The Pedro Family
By Kathy Andrews
As many Trinity students and alumni can attest, the lens of ‘Trinity as a family tradition’ adds layers of personal meaning—both unique and shared—when reflecting on one’s college experience. Each family’s Trinity remembrances contribute to the depth of the school’s communal story over time. Here is one story in a series about Trinity families.
Consuelo Pedro ’15, Elena-Marie Pedro ’17, and Anneliese Pedro ’20, who hail from Trinidad and Tobago in the southern Caribbean, all majored in the sciences at Trinity. They consider their participation in the Interdisciplinary Science Program (ISP) to have been a foundational college experience, one that opened their eyes to the many connections between scientific disciplines and the world, and the important role science plays in society.
They credit their parents, who enrolled them in a Trinidadian primary school affiliated with a university, for endowing them at a young age with a liberal arts and community service mindset. Their mother, a school guidance counselor, and their father, an information technology professional and musician, sought an interdisciplinary, holistic education for their daughters. “They started our education this way and we really enjoyed and thrived under that approach, and we continued it at Trinity,” said Elena-Marie.
Consuelo, a recipient of the Andrew S. Terhune ’78 Scholarship, came to Trinity with a dream: to become a doctor of physical therapy. The ISP program and Trinity’s Hartford location—near hospitals where she could seek hands-on experience—were factors that drew her to the College. She declared a neuroscience major after she became fascinated by research on memory and traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the lab of Sarah Raskin, Charles A. Dana Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience.
In the lab, Consuelo led cognitive remediation sessions for individuals from the community with TBI. Other memorable activities included helping design a science syllabus for Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy students, mentoring local teens in a Girl Scouts program, and serving as a physical therapy volunteer at a local hospital. Upon earning her degree with honors, she remained at Trinity two years as a Trinsition Fellow in the Bantam Network mentoring program. She realized that mentoring first-year students making the transition to college life was not unlike working with physical therapy patients. “In both cases, if you do your job well, you’ve helped someone gain independence and they no longer need you.”
During the commemoration of Trinity’s 50th anniversary of coeducation in 2019, Consuelo was recognized as one of 50 women who will help advance Trinity and have a lasting impact on the College’s future. Professionally, Consuelo has achieved her long-held dream, as she was awarded her doctor of physical therapy degree from New York University in 2021 and has embarked on her career. In February, she was pleased to collaborate with a Trinity classmate, Michael Cyr ’15, also a doctor of physical therapy, who traveled from Maine to Trinidad to complete a community service project organized by Consuelo at two organizations that serve seniors, where she regularly volunteers.
When Elena-Marie was considering colleges to apply to, she was not interested in following in Consuelo’s footsteps—she wanted to forge her own path. But as she sought schools offering the programs she considered important in a college—especially strong in chemistry, arts, and music—she saw Trinity rise to the top of her list after all. “I always wanted to go to a school that would allow me to explore all sides of myself and Trinity allowed me to do that.”
Effusive with praise for her professors, Elena-Marie said of the director of Trinity’s Center for Interdisciplinary Science, “Alison Draper changed my life.” And of doing research with Tim Curran, Vernon K. Krieble Professor of Chemistry, she said, “Through him, I found my love for organic chemistry—and in my sophomore year, I was a published science author!” Other highlights include presenting at a national American Chemical Society meeting, receiving the American Institute of Chemists Award, and singing at Catholic mass services in the Trinity College Chapel. She also was a frequent panelist for discussions with younger students about studying a STEM discipline. “I understood I had a voice to really encourage other young women of color to study STEM,” said Elena-Marie, who graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in chemistry, with honors.
Since 2019, Elena-Marie has worked in the wine and spirits industry in quality control and assurance for Angostura, finding ways to bring her creative talents into play by volunteering for projects in the company’s marketing and new product development departments. “I like to learn and cross-train—I’m able to use more of myself in a way that really fires me up,” she said.
Anneliese, who, in addition to science, pursued dance at Trinity, said her favorite course was one in developmental neuroscience, taught by Molly Helt, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience. “I really enjoyed learning about the brain’s development throughout the entire life span. It made me want to learn more about people and the way they think.”
Lessons from that course continually spring to mind as Anneliese navigates jobs since graduating with a neuroscience degree. In a position with a start-up flower company, she created ads tailored to the company’s target audience. “I enjoyed creating art to match those people we were trying to reach.” And, during two years of teaching science to middle school students at a charter school in East Harlem, New York—including by Zoom during the COVID-19 pandemic—Anneliese said that, of course, she used a lot of her science abilities. “But I also used my creativity in finding fun ways to get them to learn and retain that information.”
Anneliese’s Trinity experiences included serving as a teaching assistant in the Psychology Department and as an intern at Hartford’s Old State House; and volunteering with Autism Families Connecticut, the Wadsworth Atheneum, and the Tech Savvy conference for girls.
Her artwork recently was featured in “Reborn,” a Trinidadian gallery’s exhibition of work created during the pandemic. She also began a new job in February 2023, as a health education and health promotion associate with the Health Education Division of the Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Health. Among her duties, she writes and creates visuals for publications and does outreach at community events, educating the public about illnesses and food safety, and encouraging people to lead healthy lives.
One of the sisters’ favorite shared Trinity memories is their involvement in the Caribbean Students’ Association Fashion Show. The show was unique, they said, because it succeeded in drawing students from all academic majors and social groups, and from all backgrounds, to participate. The event united those involved in a joyful evening of music, creativity, and fashion. Consuelo, who volunteered backstage doing makeup for models, enjoyed recruiting students to participate in the show, introducing herself to new people in the process. “I would see people on the Long Walk who had attitude and spunk and ask if they wanted to model,” she said.
When Elena-Marie became involved in behind-the-scenes preparation for the show, she enlisted fellow art students to join in, to help paint show participants with glow-in-the-dark paint to take part in a dramatic opening segment of the event. Anneliese became engaged in the fashion show, too, both as a runway model and by recruiting other student models.
“We know inclusivity is one of the great strengths of our Caribbean multicultural identity,” said Consuelo. “We look back on the fashion show as a significant Trinity event. For us, it was our Trinidadian sisters’ tradition of promoting unity, creating a bridge for people from all walks of life, and making a positive impact on campus culture.”
Share Your Own Trinity Story
All Trinity families—and all individual members of the Trinity community—are encouraged to share their own stories via the 200 Stories communal storytelling project.
Header photo: Consuelo, Elena-Marie, and Anneliese Pedro at Mille Fleurs, the headquarters of the National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago. Photo by Bakhita Johnston.