Senior Cecelia Turkewitz has maintained a commitment to social justice

Student spotlight: Turkewitz’s project involvements have been wide-ranging during her undergraduate career

Senior sociology major and economics minor Cecelia Turkewitz is no stranger to community engagement. From spearheading the Clothesline Project to serving on the Trinity Roots Commission, Turkewitz has always managed to stay involved in current events.

Now in her last semester of undergrad, Turkewitz is set to graduate in May. She reflects on her time as president of the Trinity University Coalition for Sexual Justice. Turkewitz was president during her sophomore year.

“We revived the Coalition for Sexual Justice along with Dean Tuttle and organizers from the Rape Crisis Center. [We] held monthly meetings, where people could come and learn more about Trinity’s sexual assault process,” Turkewitz said.

The senior also had involvement in putting together this semester’s Title IX training.

“The other leaders and I went to all of the Title IX presentations to give feedback and we now have our fantastic coordinator who we worked directly with to figure what was and wasn’t working,” said Turkewitz.

Apart from her involvement in sexual justice work on campus, Turkewitz has also served as a research assistant on the Trinity Roots Commission.

“My academic advisor, Dr. [Sarah Beth] Kaufman, reached out to me about the internship,” Turkewitz said. “I jumped at the opportunity, I was so excited. I admire her and the work that she does, so any chance to learn from her was definitely something I wanted to do.”

The internship took place during the summer of 2020. The Roots Commission “ensures we are stewards of a stronger future by creating the opportunity for difficult-but-important dialogue,” according to Trinity’s website.

The team worked to uncover and analyze the university’s ties to slavery.

“[It was about] uncovering the common misconceptions that Trinity doesn’t have any of these ties,” Turkewitz said.

Although these ties have not previously been explored, students like Turkewitz are working to make this information more accessible to the San Antonio community at large.

“It was a university sponsored project, so there have been a bunch of articles written about it,” Turkewitz said. “They’re also working on a few classes to do with it and the legacy of storytelling and Trinity, so I think it will become a lot more common knowledge.”

Turkewitz describes her involvement with the project stemming from a desire to bring awareness to previously unearthed information about Trinity’s history.

“I feel like it’s really important to understand our connections to the past and our wrongs that our university, a living, breathing thing, has committed,” Turkewitz said. “The Trinity motto says ‘learn, grow become,’ so I think if we can learn from our history, we can stop making mistakes and better ourselves.”

Aside from being heavily involved on campus, Turkewitz has also had opportunities off campus, including an internship at the Federal Public Defender’s Office.

“I was able to use my resources within the Trinity community to get an internship at the Federal Public Defender’s office, so I had a fantastic time getting to know members of the community and people within Trinity,” Turkewitz said.

This semester, the soon-to-be graduate is working on a project with professor of sociology and anthropology Amy Stone. The project is titled, “San Antonio Strengthening Colors of Pride.”

“Right now, I’m helping edit a paper that thinks about resilience and community and the ways that they intersect,” said Turkewitz.

Turkewitz believes that her involvement at Trinity has helped shape the person she has evolved into.

“I now know what I won’t compromise on and what parts of my personality I will stand for and what I’ll protect,” Turkewitz said. “I feel like Trinity is a really great place to build your own community and become the person you want to become, so that’s been really meaningful for my time at Trinity.”