Fulbright scholar gives UMBC’s new president her first campus tour

Published: May 8, 2023

By: Tom Moore

A woman wearing a UMBC t-shirt smiles at the camera

Sianna Serio

Degrees: B.S., Computer Science
Hometown: Bel Air, MD
Post-grad plans: Fulbright Scholarship to teach English in Slovakia

One of Sianna Serio’s most memorable UMBC experiences was giving a campus tour to UMBC President Valerie Sheares Ashby during her first day as the university’s new leader. Serio was ideally suited for the job, having worked for Residential Life as a resident assistant and for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Orientation as team lead for UMBC’s orientation peer ambassadors and as team lead for the Grit Guides, training and managing the rest of the campus tour guide team.

Prior to Serio’s first full semester at UMBC, she traveled to the University of Bristol to participate in the first Dawg Days: Abroad program, studying comparative politics. So, it was there in Bristol, England, that she first connected with the UMBC community. Since then, she has been involved in many UMBC student organizations, including the Society of Women Engineers, Sign of Life, First Generation Network and the UMBC Crafters club.

The Center for Women in Technology (CWIT) has been the academic focal point for Serio during her time at UMBC. She has been a CWIT Affiliate from the start, applied to live on the CWIT Living Learning Community floor for her first academic year, and volunteered for several events for prospective students. Last academic year, she served as a CWIT Peer Mentor for three incoming first-year students majoring in computer science. With her experience and enjoyment as a mentor, she became the CWIT Peer Mentoring Program student lead for 2022–2023 and has hosted several successful events for the 94 members of the program.

Against a gold background with the UMBC logo, three women smile at the camera
Serio (center) enjoying the 2019 Homecoming with friends.

Has there been a mentor or fellow student who influenced your time at UMBC?

Naomi Corns was a student a year above me who strongly influenced my first two years at UMBC. We originally met through a sociology class. While we weren’t the same major, we had a lot in common in personality and drive. After getting to know each other both inside and outside the classroom, she was one of the people to recommend me to be a resident assistant and she inspired me to become an active member of the UMBC community. She had also been an orientation peer ambassador while at UMBC, which I pursued as well. If it wasn’t for her leading by example and showing her support, I don’t think I would have been where I am today as a part of UMBC or as a student.”

What has been the best part of your UMBC experience?

“Everyone gets to choose how they want to show up everyday and the mark they want to make, and UMBC students are given so many opportunities to do so. When I came to UMBC, I had no intention of getting involved and putting myself out there. But after seeing so many opportunities laid out in front of me after just a few weeks on UMBC’s campus, it was almost impossible for me to avoid. I was constantly encouraged by the people around and me and I have grown in every aspect of my life.”

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