Ulises Serrano

Job title: 
L&S College Adviser
Social Sciences E/Interdisciplinary Majors

Title: L&S College Adviser

Neighborhood: Social Sciences E/Interdisciplinary Majors

Specialty: Pre-Law Advising

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About Ulises

Joined the L&S Office of Undergraduate Advising in:
June 2019

Ed.M, Higher Education, Harvard University
B.A, Political Science, University of California, Berkeley
B.A, Ethnic Studies, University of California, Berkeley
A.A, Social & Behavioral Sciences, Allan Hancock College

What is your approach to advising?
In thinking about my advising philosophy I think about holistic well-being, student-centered and growth-oriented support, as well as the importance of active listening. I am fortunately not too far removed from what it was like being a student here on campus; I keep that in mind as I think about how I will approach my interactions with students. As someone who originally came from a low-income, first-generation, Latino background, a son of immigrants, and from a rural community, I know that Berkeley can feel like a large and daunting place to navigate.

How did you get here?
I am returning to the Bay Area after a few years away from seeking other professional and academic pursuits. I recently completed my Masters and worked at one of my other alma mater’s, Allan Hancock College, where I was a Retention Specialist. However, my journey has led me to and through a lot of different places and positions as someone who comes from two small, rural cities in the Central Coast, Santa Maria and Guadalupe. I started at community college where I worked with TRiO SSS and CalSOAP (similar to the East Bay Consortium) before transferring to Berkeley. Along the way, I have worked in various organizations that were committed to retention, persistence, and success for low-income, first-generation students, and students of color. At Berkeley, I was involved with the Raza Recruitment and Retention Center (now Raices Recruitment & Retention Center), the Center for Latino Policy Research (now the Latinx Resource Center), and the bridges Multicultural Resource Center. Upon finishing at Cal, I had the opportunity to work at the Transfer Student Center for a brief stint while I applied to graduate school. Thanks to the Institute for Recruitment of Teacher’s (IRT) support, I was able to get into a dozen graduate programs that eventually led me to Harvard’s Graduate School of Education where I finished my Masters and was a Graduate Assistant at Harvard Law School’s Admissions Office.

What's the best class you've ever taken?
It is difficult to narrow down which is the best class, but one that stood out in my graduate program was a course titled “Writing a Compelling and Rigorous Proposal.” As someone who is contemplating pursuing doctoral work, it allowed me to focus on a project that I cared deeply about while honing my research and writing ability. The professor was also one of the best I have had in school; her pedagogy deeply emphasized peer support, mentorship, and was very willing to receive feedback. At the end of each class, she would always ask us for feedback on how to improve the class and the awesome part was seeing how she was so willing to make changes to the class format based on that feedback. She was an all-around amazing faculty and exemplified the type of pedagogy professors should foster in the classroom.

What advice do you have for L&S students in general?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions especially if you need clarification on things in and outside of the classroom. Don’t be afraid to ask for help especially if you feel like things are getting tough. It takes a lot of courage and vulnerability to ask for help, but just know that you are not alone in this institution. There are many caring individuals on this campus that will look out for you, it is a matter of taking some time to look for them.