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College of Information and Communications

  • Serena Harn poses with Elise Lewis while holding her certificate reading "iSchool Undergraduate Scholarship."

Student Spotlight: Serena Harn

In 10 words or less how would you describe yourself?
A passionate, organized person always willing to learn.

Tell us a little about your hobbies, how you spend your time and some of your "favorites."
I spend a lot of my free time playing guitar and singing, as I have done for about 13 years. My favorite book is Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb. My favorite movie is Good Will Hunting. Lastly, my favorite TV series has been Schitt’s Creek, though that answer changes quite often!

Why did you choose your areas of study, and what are your academic plans once you graduate?
I selected my major in information science because it aligns very well with my interests and skills pre-college! I have always been quite analytical and believe that the entire world needs assistance in handling the immense amount of information we have access to. Information science is such a diverse group of classes that seem to be applicable to many different career paths, though I hope to specialize in data science further in my education and career.

Who inspires you?
I am greatly inspired by my father, who has taken up many different positions within the company he works for and is able to wear many hats. He is incredibly dedicated to his work and holds such pride in what he produces in all facets, whether that be his career, fixing cars or flipping a bathroom. He has recently taken up learning SQL at age 53 for his new position, which seems to be pretty unique if you ask me! Through him I can see what hard work means and how it can produce such joy in doing things you love — and doing them well.

Tell us about any awards and accolades that you have received during your time as a college student.  
I have been on the President’s List every semester at UofSC and have just recently received a Magellan Apprentice Award for my research with Dr. Amir Karami, titled Spatial and Temporal Analysis of Cancer Misinformation on Social Media in the United States. I also just received the iSchool Undergraduate Scholarship.

Who is your favorite professor so far and why?
My favorite professor has been Dr. Elise Lewis, who I took SLIS 201 with in the very first semester of college. I could not have asked for a better professor to introduce me to the field! It is incredibly apparent that she cares for her students and their education. It was impossible to not be excited about what she was teaching, and I always wanted to stay after class to discuss our topics further.

Please share your study strategies.
I am best able to study and maintain motivation by getting out of the house to study anywhere on campus. Getting to take in the beautiful scenery always reminds me of why I am here. I have recently started making my notes much more colorful, which, while it does take more time, allows me to better visually process the information later on.

How have you coped with COVID-19 and maintained positive grades? 
I was fortunate enough to attend a high school that was highly integrated with online-learning; therefore, the sudden shift to e-learning did not affect me as much as others. It was frustrating to have had a freshman experience burdened with many restrictions, but it has made me greatly appreciate social interaction as it becomes safe to do so! 

What inspired you to attend the University of South Carolina?
I come from the cold city of Chicago, so the weather alone was quite appealing! Additionally, I was awarded a very generous scholarship with the school. What finalized my decision was the fact that there was an entire school designed just for my major! I knew that I would be coming into a school that cared for me as if I was more than just a number.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.