Picture of Mary SerafinYear in School: 2nd

Hometown: Chino, CA

Major(s): Managerial Economics, Design

Minor(s)/Concentration(s): User Experience Design/Organizational Design

On-campus leadership roles/positions/organizations:
Delta Sigma Pi -- Nu Rho | International Business Fraternity -- Marketing Director, Current Events Chair, Pledge Class President

UC Davis Department of Design -- Student Programming Director

Business Career and Networking Club --  Board Member (2014-2015)

Mga Kapatid/Kapwa Member

Why do you choose to be involved as a student leader?
Feeling a personal connection to UC Davis and finding a community here were the first reasons. I learned early in high school that I love understanding people and different leadership styles. I’ve come to realize that I wouldn’t be so comfortable leading if it weren’t for the exemplary mentors and role models who’ve helped shape me along the way. So at the end of the day, I’d simply like to pay it forward: empower others to grow as leaders just I’ve been.

What have you learned about leadership through your work with others on campus?
I believe that being empathetic and vulnerable as leaders or team members -- and just as people is very important. I think from these two traits, anything can be accomplished in leadership. These types of leaders can foster communities based on trust, support, and people. Also, among the communities you foster, provide a space where feedback, failure, and critical thinking can flourish. It’s a tough thing to do, but I think it may be key to excellent results in whatever metric you use for success. (My personal leadership book recommendation: The 5 Levels of Leadership by John Maxwell)

What is your most memorable experience at UC Davis?
So far, it’s been hosting the first-ever Internship Night with the Department of Design. It’s the first of a series of professional events, but from this event, I can already envision the design community on campus growing -- it symbolizes all of the possibilities ahead of us!

What is your favorite UC Davis tradition?
Going to the CoHo and sitting in the Ciao pizza area. I love it. There’s always a table with my Delta Sigma Pi friends. And I know there’s always a space for me, too.

What advice would you give to a student thinking about getting involved?
Think about the communities you hope to join on campus and get a feel for how its student life already functions. In other words, your time is valuable so avoid wasting it by doing too many things at once. (I fall prey to this sometimes.) Figure out how the spaces you’re in will help you grow early on. This is a bit tricky, but I would recommend learning about graduating seniors’ college experiences and asking what activities and company did and didn’t help them grow.

How does getting involved complement your studies?
It complements my studies and more specifically, my career trajectory. In my eyes, with the Design Department and Delta Sigma Pi, I’m learning transferable skills that may not be covered inside the curriculum but are equally important to being a better professional.

What are your future plans? (How has your involvement on campus prepared you for life after graduation?)
To be honest, my future plans are ever changing. The way I see it is that in whatever I end up pursuing (and it will likely be a number of things), these things will remain constant: my drive to transform how people connect, my passion to empower female leadership, my vision to strengthen positive mental health stigmas, or my commitments to other values inherent to who I am. Campus involvement has helped me realize that whether it be with design, business or social entrepreneurship, I know that the work I do will make the world a better place.

Fun Facts

  • Role Model(s): The list is endless. My role models are those who have mentored and inspired me along the way. Some of my best are my parents, Brene Brown and Sheryl Sandberg.
  • Favorite Quote/Motto: “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.” -- Mother Teresa
  • Hobbies: Playing basketball, watching Buzzfeed videos, cutting fruit, finding great spoken word videos, adventuring to new places and making new friends