Catherine Yonker Award Recipients Announced

Since 1989, The Catherine Yonker Award has been given to those who significantly contribute to Christian racial reconciliation and cross-cultural understanding at the College. Trinity’s Campus Diversity and Unity Committee (CDUC) is pleased to announce that this year’s recipients are Marva Bruno and Iritisen Muhammad.

Bruno joined Trinity in 2019, shortly before the start of the pandemic, serving as the Area Director for Tibstra and Alumni Halls. In 2023, her significant contributions to the College led to her role as the Assistant Dean of Students and Assistant Director of the Center for the Good Life.

During her time at Trinity, Bruno has fostered a sense of belonging among students of color, encouraging their active participation in campus life. Her leadership has been instrumental in cultivating diverse RA teams and enhancing representation in student leadership. She approaches her work with a culturally responsive lens, providing a unique blend of support and challenge that she terms a “warm, demanding” approach.

In the fall of 2023, she was tasked with overseeing multiple aspects of the Department of Multicultural Engagement, including multicultural leadership, cultural organizations, and newly formed community-based partnerships committed to college access for minoritized student groups.

She also worked with students to implement the 2024 Next Steps workshop that focused on Kimberle Crenshaw’s concept of intersectionality, organized visit day interviews for College Bound Opportunity Programs, and built connections with first-year Black or Latinx students. Bruno also cast the vision, developed materials, and led the hiring process for the new cultural organizations and multicultural student leadership model, which includes Trinity’s first-ever paid cultural organization leaders. She is a deeply rooted follower of Jesus who recognizes the necessity of justice and belonging in the work of Christian higher education.

Muhammad comes to the college with a wealth of experience, knowledge, and ambition in pursuit of her vocational commitments to international medical missions as well as the health and well-being of Black mothers and babies. She is a nursing transfer student and works as a doula, serving mothers, families, and babies through the pregnancy, labor, and delivery process.

She entered the Trinity community and immediately began to make significant impacts. This past year, she served as the interim Vice President of the Black Student Union, spoke as part of the MLK day program, and contributed to redesigning cultural organizations. As part of her role, she facilitated a weekly Black History Month program called “Talk to Me Good,” where faculty, staff, and students read and discussed writing excerpts from Black authors.

Recently, she was selected as President of the Black Student Union for the next academic year. In addition to her work, studies, and co-curricular engagement, she participated in Earn, Network, and Learn at Lawndale Christian Community Center. She is also a member of the inaugural class of the Empower First internship summer program. Her Christian faith commitments inspire her vocation to use health and medicine to contribute to the well-being of Black mothers, families, and babies across the globe.

The Catherine Yonker Award and scholarship, a prestigious recognition, is awarded annually to a member or members of the Trinity community–faculty, staff, or an entering senior student—in honor of their positive influence and action toward the goal of Christian racial reconciliation and cross-cultural understanding. The award’s history is deeply intertwined with Trinity’s early years, with Catherine Yonker’s significant contributions as an executive secretary and founding member of the Trinity Women’s Guild and her and her husband’s philanthropic support for Trinity’s first hockey team.

pictured left to right: Marva Bruno, Iritisen Muhammad