Inspiring Girls to Write their Future Stories
When Christina Canino Troska ’14 got to Colorado State University, she was bored within four weeks. In search of greater challenge, she got herself accepted into the engineering program. Between her junior and senior undergraduate years, she landed a yearlong co-op at a brewery, then found her way to law school at CU Boulder, where she’s now in her second year. She plans to specialize in intellectual property law.
“One of the things I got from Regis is the strong desire to work with and for others,” she said. “Engineering provides an opportunity for that but it’s a little more indirect, so I started looking at ways I could use all the things I love about engineering—the problem solving, the analytical thinking—in a more direct, interpersonal way. The law is the perfect combination.”
Now, with a mentoring program she helped start at Regis Jesuit, Canino is helping girls plot their future careers. “I wished I had a similar opportunity, especially as a first-generation student. I had no idea what I wanted to study in college, or what career would suit me. I would have benefited if I had college-age women to ask.” Some of her mentees keep in touch for college advice. One even asked Canino to write a recommendation.
Canino’s first four-part mentoring program focused on engineering. It was held in person on campus before the pandemic forced everything online. The sessions filled up immediately, with girls who came to learn about engineering fields and Canino’s college experiences. In a speed-mentoring event, they met briefly with professionals in the field. Recently, Canino and Lauren (Troksa) Knapp ‘14, who is now a practicing lawyer, transitioned the program online and focused on what to expect from law school and beyond. Knapp is the sister of Blake Troksa ’14, whom Canino married in 2019.
Mentoring came naturally to Canino. “I just kinda knew what to do,” she said. “I talk to them as friends. I tell them I’m a firm believer in keeping as many doors open as possible; and opening as many as you can for yourself. That principle, which I learned at Regis Jesuit, has shaped my character and led to monumental decisions regarding my career and my family life. The more opportunities you have, the better. Because you don’t necessarily have to decide what to do right away.”
At Regis Jesuit, Canino played basketball and excelled in academics, but her heart was in service. She served as a leader for Freshman Retreat and Kairos and earned the Dorothy Day Service Award her senior year. In April 2020, moved by the impacts of COVID-19, she started HumanKind Network from her home. Nearly 400 volunteers now provide free virtual tutoring to school kids, free contactless grocery delivery and elderly isolation support.
When Canino talks to her mentees—especially the seniors who may be rushing to the finish line—she has a powerful message that comes from the heart. “You’re getting ready to end a very important chapter of your life and to start a new and exciting one, but you’re the author of your own story. You can either rush through that chapter to get to the next one, or you can take your time and encompass a more meaningful story. Because when you look back, you’re going to want to remember all the wonderful things that came with senior year.”
Clearly, Canino’s own story will be exciting to follow!