Cerrina to use her on-campus experience if electedBy Arielle Lipan | 03/01/2016 3:13pm
Q: What’s a quick rundown of your life story?
A: Well, I first heard about The University of Alabama my junior year of high school, and then it kind of dropped off my radar. I was thinking about other things other places to go, and then when I came to visit my senior year I just knew it was the place. My dad and I kind of looked at each other and we had a – we gave each other a nod like, ok this is exactly where I’m supposed to be. From there it was getting involved day one on campus. I applied to Freshman Forum and FYC, and unfortunately I didn’t get any of those, so I kind of focused on other things. I focused on academics, and then I was lucky enough to be elected senator spring of my freshman year into the College of Education Senate. And, I don’t know, it was just awesome. I’ve gotten so involved in other things on campus, like I cofounded a club called She’s the First*, which helps underprivileged high school girls be the first person in their family to finish their high school, to get their high school diploma. I am also part of the Academic Honor Council; I worked at The Center for Academic Success; and right now I work for America Reads and Counts, so I work at Myrtle Wood Elementary School in Fosters, Alabama, and I have the sweetest second and fourth and fifth graders that I work with, and they just make every day so much easier on me, making it a lot less stressed.
Q: Why do you want to run for this office?
A: I honestly believe that I am the most qualified candidate. I have the most experience, being on Senate, and, working first hand at the Center for Academic Success, I know the academic opportunities that are there, and they’re being underutilized. They’re not being publicized properly. I feel like as VPAA I’ll be able to make my goals and dreams a reality on this campus. I know that they’re feasible. I think that I would provide and be able to communicate most effectively out of all the candidates. Just knowing I have the experience, I have the motivation, I have the drive. I want to succeed. I want to do this position. I talk to my dad everyday about it. You know there was this one day where I was feeling so doubtful, and he was like, “Em, I don’t know another person who wants to do this as badly as you do. I know you have the ideas. Like you’ve been talking about this since September.” Like it’s something that I’ve been planning, like, I’ve drafted so many resolutions for the Center for Academic Success and for a new tutoring program that’s going to be on campus. So I just know that it’s something I want to do. It’s something I’m very passionate about.
Q: You’ve already touched on this a bit, but what makes you the best choice for the position?
A: Just my experience on campus. My being a senator, working for the Center of Academic Success, being on the Academic Honor Council, and kind of seeing how academic integrity is treated. Actually Addison Arnold and I have been very close this past year. I started talking to her in September about running for the position and what I would need to do, and what qualifications she had going into it, and then more recently, we were talking about things that were working with her, initiatives and projects that she was working on as a junior working for VPAA, and what would be better, what would be worse. I think as VPAA I would be able to take her ideas and Laura Gregory, a year behind her, their ideas more obvious on campus. Making sure everything, every academic opportunity is available on campus.
Q: What’s your biggest goal for the position?
A: All right, well I have three, but I’ll stick to this one, and I think it’s going to help students the most on campus and I think it’ll be the most utilized. I want to be able to create a website or add on to a website that’s already available for students, so you can see available library seats and conference rooms at Gorgas, Bruno or Rodgers. This’ll make planning study times and meeting for collaborative groups a lot easier. If you live off-campus in an apartment or a home that takes, like, 20 minutes and then you can’t find parking, like, it’d be nice to know that you can go on and see, “Ok, like, my table’s open that I usually go to, and I can drive over there and be there in five minutes, and I know my seat’s still going to be there.” I think it’s going to be something so awesome, and come dead week, finals week, really helpful for all the students.
Q: What’s the first thing you would do if elected?
A: First thing, ok, so Tuesdays are elections. So I guess we find out at some time Tuesday night. My mom’s coming in to town, so I know first thing I’m going to do is, like, give her a big hug, probably, like, happy tears. Or maybe sad tears, but I’m hoping for the former. I’m hoping that this will be a successful campaign. And then after that I’d like to form a committee and pair up with a bunch of computer science organizations and make sure that the website gets rolling, so it can be utilized by the end of spring semester. After that I’d like to meet with administration about priority registration for classes for our veterans, and I’ve already sat down with the CVA, and I know their concerns and what they need and what they want as far as other beneficiary things on campus for their dependents as well, so I want to make their dreams a reality, and I think that’s something I’ll be able to get the ball rolling with in the first as VPAA.
Q: Why should indifferent students care about this election?
A: I think indifferent students should care about this election because, you know, it’s important to read each candidate’s platform. It’s important to read what experience each candidate has, and how their experience can make an impact on their, on indifferent students’, lives and the future of their life on campus. I know that, as VPAA, I’d be able to propel the campus into greater success. I want the campus grow with knowledge. I want our GPAs to increase. I want us to be able to compete with other top universities: Harvard, Stanford. We’re right there. We’re on the cusp of greatness, and I know with my experience, and I know with the knowledge I have on this campus about educational opportunities and job fairs. And after talking with Addison and Laura Gregory, I know it’s something feasible, and I know the students and those who don’t necessarily care about elections, this is their choice. I will be the right choice for this campus. I would ensure that all their dreams – I’m a good voice for the people. I’m very down to Earth. I mean look at me right now I’m wearing a sweatshirt and sweatpants. I just know that I’m very relatable to most students. I’ve had the lowest moments; I’ve had the highest moments, and everything in between. I think it’s important that each person values each candidate and sees them for who they truly are.
Q: How do you see the campus changing and/or staying the same by the end of your possible term?
A: By the end of my term, I hope that students value their education more, value opportunities and scholarship opportunities as well as take advantage of more job fairs that I want to be holding. Tutoring sessions, free tutorial sessions. Something that you don’t have to pay for that’s provided by the University. Also something that I hope students and this campus grows upon is the website that I create I know that’ll be really hopeful for tutoring and scheduling sessions with friends. Meeting at the library. Additionally increased GPA. I think that would be awesome, like ideal goal. Being a more selective campus like we have 37,000 awesome students, but as we get more applicants maybe we can be more selective in the people we take because we have that higher GPA. We have more qualified students. Obviously, the priority registration for veterans. I hope it’s something I can implement for them and their demands and I think that’d be great.
Q: What’s a fun fact about yourself for the students?
A: Fun fact, ok. So I was a dancer my entire life. I was two and a half. When I was – I think I was – I was in the fifth grade. I performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City, which is like unheard of. Like, only a couple hundred people do that in their lives, and I thought it was so special. I’ve been dancing ever since. I think it was really hard for me transitioning into college, not being able to dance anymore, but I think I put that passion somewhere else. I put it, I put it to the people. I miss those connections. I miss seeing all my friends who dance every single day, and I kind of transformed that relationship into SGA as a senator. I created my own group of friends again, even though we’re all not dancers, we have, like, weird dance styles. But I’m just so fortunate that I have a good group of friends like that.