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.
Clubs and organizations:
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
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:
Favorite Dining Hall food:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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