Trena Yonkers-Talz has lived in Central American for over 20 years working in Jesuit higher education. She and her husband, Kevin, co-directed Santa Clara University’s study aboard program, Casa de la Solidaridad. The Casa program provided an educational experience that integrated faith formation, community living, accompaniment of people on the margins, and academic excellence. Over 700 students participated in the program over the course of 19 years.
Currently, Trena and Kevin are launching Centro Ignacio Ellacuría (CIE) with the Jesuit university in El Salvador, Universidad Centroamericana José Simeón Cañas (UCA). CIE develops academic and formation programs that integrate the exploration of faith and the promote of justice through a praxis-based, liberationist pedagogy. Inspired by the UCA martyrs and the Jesuit educational tradition, the mission of the center is to promote the formation of leaders who are competent, conscientious, compassionate and committed.
Trena has a master’s degree in Theology from Boston College and a master’s degree in College Student Development from Miami University. She is a very proud mom of four daughters (Sophia 18, Grace 16, Hannah 13 and Emma 8). She is originally from Hastings, Michigan.