UIW’s Communication Arts Department Hosts Workshop with Actor Pepe Serna

October 27, 2023

On Wednesday, October 25, UIW’s Department of Communication Arts had the honor and privilege of welcoming actor Pepe Serna to hold a workshop with students. Serna’s acting career includes 76 years of entertainment experience, 54 years behind the Hollywood scenes, and more than 100 movies and 300 television series. He has been involved in projects such as The Jerk (1979), Scarface (1983), and Flamin’ Hot (2023).

Students from within and outside of the School of Media and Design attended the event, interested to hear Serna’s wisdom and stories from behind the Hollywood scene that many creatives aspire to join one day.

Serna spent the day engaging with students, even inviting them to perform acting and speaking exercises in front of their peers. Those who were nervous about being in the spotlight were encouraged by Serna as he found a way to connect with them and bring them out of their shells. It didn’t take long for the room to erupt into laughter and joy.

Dr. Darlene Carbajal, associate professor of Communication Arts, helped to host the event and was ecstatic to see just how much students were enjoying Serna’s presentation. “He motivated and inspired students to pursue their dreams and modeled kindness for students, encouraging them to develop their character, and connect with others through common humanity and self-compassion,” Carbajal shared.

As someone who has held many titles such as actor, motivator, artist, speaker, writer, producer, and director, Serna wanted to give students the opportunity to reach their dreams as well. He welcomed local film production company, Mutt Productions, to join him during his presentation so that students could ask them questions about the business and network themselves for potential internship and job opportunities.

Carbajal explained that Serna and Mutt Productions are positive examples of what success in the industry can look like – she and the rest of the Communication Arts department strive to provide opportunities for students to engage with such role models while at UIW. They offered advice on how to practically achieve dreams, make time for personal development, and look out for others.

“While focusing on the profession, Pepe encouraged students through praise and encouraged students to be who they are; we are all unique,” Carbajal noted, “He encouraged connection and the importance of being good to each other, stating that none of us are in competition with each other. If we can’t get the job, help someone else get it; we can support each other to achieve our dreams.”

The Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word were also happy to share the wonders of the University with Serna. Sr. Walter Maher, CCVI and Sr. Martha Ann Kirk, CCVI offered him a blessing for the day and shared a bit of history about the University itself. Sr. Martha Ann even had the opportunity to walk him and the members of Mutt Productions to the Motherhouse Chapel where they were in awe over the beauty of the chapel and the Misson of UIW.

In addition to providing a valuable learning opportunity, the workshop was a testament to UIW faculty’s commitment to providing opportunities for students to engage with industry role models and learn valuable skills for their future careers. Serna’s message of supporting one another is also one that falls in line with UIW’s Mission to educate men and women who will become concerned and enlightened citizens in the global community.