A Guiding Hand

Take 2

Brooke Serra ’15 

As a first-year mentor, volunteer, engaged citizen and soon-to-be-teacher, Brooke Serra ’15 looks for ways to help others and serve the greater good. After graduation, she’ll do just that, when she begins a teaching job in New York City. More than anything, she says, she hopes to inspire passion in her students, and empower them to overcome any obstacles.

Major:

English.

Clubs and organizations:

Alpha Phi Omega, service trips (coordinator) and first-year mentor.

Favorite book:

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Favorite movie:

When Harry Met Sally.

On choosing a major:

My biggest passion in life is teaching, and I’ve known I wanted to teach since I was in elementary school. I used to send my sister’s homework back to school already graded for her teachers! When I came to Dickinson, it was just a matter of deciding what I wanted to teach. I’ve always loved reading and writing, so it seemed like a natural fit.

On choosing Dickinson:

I wanted a school where I would feel like I was a part of something important, something bigger than myself. I also wanted a school where I could connect with my peers and professors on a personal level. Dickinson offered me both of these options, and I think that in my four years as a student, it has exceeded my expectations.

Favorite place on campus:

East College.

Favorite Dining Hall food:

Sriracha chicken.

Favorite class:

My senior seminar. [My fellow senior-year English majors and I] are all in the same place in our lives, writing our theses. And we are doing it as a team. I never imagined I’d look forward to sitting in a room for three hours with the same 15 people, but I’ve learned so much from my classmates. They’re all amazingly passionate students.

Little-known hobbies:

I have danced since I was 2 years old (ballet, tap, jazz and hip-hop). I also taught myself photography; I love taking pictures.

On studying abroad:

I studied abroad last fall in Norwich, England. I learned a lot about myself. I didn’t have the comforts I was used to in the United States, and I didn’t have my family to fall back on whenever something went wrong. I really learned how to use my resources and be OK with doing things on my own.

Biggest influence:

My dad. He taught me that it’s possible to overcome any adversity. He also taught me kindness and appreciation for all people and things, regardless of differences.

Brooke Serra

Favorite professors:

Professor [of English Tom] Reed has helped me with my thesis more than I could’ve imagined, and he is there for me whenever I need a reminder of why I decided to do this whole thing. The person who has supported me the most over my four years on campus is [Associate] Professor [of Education Sarah] Bair. Even after I dropped my education minor, she was still an amazing advisor and mentor. She’s on sabbatical this semester, but she came back to campus just to check in with me.

As a kid, I wanted to be …

… a teacher or lawyer.

Post-Dickinson plans:

My dream is that I can use my position as a teacher to spark change in my students and empower them to change the world. I don’t want to be the kind of teacher who stands in front of a classroom and goes over a lesson because it’s required. I want to show my students passion, and I want them to learn that they are capable of anything, no matter where they come from. 

If I could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, it would be …

… John Mayer, Barack Obama or Ghandi.

Proudest accomplishment:

Getting a job teaching English in New York City, beginning in the coming school year.

Most important thing I’ve learned (so far):

Never give up, especially on your academics. I learned that one grade does not determine my worth, and it should not deter me from trying even harder on the next assignment.

In a perfect world …

… we would all be more kind.

Published February 4, 2015