Trinity High School is blessed with countless students who are talented, engaging, and involved. Below are features of just a few noteworthy members of our community.

Jacob Sobotta ’22 (Seton House)

This past summer, I went to Moscow, Russia with NSLI-Y for a six-week-long Russian language program. While in Moscow I spent five days a week studying Russian in a classroom environment The Moscow School of Economics, five minutes away from the Kremlin. When I started the program I spoke no Russian. By the time the end of the program rolled around, I was able to give a 10-minute presentation in Russian and even able to answer questions.

I stayed with a Russian host family, Ludmila, and her adult son, Sergey, did not speak any English. My apartment was in a district called Yansenovo. It was about an hour to an hour and a half metro ride to my school in central Moscow. My host family introduced me to many common Russian meals like borsch, koshka, and a lot of cabbage. It was challenging to communicate, especially when there was no hot water and I couldn’t speak with them to figure out when it was coming back on (it was off for 2 weeks).

Some of the highlights of my time in Moscow were meeting Russian students my age. I went to Red Square with my Russian friend. Alina, on the 4th of July. Another time she invited me to  VDNh Park. Moscow was filled with beautiful parks such as VDNh which was built by Stalin to rival New York’s Central Park in the late 1920s. Russian kids, just like American kids, are interested in music and Instagram. I was welcomed as an American and many people were eager to meet me

I became very confident with riding Europe’s busiest metro, despite being unable to read the signs. The stations were incredibly clean and had beautiful artwork. One thing that really stood out was the Communist propaganda that was prevalent in the metro stations. Another highlight of my time in Moscow was visiting Victory Park, which is an enormous museum dedicated to Russia’s Great Patriotic War – or WWII.

The course work was intense, and we would spend about 6-8 hours a day learning vocabulary, grammar, and a few Russian songs. The most challenging part of the language is the pronunciation – so many words use your top palate!

The exercises we did to train to speak this way were quite funny. Each week with my classmates, we would visit different places around the city. We toured the US Embassy and participate in a cultural exchange with locals at the American Center, visited the Coca-Cola headquarters and MosFilm which is the state-sponsored film studio. My favorite was by far touring the Kremlin – I learned that this refers to a group of buildings that are encompassed a fortress – which in Russian is “Kremlin”

My time in Moscow was incredible and I would love the opportunity to go back and perhaps study there for a longer period. It has opened my eyes to a very different culture than my own and has made me eager to explore even more.

Alumni Update: Juliana Ritrievi ’16

Juliana Ritrievi ’16 is a senior at the University of Pittsburgh studying finance, political science, and economics. This summer she completed a competitive internship with Citi Bank, in New York City. She worked in the investment banking division, specifically within the media and telecommunications coverage group.

“During my internship, I helped prepare client materials and presentations. This entailed gathering company research and financials, and then analyzing and formatting the data into a pitch book. I also gained experience in valuing companies/transactions on a stand-alone basis and in comparison to peer companies/transactions.

“This internship appealed to me is because I want to start my career in a role that allows me to learn a lot about finance and banking. It is also important to me that I intern at a global institution that provides a variety of opportunities. I was hoping to learn more about how mergers and acquisitions are structured and valued, and about the sports media industry–which I definitely did!

“The first business class I took was accounting at Trinity with Mrs. Magni, which definitely sparked my interest in pursuing business in college. I remember visiting Susquehanna University with our class for an accounting conference and learning about how it is the ‘language of business,’ and the wide range of applications of accounting.”

Juliana also founded the Pitt chapter of Smart Women Securities (SWS), a national organization whose goal is to empower undergraduate women through promoting financial literacy and investment education. This is accomplished through a seminar series that focuses first on personal finance, and then builds to investment knowledge and quantitative analysis. After completing the seminar series, members have the opportunity to invest in a real-world setting through the SWS student-led portfolio. The portfolio allows members to apply what they have learned during the seminar series through engaging in equity research, investment pitches, money management, etc.

“When I first transferred to Pitt at the beginning of my sophomore year, I instantly joined several investment/finance focused clubs. I quickly noticed that I was either the only woman in the room or one of the few women. This was weird for me, because I didn’t feel that there wasn’t an interest in investing from the women on campus. After talking with several women in the business school, I realized that the lack of representation was more due to an intimidation factor that surrounded these predominantly-male clubs. I then set up a meeting with one of Pitt’s finance “executives in residence” about how I wanted to start an investment club for women, and she showed me information on establishing a chapter of SWS. From there, I spread the idea on campus through info sessions (with free food so people would come) and quickly conducted interviews for board members. A year and a half later, we received our official recognition from the national chapter!

“Leading this group gives me a unique opportunity to learn skills I wouldn’t have the chance to learn otherwise. One of the first things I had to do was pitch the idea to the Dean of the business school to secure funding for the project. This was my first presentation in a professional setting, which was extremely nerve-racking, but I practiced my pitch a lot and received $5,000 for SWS in the first semester. This taught me to always come over-prepared when speaking in front of people. Additionally, I gained direct experience in managing a budget, leading/organizing a group of people, public speaking and marketing.”

After college, Juliana plants to continue to work in the financial services industry in New York City, with the ultimate goal of entering politics and eventually running for public office.

National Merit Students

Giana Abbas ’20 (Seton House) and Megan Gouldy ’20 (Loyola House) have earned Semifinalist honors as a result of their PSAT scores, joining 16,000 students out of 1.6 million entrants nationwide. They have the chance to advance as Finalists, which will be announced in February of 2020.

Connor Coyle ’20 (Seton House) and Maya Arora ’20 (Immaculata House) earned the distinction as “Commended” students based on their PSAT scores. Congratulations to these students on this wonderful academic achievement!

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