Research fellowship turns student’s dream into realityAugust 7, 2012

Some people spend their entire lifetime trying to figure out what they want to do when they grow up. Trinidad Molina, ’14, always knew he wanted to be a writer.

Thanks to a Summer 2012 Dean’s Undergraduate Fellowship, Molina recently had the opportunity to focus on this passion.

“The idea has been in my mind since I was a kid,” said Molina, who is currently studying philosophy and Spanish, with minors in English and theology. “I’m fascinated by different writing styles, specifically authors like Ernest Hemingway and Steven King, and how each has developed his own personal style through years of practice. For years, I’ve been contemplating what makes a truly great story. What could I write that is worth reading?”

His project, titled, “Short Story Collection,” has evolved into a short novel with more than 15 chapters Molina calls episodes. All are his original creations and ideas.

The story’s protagonist is an older man named Sir Veras, which Molina describes as a combination of Don Quixote and Socrates, placed in modern times.

“I saw an odd connection between this famous literary character and the renowned philosopher,” Molina said. “In the novel, I describe Sir Veras as ‘the wandering philosopher.’ This character is fed up with his monotonous lifestyle, and chooses to wander in order to find out what fulfills him in life.

“There are a lot of quirks about Sir Veras, including the fact that, despite his Spanish name, he doesn’t speak Spanish or have any explanation as to where his name came from.”

His project supervisor, Patricia Cleary Miller, Ph.D., professor of English and division chair of humanities and fine arts, met with Molina frequently to read his manuscript and offer her feedback.

“We both saw connections between his character’s experiences and reality,” she said. “Trinidad kept up on his writing, and I remember one instance where he said he actually wrote for 14 hour straight. It’s something he truly loves to do, and he has a real knack for it.”

Molina’s two-month fellowship recently ended, but that doesn’t mean he’s stopping.

“I’m so passionate about this project and still want to improve it,” he said.

Molina admits that he will always be a writer, even if it isn’t his sole profession.

“I love the scholarly atmosphere of Rockhurst, so I can see myself becoming a professor someday.”

Outside of writing and his academics, Molina loves martial arts and is a third-degree black belt. He will spend the fall abroad, studying in El Salvador.

“Rockhurst has opened my eyes to so many new things,” he said. “Here, I discovered that I really love learning. I do it for myself. Rockhurst’s Jesuit value of ‘Finding God in All Things’ is evident everywhere I go and has opened my mind to experience new things and new places. This project is something I’ve always wanted to do, and thanks to Rockhurst I was able to carve out the time to do it.”

The summer fellowship program allowed eight students to work on projects in a variety of fields such as chemistry, modern languages, communications, psychology, and criminal justice.

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