Spring 2017 Newsletter
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Alumnus named dean at University of Massachusetts Amherst
Tricia Serio, Ph.D. (1991, B.S., Molecular Biology) has been named dean of the College of Natural Sciences at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She will assume her duties in August 2017. Dr. Serio is currently the department chair and professor at the University of Arizona, where she leads a department of 20 faculty, 16 staff and almost 600 undergraduate majors, and over 30 graduate students. Serio was previously a member of the faculty in the Department of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry at Brown University.
Dr. Serio was awarded her bachelor of science degree in molecular biology with departmental and high honors in 1991. She went on to do her graduate work at Yale University and received her Ph.D. in 1997. Serio’s post-doctoral research was done at the University of Chicago and she was an associate research scientist at Yale University.
The impact of a great mentor
In an article published by The Chronicle of Higher Education (“The Magic Mix of Mentorship That Worked for Me,” www.chroniclevitae.com, May 5, 2016), Dr. Serio spoke about how being mentored had a profound impact on her career. Professor Vassie Ware was identified by Dr. Serio as someone who helped shape her future. (Click here to read the entire article.)
When I began college, I wanted to be a dentist, and I wanted to get there by first completing a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology in three years. When I explained my plan to my faculty adviser, Vassie Ware, she looked at me in wide-eyed disbelief, but instead of discouraging me, she took out a piece of paper and began to map out the daunting plan. Toward the end of my undergraduate studies, I completely changed my mind about dental school. When I went to her office to tell her that I had decided to go to graduate school instead, she threw herself backward in her chair and shrieked before bounding around her desk to hug me, saying, “I’ve been waiting for this day!” I had no idea that she had a bias. Unbeknownst to me, she quietly facilitated my evolution by listening to my growing interest in molecular biology and suggesting opportunities to match it — such as an undergraduate research project and a summer internship. Vassie recognized a shift before I saw it in myself, and she positioned me to move onto the next level without knowing that I would ever decide to go there.
In the inaugural issue of our annual newsletter in the Spring of 2005, we highlighted Tricia Serio, along with her academic adviser, Professor Vassie Ware. Click here to read the article.
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