Cynthia Mena began as program manager at Trinfo Cafe and the Office of Community Relations in November 2020. Trinfo’s student social media specialist Wendy Salto ’22 interviewed Cynthia to get to know more about her and her new role.
Tell us about yourself. Where are you from? Where did you work before starting at Trinfo?
I grew up in New Britain, CT and attended Central Connecticut State University (CCSU). After receiving my B.A. in Sociology, I enrolled into the Counselor Education master’s program where I specialize in student development in higher education. I am in the last year of my program so I will be graduating in Spring 2021. During undergrad at CCSU I worked for the Office of Diversity & Equity. Most recently I was the Graduate Intern for the Office of Community Engagement where I worked for a little over two years. Aside from community outreach, one of my main responsibilities was acting as the liaison for CCSU’s STEM-focused dual enrollment partnership with the Capital Region Education Council (CREC) high schools.
What are your interests and passions?
I have a wide range of interests. I love podcasts and audiobooks. Most recently my favorite podcasts are “hey, girl,” “Ted Talks Daily,” and “Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations.” I enjoy listening to podcasts on my drive to work in the mornings or while I am cooking. In addition, I started listening to “It Didn’t Start with You” by Mark Wolynn on audible. It is a book on how we are shaped by generational trauma. I highly recommend it! I’ve also gotten interested in fitness over the last couple of years. I love weight training and HIIT workouts in particular. Training has improved my overall mood and self-confidence and it gives me the opportunity to challenge myself every day.
Tell us about your work at Trinfo and in Hartford. What does a day in the life look like for you?
I just started my position as the Program Manager for Trinfo.Cafe and the Office of Community Relations in November 2020, so I am still in the beginning phases of my transition. At Trinfo.Cafe, I supervise a staff of student workers. In a typical year, they would be planning cool events, providing literacy classes to adults, and hosting after-school programs for youth. All of our in person events and community resources have been put on hold, but our students are working on ways to provide outreach to our neighbors through online platforms.
My role for the Office of Community Relations is a bit different. I represent Trinity College at the Frog Hollow and Southwest/Behind the Rocks Neighborhood Revitalization Zone, and Maple Avenue Revitalization Group meetings. I keep the community informed about the happenings at Trinity and vice versa. For example, during this time I keep the community informed about the College’s alert levels and procedures regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Do you have any projects you’d like to execute this year?
I have a few projects in the works. I am most excited about working with our student staff to find creative ways to host events online. In addition, we are working on developing a curriculum that would help families who work/learn remotely and families who struggle helping their children with online learning. It’s still in the early stages, but we have a couple of brilliant student staff members who are spearheading the project, so I am excited about guiding them through this process!
I am super excited about this new role. I have been learning so much since I started. I am looking forward to building relationships with both our student staff and the community.