Student Shadow Finds Herself in the Room Where Leadership Happens

Quick Summary

  • Serena Broome was one of 30 shadows in fall quarter
  • She shadowed Vice Provost and Dean Joanna Regulska
  • Applications for winter quarter due by this Friday (Jan. 7)

The Leadership Job Shadow Program hit its usual stride in fall 2021 after taking a break because of the pandemic and remote instruction from winter 2020 through spring 2021.

The program restarted with 30 students — including undergraduates; graduate students in music, chemistry, law and medicine; and a postdoc — accompanying Chancellor Gary S. May and other top administrators to their daily meetings and other events to see firsthand what goes into running our university.  


The application deadline is this Friday (Jan. 7) for students interested in applying for the Leadership Job Shadow Program for winter 2022.

Many of the students have shared stories about their shadow experiences — and we have posted them here. One student, in particular, Serena Broome, offered a comprehensive look at her shadowing experience and what it meant for her.

Here is Serena’s report:

As the only freshman selected for the Leadership Job Shadow Program, I was excited to meet my mentor, Dr. Joanna Regulska, who is the vice provost and dean of Global Affairs and a professor of gender, sexuality, and women’s studies at UC Davis.

On the first day, I biked from my dorm to a building at the edge of campus, Mrak Hall — UC Davis’ main administration building. I had never been to this part of campus before. I was filled with trepidation as I walked through the concrete lane bowered with trees, approaching the picturesque, white building ahead. The upside-down Egghead sculpture, Eye on Mrak, greeted my arrival. I entered the lobby, a couple minutes early, waiting to meet my mentor.

When Dr. Regulska appeared, my anxieties were instantly eased by her warmth and exuberance. We discussed women’s issues in Afghanistan as we walked up the spiral staircase to a conference room for a Zoom meeting on the Article 26 Backpack initiative. It provides support to college students whose education has been disrupted by war, natural disasters and other humanitarian crises. Refugees and other vulnerable students can use the service to securely store academic documents in a cloud-based ecosystem (“backpack”) which may otherwise be lost or destroyed in the midst of conflict.

Group photo, posed
Student shadow Serena Broome, second from right, pictured with, from left, Chancellor Gary S. May; Michael Lazzara, professor and Global Affairs associate vice provost; and Joanna Regulska, vice provost and dean of Global Affairs. (Courtesy photo)

Global engagement

Dr. Regulska asked Dr. Jolynn Shoemaker, director of global engagements in Global Affairs, if I could participate because of my burgeoning interest in foreign affairs. She encouraged me to apply to for their UN internship.

Dr. Regulska discussed the logistics of placing visiting scholars from Afghanistan into different academic units at UC Davis with the Global Community Emergency Fund. I took notes diligently, feeling in awe that the stars aligned for me with this mentorship, because I had just written an article about Afghan women and access to education for the Davis Political Review.

I was then invited to attend a meeting about UC Davis’ Global Strategic Plan with the Provost’s Leadership Council at Mrak Hall, led by Dr. Mary Croughan, provost and executive vice chancellor extraordinaire. I realized that I was, to quote the musical Hamilton, “in the room where it happens.”

It was a bit intimidating to be the only 18-year-old sitting in this room brimming with distinguished faculty and senior administration officials. One by one, all of the faculty and administration at the round table began to introduce themselves. All of them had very long, formal titles. As I was nervously waiting for my turn, I chuckled how mine was just “Serena Broome, freshman,” not feeling any sense of impostor syndrome at all.

During the meeting, I learned about UC Davis’ commitment to global engagement. UC Davis is one of the first universities in the world to publish the Voluntary University Review, or VUR, which assesses the university’s impact on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. In fact, UC Davis was the first UC school ever to launch a VUR, which was spearheaded by the UC Davis offices of Global Affairs, Sustainability, and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Guests from Brazil

In my second shadow experience, I biked in a similar fashion to Mrak Hall; however, everything was shrouded by dense fog! Unable to see clearly, I accidentally biked past the building. Running past the See No Evil/Hear No Evil Eggheads in front of the building, I fled up the stairs, nervous I would be late. Sweating, I ran into the lobby room, where I met my mentor, Dr. Regulska, and two men dressed in suits. I shook the hands of President Celso Moretti and Alexandre Varella from Embrapa, the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corp., which advises the Ministry of Agriculture in Brazil. I also had the privilege of meeting Dr. Michael Lazzara, associate vice provost of academic programs in Global Affairs and professor of Latin American literature and cultural studies.

With her hand on my shoulder, Dr. Regulska led me into the meeting, excitedly whispering: “The chancellor, the chancellor!” I felt a flicker of excitement as I shook the hand of Chancellor Gary May. He was very charismatic and affable at the same time, dressed in a silver gray suit.

We sat in a circle (I was seated next to the chancellor!). Dr. Regulska, Chancellor May, Dr. Lazzara and the representatives from Embrapa discussed forming partnerships to promote agricultural innovation and sustainability. At the end of the meeting, we took a picture (which you can see above).

I still remember how kind Dr. Regulska was to offer to drive me to the International Center for the next event, since the weather was very cold (unfortunately, my bike would not fit in the trunk of her car). I biked to the International Center to attend a presentation about Embrapa’s efforts in transforming Brazilian agribusiness. At the conclusion of the event, I said goodbye to my wonderful mentor.

I’m grateful for this experience. It’s still not over because Dr. Regulska invited me to continue participating in the meetings and events!

Media Resources

Dateline Staff: Dave Jones, editor, 530-752-6556,; Cody Kitaura, News and Media Relations specialist, 530-752-1932,

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