Professors That Have Inspired Us: Profile on Professor Tatiana Serafin

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I can vividly recall the feeling of instantaneous relief when I sat down in Professor Tatiana Serafin’s office in September 2019 for a frantically-scheduled meeting about my first opportunity to be published as an aspiring arts journalist. A piece I had submitted about my perspective on my favorite musical despite my own personal experiences aligning with the problematic themes in it had been accepted by one of my favorite not-for-profit theatre organizations, The Theatre Development Fund. Not only did my nerves derive from the fact that this was my first opportunity to be published by an established organization and be paid for my writing, I was also terrified that I had divulged too much personal information in the piece for my own security. Professor Serafin talked me through it and reassured me that I had written everything the exact way it needed to be written. Although I’m sure, for my own dignity, she pretended not to notice, my voice shook and my hands trembled recalling the experiences I wrote about to further her understanding of my fears. Empathetically, she listened. From that moment on, I trusted Professor Serafin not only as my professor and advisor but as a mentor.

I’ve always joked with my friends at Marymount that I want to be Professor Serafin “when I grow up.” Her list of accomplishments as a journalist is long, but that’s not the only thing I admire about her as a writer and educator. She’s incredibly patient, understanding, and passionate about her students and the world we live in. She believes we can make it a better place, and she knows that she can also play a role in that, as well. 

I’ve had my struggles at Marymount, mentally and even medically – every time I’ve had a class with her, I’ve been seriously ill with something ridiculously dramatic like mono or pneumonia. Professor Serafin has always been accommodating and free of judgment or frustration. As a professor, students can both look up to her for her brilliance and extensive experience, and also feel level with her, because she collaborates with students rather than commanding them. 

Someday, years from now, when I look back on my career and my success, I’ll be thankful for her for believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself, pushing me when I couldn’t find the leverage, and uplifting me when I felt down as a student and a writer. Marymount is fortunate to have her.

“Professors That Have Inspired Us” is an ongoing series, open to submissions from seniors and rising seniors. This is the first installment. If you are interested in contributing to this series, send your 200 – 500 word piece to [email protected].