"I am motivated every day by my desire to demonstrate to disadvantaged children that it is possible to overcome great odds and be extraordinary."
Serena was born and raised in Corvallis, Oregon. As an undergraduate, she studied at American University's School of International Service in Washington, D.C. There, she earned a Bachelor's in International Relations with a focus in African Studies. Following her graduation, she served with the U.S. Peace Corps as a Community Health and HIV/AIDS Educator in Phonjwane, Swaziland, where she worked with the National Emergency Response Commission for HIV/AIDS and the international NGO World Vision. Following her service, she decided to move home to her favorite place in the world, the Pacific Northwest, where she earned a Master's in Public Administration and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management at the University of Oregon. While in graduate school, she served as a member of the Board of Directors at Court-Appointed Special Advocates of Lane County and as a project associate at the Community Service Center, where she worked on economic development and city planning projects for rural towns in Oregon.