Senior Gino Mastandrea is an Exercise Science major with an emphasis in Kinesiology. Mastandrea is on the TIU football team but he also interns at Illinois Bone and Joint Institute and serves with Carmel Catholic High School.
The freedom to serve Christ openly at a Christian school drew Mastandrea in.
"My favorite part of TIU is that it is Christian-based. Having the ability to pray before or after class and learning more about our Savior is what really matters to me. This is the biggest reason I chose to come to Trinity, in addition to the football team."
Mastandrea sustained an injury his first year on campus and finally got the chance to return to the field for his senior year. The wait and struggle was challenging but Mastandrea was surrounded by people who cared for him and helped him through it.
"This was possible because of my lovely wife, Vanessa, and the coaching staff. The head coach, Lamont Butler, not only helped me grow as a player, but as a young man. He continues to help the football program gain a better relationship with Christ while being a great friend to us as well."
This final year has proved injury-free and has allowed Mastandrea to serve his team through mentoring younger players in their walk with Christ.
"Being a part of this team, building relationships with the guys, and helping younger players better their lives with Christ have been some of the best things I’ve done here at TIU."
The TIU football team has played a big part in Mastandrea's time at TIU, but his marriage has been a stronghold for him. College comes with many challenges and having a built-in friend and study buddy was matchless for Mastandrea.
"Vanessa and I got married right before we came to Trinity and she has truly made my life easier. She has put up with my complaining, helped me pass tests, and study for my labs. I know a lot of individuals struggle with being in college, but God blessed me with a wife to help me through the whole process. "
Senior Jodi Rhines is a Relational Communication major. She has led the Women's Ministry Council (WMC) at Trinity for 2 years, but served with them for 3. Rhines is also a part of the Communication Honors Society, Lambda Pi Eta, and she works as a barista at Newport Coffee.
As part of WMC, building relationships has played a key part in Rhines' time at TIU.
“A lot of my most meaningful memories were formed around being a part of the Women’s Ministry Council. Meeting weekly with women who are committed to growing in their faith, studying God’s Word, and supporting each other has challenged me, inspired me, and strengthened my faith in more ways than I can count. When I was a freshman at TIU and trying to navigate the challenges that come with being in college for the first time, attending the WMC Bible study and events helped ground me in my faith and learn from women who had already been there."
As Rhines reflects on her time at TIU, see not only saw the value of Christian community as a whole but also of the incredible power female friendship has.
"A specific event that stands out to me is the WMC Valentine’s Day event we hosted in 2020, just about one month before everyone went home due to COVID-19. We had two leaders speak on the importance of female friendships. It was such a fun night reflecting on friendships and how to honor God in those relationships. After that event, a lot of women talked about how it was just what they needed that night. That is why it is so meaningful to me."
The community Rhines has built on campus is hard to leave, but it has prepared her for the steps in life.
"As I’m getting ready to graduate, it is definitely bittersweet. I feel like my time at TIU has equipped me well, but I’m really going to miss the community and people. I’m so thankful for the forever friendships I’ve developed at TIU and that I decided to attend this school for my undergrad!"
Senior Brendan Lacey is an Exercise Science major with an emphasis in Kinesiology. Lacey serves as a Resident Assistant (RA) in Johnson Hall and he plays on the TIU baseball team. He works for TIU Athletics and is an intern at Performance Factory Training.
Lacey's time at TIU has been full of the unexpected but he has had an incredible time building friendships with students on his floor and with his friends on the field.
“My experience at TIU has been one I did not expect, sustaining a serious injury to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, TIU has been a memorable place where I've built long lasting relationships with friends, teammates, and faculty."
While at Trinity, Lacey had the opportunity to visit the Israel with 40 other TIU students. Walking where Christ walked and experiencing it with friends make for an unforgettable experience.
"I grew in both my friendships and my walk with Christ. We visited cities around the Sea of Galilee and the Garden Tomb. It was an amazing opportunity to visit the Holy Land with some of my closest friends. My favorite moment was when we got to worship as a group at the Garden Tomb. That moment still holds as one of my favorite memories during my time at TIU."
Lacey's time with the baseball gave him more opportunities to travel and to experience victories with his team.
"We made multiple baseball trips to Florida and the southern states during spring break over the years. Those moments me grow deeper relationships with teammates and coaches. We had countless late-night conversations, Bible studies, van rides, and team dinners. On the Tennessee trip, our pitcher Kurt Sippy had an amazing pitching performance against Judson University. That was an incredible moment to share with him and the team, especially since we won against Johnson University and won the four-game series 3-1. I will never forget the many great moments and relationships that I have made here at TIU."
Senior Hannah Fuchs is Sports Management major. She is on the TIU Women's Soccer team and is also the Aldeen Fitness Center Director Intern.
Originally from Utah, Fuchs is not entirely sure how she ended up in the Midwest but however it happened, she's glad it did.
“I am thankful I ended up here. I wouldn't trade the experiences I've had and the connections I've made for anything."
Fuchs time at TIU has given her friendships that will last for the rest of her life.
"The friendships I have made will last a lifetime and I’m thankful for the people God has brought into my life. I have loved playing the sport I love so much and being a part of such an amazing team. The best memories I have from being at Trinity are the ones with my best friends I’ve made. I remember so many late nights talking and laughing, plenty of late night drives jamming to music, late night fast food runs, and a ton of other fun little moments. Trinity gave me the opportunity and space to build a community that I know will last. Trinity also gave me opportunities to grow in so many ways, not just as a student or athlete, but as a person and in my spiritual walk with Christ.”