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A Positive Spirit

June 1, 2021 Jim Warner
Cardinal Spirit Award winner Serena Hodge headshot taken at the Galt House in Louisville.

Admissions Program Sr. Coordinator Serena Hodge’s positivity and dedication shines through as one of the 2021 Cardinal Spirit Award recipients. “Serena’s nominator indicated she ‘exudes positivity and cares deeply’ for the applicants who apply to MBA and Graduate programs in the College and we couldn’t agree more!” says Cardinal Spirit selection committee member Thomas Teague. “Beyond her commitment to her daily work activities, she takes time out of her days to invest in her coworkers.” We spoke with Serena about the role positivity plays in her worklife, connecting with others, and beyond.

What does winning the Cardinal Spirit Award mean to you?

Winning the Cardinal Spirit Award is a wonderful honor! It’s a good feeling to be recognized by a peer that you are doing a great job. This achievement also motivates me to continue helping others and being a positive person.

Of the four traits which embody the award (Exuding Positivity/Elevating Others/Caring Deeply/Getting it Done) which best reflects your personality?

Although all of these traits are important, I think exuding positivity is the most important. I try to be optimistic and look for the best outcome in any situation. It’s crucial to bring positivity to team projects so that you can collaborate together and create a solution that works for everyone. I also think positivity can be contagious, so if you are showing positivity, others around you may change their mood and start thinking more positively as well!

How do you see your work impact others at the College?

In admissions, we help future students with the application process and answer any questions they have, whether it’s about the [graduate] program, the University, Louisville, etc.

Helping students with any questions or concerns provides them a level of comfort when they arrive on campus. It also assures the student that they made the right choice in choosing our program. We work with many students from different cultural backgrounds. I enjoy working with a diverse student population and discussing what interests each student in our graduate program [has].

I’m also a member of the College of Business’ Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Committee. One of our initiatives is helping to improve the culture of the College and developing strategies for diverse staff and faculty retention. Being a member of this committee helps make the College of Business a great place to work as we are working on building a more inclusive environment and increasing cultural competence.

Mentorship is essential to building a better community and elevating one another. How have your mentors shaped you?

Growing up, my Grandpa was one of my most influential mentors. He immigrated to the United States as a surgeon from Pakistan and later on became a psychiatrist. My Grandpa taught me that education is valuable and you should never stop learning.

My parents have also been great mentors and I know that I can always go to them for advice. A hard worker, my dad commits 100% to any project. My mom has also taught me to work hard, but to enjoy life as well. I’ve learned from my mom that physical and mental health must be a priority. It’s important to make sure you are healthy so then you can help others!

UofL prides itself as a Community of Care. In what ways do you contribute to building that culture?

In admissions we receive many e-mails and phone calls. Sometimes I may not know the answer to an applicant’s question, but I always take the time to go figure out the answer or direct the applicant to the appropriate department. I want to make sure the applicant has all of their questions answered and concerns addressed.

I also like to collaborate with my co-worker, who is the other admissions counselor. This role can be stressful at times, so I like check on my teammate to see how they are doing and ask if they need any help!

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