school in Oklahoma City where he wrestled and figured out early on that in the future he would like to continue his wrestling career. He was also interested in going to an academically prestigious and challenging school, so, when Trinity College made it onto his list of prospective schools, his college counselor also highly recommended looking into Trinity because she and her husband were graduates of NESCAC schools.

Being a student-athlete has been essential to my Trinity experience because it has essentially BEEN my Trinity experience. The effort to balance academics and sports has been a large part of my time here at Trinity. It has required a lot of work, but also been incredibly rewarding,

Sorensen accepting the Robert R. Bartlett Award along side Trinity’s head wrestling coach Marques Gales

he said. While in season, Grant brings passion and attitude and trains accordingly—equal amounts of intensity and competitive energy. His dedication and strong work ethic to his team and to his academics has awarded him three times Academic All-American. He was also a 2018 NCAA qualifier, and two-time Regional place winner. Most recently, Grant was honored as the male recipient of the Robert R. Bartlett Award, given annually by the athletic department during Trin’s annual Senior Athletic Awards Ceremony.

It hasn’t always been easy maintaining a healthy balance, as Grant explained,

I don’t know if you could even call it balanced, as I probably got a lot less sleep than I should have these past four years, but I wouldn’t change a thing. It is the challenges and difficulties, which I have loved these past four years.

A valuable piece of advice that Trinity’s head wrestling coach, Marques Gales, gave Grant directly relates to what he has been able to accomplish as a student-athlete, “Control what you can: 1.) Attitude 2.) Effort.”

Outside of the normal work/life balance, Grant’s biggest challenge came freshman year, when he came to Trin fresh off of a knee injury, and then again at the end of this past year, when he experienced another knee injury. It wasn’t ideal, but along with his coaches, they made the most educated decisions they could at the time and did the best they could given the situation.

Looking towards the future, he said,

wrestling has shaped who I am and will influence who I am going to be. I find that the accountability, pressure, and the feelings of both pain and happiness are unique in wrestling compared to other general athletic experiences.

His biggest piece of advice for incoming freshmen student-athletes is to have fun, grow close to your teammates despite minor differences, and the job search comes faster than you might think!

“Grant has been a pleasure to coach for the past four years and has been a model student-athlete here at Trinity,” coach Gales. “He is extremely dedicated; a great role model for his peers, and has also been very active in the community. He is the type of person to make everyone around him a greater version of themselves and he will continue to do great things in life after Trinity.”

And, as Grant reflects on those four years in college, and as he prepares for graduation, his proudest moment has been being able to see some of his teammates have their greatest performances at the end of their careers. As wrestling team captain, he has found that he has developed a strong ability to talk to and connect with teammates and coaches. He now better understands the elements, which are essential to creating a successful team. Most importantly, as a captain and a teammate,

I have taken away newfound brothers who will continually be some of my closest friends for the rest of my life.

Let’s be social: @trinity_wrestle

Cinematic Moments @ Trin & Beyond

Cinematic Moments @ Trin & Beyond

Kyra Lyons ’20 always seemed to have a passion for capturing the moment. Her involvement on campus at Cinestudio and with Trinity Film Festival only corroborate this.

This past fall, I was lucky enough to witness her capturing her own cinematic moments and basking in Italian cinema, red Beret and all.

I recently reached out to Kyra to discuss the upcoming annual Trinity Film Festival on May 4 at 5 p.m. (EST).

What movie(s) have you seen the most?

Hmm, that’s tough. The most? I would always watch movies like Funny Face, Spirit, and Back to the Future with my siblings in the backseat on a family road trip—definitely Lyons family classics.

What new movies are you most excited to watch?

This is also a tough question. I love going in blind, just waiting to see what’s out and then choosing randomly… But, I’m looking forward to Booksmart with Beanie Feldstein, that looks right up my alley.

What’s the best part about working at Cinestudio and being involved in Trinity Film Festival?

It’s amazing to say I play a part in preserving and celebrating the art of cinema. Whether it’s by volunteering at Cinestudio or putting together Trinity Film Festival programming, it’s amazing to meet individuals who are just as passionate about creating & celebrating film as you are.

Why are you passionate about film?

While absorbing a film, we are transported into another life and must work to empathize and understand the world created by the film. There is a unique appeal to film as an artistic medium, as the visuals allow us to see through another’s eyes. After a truly moving film, I often find myself looking at my surroundings with fresh eyes, as if the filmmaker has climbed into my brain to use my eyes as their camera. I evaluate my relationships in different ways; I interact with the world in more meaningful ways. I think Trinity’s film studies head, Prakash Younger, sums it up best when he says:

“By taking advantage of the access films provide to the experience of other times, places, cultures, and sensibilities we enhance our ability to connect with the world we live in today; unlikely as it may seem, a French film from the 1930s or a Bollywood film from the 1970s may turn out to be the ‘message in a bottle’ we have been waiting for, the magic lens that brings certain facts and possibilities of the present into sharp focus.”

I am passionate about film because it has proven to be a truly world-changing medium, enhancing viewers’ day-to-day sensibilities and encouraging empathy in the most subtle and touching ways.

What is Cinestudio?

Cinestudio is a classic movie palace located in the heart of Trinity College’s campus. It’s a not-for-profit independent film theater with a magnificent single-screen venue, 485 seats, and a much-loved balcony. Built in 1935, Cinestudio stands to this day as one of the most highly regarded art house cinemas in the country. From documentaries to live ballets to Oscar-nominated films, Cinestudio’s stunning variety of showings has something for everyone (and the theater just debuted a gorgeous new sign!).

For those who don’t know, tell us more about Trinity Film Festival?

Founded in 2012, Trinity Film Festival (TFF) is a national platform for undergraduate filmmakers. TFF aims to provide a celebratory evening of cinematic dialogue that enables student filmmakers to premiere their short films on the big screen, engage other student filmmakers, meet industry professionals, and win cash prizes. It is an annual event hosted at Cinestudio, this year’s event will be held on May 4 at 5 p.m.

Guests dress to impress for the red carpet, enjoy celebrated undergraduate short films, and attend an Oscars-style awards ceremony following the screening. In past years, I have served as an Event Coordinator and Submissions Coordinator on the TFF student team, and I now serve as the Senior Content Director. It is always extremely fulfilling to help provide undergraduate filmmakers with a glamorous evening celebrating the art of cinema.

Have you shot any films yourself?

I have been very fortunate to learn all about the art of filmmaking and cinema during my time at Trinity as a film major. Through my studies, I have written and directed two of my own short films as well as aided on several of my classmates’ films. Using what I’ve learned at Trin, I have been able to produce films on my own time, from writing & directing a film in my hometown of Waukegan, IL to producing/shooting/editing a documentary of cinema activists while studying abroad in Rome, Italy.

 

How can students who are interested in film get involved with TFF?

Trinity Film Festival is proudly run by an extremely hard-working student team and is of course made possible by the student filmmakers around the world who submit and showcase their films at the festival. Student involvement is key in making TFF what it is–to anyone who is curious about getting involved, I highly encourage them (and all their friends) to attend this year’s festival on May 4 at 5 p.m. at Cinestudio (and then be on the lookout for applications when next year’s student team is assembled!).

To learn more about TFF and how to get involved in the future, visit: www.trinfilmfestival.org