Dr. Serafín Méndez-Méndez
3170200 Vance Academic Center
B.A., Public Communication: Dual Emphasis in Advertising and Journalism. Universidad de Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus.
M.A. and Ph.D., University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Specialization areas: Political Communication, Rhetoric and Media Effects.
Post-Doctoral Fellowship. Bryn Mawr College: Sociology and Political Science. It developed into an HIV/AIDS applied research program. Judy Porter, my mentor, was amazing.
Areas of Interest:
Puerto Rican and Latino Studies.
Who am I?
I am this Puerto Rican dude who is about to turn 54. I feel like I am 26.
My middle class family truly loved and validated me. They were small merchants, teachers, educators and scholars. My Mom was my third grade teacher. She broke three rulers on my legs by virtue of not having good penmanship. It worked. I have never held any grudges. Two of my cousins were university professors here and in PR and they inspired me.
When I was at the University of Puerto Rico, I was a member of the University Senate. As I was ready to graduate, the Chancellor of the university helped me identify a good graduate communication program in the U.S. I came to UMass Amherst. It was liberal heaven! They paid for my graduate school and I was able to study under the tutelage of Jane Blankenship, Fern Johnson, Andy Anderson and Michael Morgan. All of them were pillars in the field.
My academic career began at Bryn Mawr, an elite liberal arts college. I ended up at CCSU because my commitment to the values of public education. At the time, Sarah Sanderson King headed the department. She had an amazing understanding of the field.
What I have done?
Upon arrival my arrival at Central, I was mentored by the late Ronald Fernández. He was an amazing scholar who helped me realize the value of Latino and Caribbean studies. I have published three major books in this area. The last one was the second edition of Puerto Rico Past and Present: An Encyclopedia (2015). The first edition of this book got many significant national awards but I am not one to brag because I don’t need external validation! LOL.
I have also done extensive health communication work, travelled half of the world lecturing and helped to launch a program that ensured that underrepresented Latinos with HIV got access to Active Retroviral Therapies. This has been a milestone in my career and it is the one I am the most proud of.
Where am I going?
After the typical burnout with HIV research, I am beginning to volunteer and work with another HIV organization. I am restarting the whole process.
What do I like?
I love Hartford politics. I am utterly optimistic about our new major. I loved to ride my Vespa but they stole it. . So, I got a nice bike. Biking is amazing and I can bike for miles.
Community work is the most rewarding experience that anyone who is not looking for external attribution can have. I have worked closely with at least four community organizations in Hartford. I can write any grant needed and have managed millions of dollars in grant money for them.
Also, I love my open and inclusive Franciscan friars.
What do I dislike?
The limelight, public events, weird laughs and need for recognition.
Sources of Pride:
During my 25 + career as a college professor, I have been able to teach some amazing students: Abigail, Kevin, Carmen, Amy, Errol, etc. Most of my students work three jobs, study to make ends meet. They have gone on to make a difference. They are so valued by me….
In my personal life, I am most proud of my sister. She has raised three amazing kids who I adore and brag about them all the time in class. They rock. One is a federal law enforcement agent, my niece is a public relations/integrated marketing specialist and one is a family physician. Love my family. I have another cousin/nephew who just looks like me…. He will graduate from law school in May. He already has one book under his belt.